Localities along water channels suffer as twin cities receive heavy rains

Published July 14, 2022
(Clockwise) Water rages through Soan River along Jhelum Road; Leh Nullah sees an increase in its level, an inundated street in Rahimabad and a flooded room in a house in Dhoke Elahi Baksh after heavy rain lashed Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Wednesday. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad & Online
(Clockwise) Water rages through Soan River along Jhelum Road; Leh Nullah sees an increase in its level, an inundated street in Rahimabad and a flooded room in a house in Dhoke Elahi Baksh after heavy rain lashed Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Wednesday. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad & Online

RAWALPINDI: The twin cities saw another heavy spell of rain on Wednesday morning, which disrupted normal life as rainwater entered several houses and shops.

Scores of residents remained stuck in their houses while officials from Rescue 1122 tried their best to contain the situation. Most of the areas that were affected by flash floods were situated along various water channels.

Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz particularly took notice of the situation arising in several areas of Dhoke Juma and Lalazar Valley Housing Scheme.

Rain started early morning at 5am and continued till 10am, with water inundating low-lying areas in several places of the twin cities including Soan Garden, Bahria Town Phase-4 and Pakistan Town.

Met Office predicts more rain; official says most inundated areas had blocked drainage points

In Pakistan Town, neighbours saved a family of seven who were trapped in their basement. The family said it had complained to the housing society’s administration about a choked drain in their street but no action was taken. Besides, electricity remained suspended for three to nine hours in some areas.

According to the Met Office, 112 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in the airport area, 67mm in Saidpur, 45mm in Golra, 55mm in Bokra, 40mm in Zero Point in Islamabad while 52mm rain was recorded in Shamsabad and 86mm in Chaklala in Rawalpindi.

An official said in the next two days, more rain is expected in Rawalpindi and Islamabad while a new weather system will enter Sindh and Balochistan today (Thursday).

He said monsoon currents from Bay of Bengal were continuously penetrating the upper and central parts of the country.

Torrential rains may generate urban flooding in low-lying areas of Kashmir, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Narowal, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Jhang, Mianwali, Peshawar, Swabi and Mardan, while flash flooding may occur in local drains.

Heavy rains may cause urban flooding in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Benazirabad, Sukkur, Larkana and Jacobabad.

Meanwhile, roads and infrastructure were damaged due to rain in Rawalpindi, with the worst-affected areas being Adiala Road, Dhoke Juma, Chattha Market, Munawar Colony, Christian Colony, Samarzar, Sikandar Town, Mubarak Lane, Mumtaz Market, New Abadi Scheme 3, Shakrial and Kuri Road.

Rainwater also submerged several other areas including Jan Colony, Baqir Colony, Lalazar, Shadman Colony and Barki Jadid (Gujar Khan).

Reportedly, officers of all civic bodies including Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB), Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB) and Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation (RMC) remained absent and the residents were seen tackling the emergency on their own.

Talking to Dawn, Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) Managing Director Mohammad Tanveer saidwater level in Leh Nullah did not increase and rainwater was cleared from all roads and low-lying areas.

Deputy Commissioner Tahir Farooq said most areas that were affected by the rain had blocked drainage points due to encroachments.

“The city areas were cleared in the afternoon and rainwater was drained out. Officials of civic bodies remained on their toes,” he said, adding that the chief minister had issued directions to authorities concerned to assist the cantonment administration in draining out water.

“We are ready to deal with any situation in the next two to three days,” he added.

Meanwhile, according to the Met Office, from July 1 to 13th, the country received 58mm rainfall compared to the normal 19.6mm. This showed an increase of 194pc.

The worst hit was Sindh, which received 98.3mm of rain in the last two weeks compared to the normal 13.6mm, showing a drastic increase of 625pc since July 1. Similarly, Balochistan received 57.8mm compared to the normal 9.6mm - an increase of 501pc above normal rain.

Punjab received 55.2mm rainfall - more than the normal 34.3mm - which showed an increase of 61pc. On the other hand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir were expected to receive the normal 11pc rain.

Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) was the only region that was showing a 42pc decline in the average rainfall in the last two weeks.

Talking to Dawn, Dr M. Tahir Khan from the Meteorological Department Islamabad said heavy monsoon rains were expected to continue, with Sept 10 likely to be the cut-off date of the season.

“However, it is too early to predict if we would have an extended monsoon like last year, which continued into October,” the official said. — Additional reporting by Jamal Shahid

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2022

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