QUETTA: Authorities in Balochistan have issued an alert for people to stay away from dams after at least 10 reservoirs were breached in several districts across the province due to heavy downpour and flash floods.
The situation has been worsening in many districts in northern Balochistan, where dams have come under immense pressure due to water torrents gushing down from various mountainous areas.
The Tal Dam in Kech district’s Hoshab area was breached after heavy rainfall triggered flash floods on Saturday. The water entered settlements and damaged houses and date orchards.
The local administration rescued the affected families and shifted them to safe locations. According to officials, no loss of life was reported, but a vast tract of land in Hoshab had become inundated.
CM orders probe into dams’ ‘faulty’ construction; PDMA issues renewed rain warning
According to reports from other districts, dams in Qila Saifullah, Toba Achakzai, Qila Abdullah, Chaman, Muslim Bagh, Pishin and Harnai districts either gave way or developed breaches.
“Four dams have collapsed in the Toba-Achakzai area alone, close to the Afghan border,” sources said, adding that the Khushdil Khan Dam in Pishin is also under threat, as it has continuously been receiving flood water from catchment areas.
The spillways of the dam, constructed in the colonial era, were opened to alleviate the water pressure. According to the latest report, the dam has not developed any breach so far and is still intact.
The Mirani Dam in Turbat, Ankra Dam in Gwadar and Shadi Kur Dam in Pasni have also been filled by accumulating floodwaters travelling downstream through seasonal channels.
In view of the situation, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo has ordered the irrigation department and other concerned authorities to monitor the dams’ situation and deploy machinery and staff for prompt action in case of any breach.
Mr Bizenjo has also ordered the chief secretary to conduct an inquiry into the use of substandard material in the construction of dams that were washed away or damaged.
PDMA issues another warning
In a renewed warning, the PDMA has warned that the monsoon rains spell would continue for a few more days in northern, central and southern Balochistan, which would lead to flooding in the seasonal rivers and streams.
According to a PDMA report issued on Saturday, so far 45 people – including women and children – have been killed and over 50 injured in rain-related accidents during last week.
A PDMA official said over 700 houses have been destroyed, while many bridges and connecting roads were washed away in the floods.
All kinds of traffic on the Quetta-Kandahar Road, which was blocked by landslides on Friday, was restored on Saturday after authorities removed the boulders and mud blocking it.
Also on Saturday, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali visited Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan office in Quetta, where he was given a detailed briefing on the flood situation in the province and relief activities being undertaken by different institutions.
Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2022