Two die as heavy rains lash twin cities, trigger floods in nullahs

Published July 6, 2022
(Clockwise from top) Army and Rescue 1122 personnel stand alert on Gawalmandi bridge after water level in Leh Nullah increased; a man pushes his broken down motorcycle through standing water at Marrir Chowk in Rawalpindi, water accumulates in a park in Media Town while dark clouds hang over Islamabad as the twin cities received heavy rain on Tuesday. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad & Mohammad Asim
(Clockwise from top) Army and Rescue 1122 personnel stand alert on Gawalmandi bridge after water level in Leh Nullah increased; a man pushes his broken down motorcycle through standing water at Marrir Chowk in Rawalpindi, water accumulates in a park in Media Town while dark clouds hang over Islamabad as the twin cities received heavy rain on Tuesday. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad & Mohammad Asim

. Rains likely to continue till July 7, says Met Office
. Water level rises in Leh Nullah, low-lying areas inundated
. Swimming prohibited in Rawal, Simly dams and all nullahs

RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: Two persons were swept away by flash flooding during heavy rains in the twin cities on Tuesday morning.

A man drowned in Korang Nullah at Banigala while a youth was swept away in Rawalpindi’s Leh Nullah.

Abdul Razzaq told Dawn that Mehmood Akhtar, who was working in his office located close to Korang Nullah in Banigala, noticed two boys trapped on a big stone in the middle of the gushing waters in the nullah.

He said as the water level rose in the nullah, Akhtar rushed to save the children and jumped into the waters but was swept away.

Police said a woman called Rescue 15 at around 11am and informed its staffers that she had spotted four children trapped in Korang Nullah behind the LVL Colony.

She said a man while trying to rescue the children had drowned.

Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Banigala DSP Hakim Khan along with police and rescue workers reached the spot but the flow of water was very heavy. Efforts made by the police and the rescue workers remained unsuccessful.

Later, the capital administration was approached and assistance was also sought from the navy to rescue the four children.

In response, the navy divers reached the spot and conducted a rescue operation under the supervision of Assistant Commissioner Aneel Syed and brought the four children to safety.

They were siblings and identified as Noor Khan, 8, Rafiullah, 11, Delawar, 13, and Mustafa, 14. They were residents of Banigala and were later handed over to their parents, the police said, adding that mostly villagers came over to the nullah to collect wood during rains.

Meanwhile, two youngsters from Hazara Colony in Rawalpindi jumped into Leh Nullah and one of them managed to swim back to its bank but the other, identified as Furqan Ahmad, 18, drowned.

According to rescue services, the search operation for the body was suspended after sunset and will be started on Wednesday morning.

The heavy rains raised the water level in Leh Nullah and inundated low-lying areas.

The level in Leh Nullah rose to 20 feet at Kattarian bridge and 18 feet at Gawalmandi. Residential areas along the nullah were inundated, forcing the residents to leave their houses.

The army’s 111 Brigade arrived to deal with any emergency while Rescue 1122 used boats to rescue people from low-lying areas.

The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), district administration and Rescue 1122 remained on high alert to shift residents of low-lying areas to safer places.

The Meteorological Department recorded 81mm of rainfall at the airport, 74mm at Zero Point, 61mm at Saidpur, 57mm at Golra, 38mm at Bokra in Islamabad and 86mm at Chaklala and 56mm at Shamsabad in Rawalpindi. It forecast more rains in the twin cities during the next 24 hours.

The two-hour long heavy showers brought down the mercury to 29 degrees Celsius and blocked almost all main roads in the garrison city and cantonment areas. However, the water drained out in the afternoon.

In many parts of the city and cantonment, traffic signals went out of order, which disrupted traffic. Power supply was also suspended in the low-lying areas.

On the other hand, rains exposed the claims of Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards that they had cleared nullahs and drains to ensure smooth flow of water. The sewerage system in cantonment areas and adjacent to Leh Nullah were choked and rainwater entered houses and shops.

Commissioner Noorul Amin Mengal along with Deputy Commissioner Tahir Farooq, Wasa Managing Director Mohammad Tanveer and Rawalpindi Waste Management Company (RWMC) Managing Director Awais Manzoor Tarrar visited Leh Nullah at Gawalmandi bridge and other parts of the city to inspect the situation.

The Wasa chief said heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of Leh Nullah in Islamabad raised the water level.

“The intensity was very high as in one hour 60mm rain was recorded. However, due to timely cleanliness of Leh Nullah and 11 big nullahs and drains, water discharged within an hour,” he said.

More rains expected

The Met Office said monsoon currents were penetrating into the country and may continue during the next 24 to 48 hours. The monsoon currents are likely to further strengthen from the weekend.

Rain-wind/thundershower are expected in Islamabad, Kashmir, Swat, Mansehra, Kohistan, Abbottabad, Haripur, Peshawar, Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Rawalpindi, Murree, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum, Sargodha, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Sialkot, Narowal, Mianwali, Bhakkar, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh and Okara from July 5 (night) to July 7 (morning).

Heavy falls are also expected in Kashmir, Peshawar, Mardan, Kurram, Dir, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Islamabad, Potohar region, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Hafizabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and Sargodha on July 5 and July 6.

Meanwhile, the capital administration on Tuesday imposed a ban on swimming in Rawal Dam, Simly Dam and all nullahs, including Soan and Korang.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2022

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