CHAKWAL/TAXILA: While the district administration of Islamabad issued red alert for various areas in the capital following prediction of more rainfall and flooding, five people, including two sisters, died during torrential rains in Chakwal and Attock on Tuesday.
Besides, dozens of buildings collapsed and markets and houses remained submerged in rainwater in parts of Chakwal.
The two sisters were buried under the debris of a room that collapsed in the Taraggar village. They were taken to hospital by Rescue 1122 where one of them died. The other was being shifted to Rawalpindi when she also succumbed to her injuries. The worst affected area was the Nurpur village in Kallar Kahar tehsil, where many houses and markets were submerged after flooding from the hills.
Deputy Commissioner Chakwal retired Captain Abdul Sattar Esani told Dawn that the affected people were being evacuated from their houses and being shifted to two relief camps established near the village.
Red alert issued for parts of Islamabad as more rain predicted
Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Mussawar Niazi, who is also in-charge of the relief operation, said the rain that started in the Nurpur village on Monday has continued.
Traffic on Chakwal-Sargodha Road was suspended as seven to eight feet of water had accumulated at some points of the road. Moreover, buildings collapsed in Mehro, Bhioun, Dharabi, Miyal, Sarkalan, Dhurnal and other villages while a gas pipeline was damaged near Nakka Kahout village.
Two die of electrocution in Attock
Two persons died of electrocution in the Hazro tehsil of Attock and three others sustained injuries in rain-related incidents in the district.
Rescue officials said Mubashir Mushtaq, 17, died of electrocution in his house in village Wessa while 31-year-old Mohammad Arif, who was a security guard, died in Hameed village.
Three members of a family also received critical injuries after the roof of their house collapsed in Shakardara.
District Emergency Officer Dr Ishfaq Mian said walls of a number of houses in Jand and Pindigheb also collapsed.
Red alert in parts of Islamabad
The district administration of Islamabad on Tuesday issued a red alert for five areas and a number of slums located on the banks of nullahs as the Pakistan Meteorological Department predicted more rain and flooding in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat told Dawn that the red alert was issued for Ghori Town Phase 5, Soan Garden and Ghumrah Kass along with all the slums located in the sectoral areas. The same alert was issued for houses with basements in I-8 and I-9.
There is no need to get these areas vacated but there is a possibility that floodwater will enter these houses, he said.
For the last four days, the spillways of Rawal and Simly dams are being opened on a daily basis during which 4,000 cusec water is discharged from each of the reservoirs every day.
An order issued from the office of the deputy commissioner stated that in view of the geographical location and land characteristics of Islamabad most of the area is generally protected from floods. Due to the natural terrain and topography, the rain and floodwater is disposed of through nullahs and natural slopes.
However, a portion of areas located downstream of River Soan (Simly Dam) and River Korang (Rawal Dam) are vulnerable to be hit by high magnitude floods. Besides, slums along nullahs in F-7, G-6, G-7, G-8, H-9, I-9, Khanna, Ghouri Town and Sohan are also considered vulnerable.
Whenever there are extensive and continuous rains in the catchment areas of Simly and Rawal dams, the water overflowing from the spillways causes flooding in the two rivers. A high flood in these rivers may affect the low-lying areas and disrupt services such as water and power supply, the sewerage system and communication.
“In view of the past experience and previous flood history, constant vigilance is required to combat the flood emergency in the rainy season particularly along the banks of the Soan and Korang rivers. It has been experienced that the duration of floods is normally between eight and 10 hours in the low-lying areas along the two rivers,” the order said.
It added: “It is, therefore, imperative that all departments and agencies must mobilise all possible efforts and resources in a systematic and integrated manner in order to combat any emergency situation.”
Flood control centres have been set up in the union councils of Tarlai, Bhara Kahu and Sihala in which UC secretaries along with the Civil Defence and other revenue staff will remain available round the clock.
Moreover, relief camps have been established in different localities. Two camps have been established at Sihala and one each at Noorpur Shahan, Khanna Dak, Bhara Kahu, Malpur, Nilore, F-7/4, I-10/1, I-9 and G-10.
Hospitals on high alert
On the direction of the district administration, hospitals in the capital have been put on high alert.
Additional beds have been reserved in wards and hospital administrations are making arrangements to ensure the transportation of their staff to workplaces in case of heavy rains.
Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) Joint Executive Director Dr Minhajus Siraj told Dawn that after torrential rains the first challenge arises in the shape of drowning.
He said cases of snake and insect bites were also associated with floods and rains.
When contacted, Pims Executive Director Dr Ansar Maxood said: “We are ready to deal with any situation and provide best possible treatment to patients.”
More rains forecast
The Met Office said a low pressure system had developed along the eastern border of the country which was likely to move northward during the next 24 hours.
“Strong monsoon currents from Arabian Sea are penetrating in central and upper parts of the country. A westerly wave is also present over northwestern parts of the country,” it said, adding: “Rain-wind/thundershowers are expected in Islamabad, upper/central Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Heavy falls are also likely to occur in northeastern Punjab, KP and Kashmir.”
It said heavy rainfall may generate flash flooding in nullahs and streams in Punjab, KP and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, heavy rain lashed the twin cities on Tuesday. The rain started early in the morning and continued until late at night with small breaks.
However, the rain did not raise the water level in Leh Nullah as less rain was recorded in its catchment areas.
The Met Office recorded 20 millimetres of rain at Saidpur, 29mm rain at Zero Point, 42mm at Golra, 22mm at Bokra and 79mm at the airport in Islamabad; 20mm at Chaklala and 27mm at Shamsabad in Rawalpindi.
When contacted, Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) Managing Director Raja Shaukat Mehmood said that after the prediction of heavy rain, all Wasa staff were put on high alert to deal with any untoward situation.— Additional reporting by Munawer Azeem, Ikram Junaidi & Aamir Yasin
Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2020