Rescue, relief work ongoing as rains wreak havoc across country

Published July 28, 2022
<p>Army troops distribute relief items in flood-affected areas. — Photo courtesy: ISPR</p>

Army troops distribute relief items in flood-affected areas. — Photo courtesy: ISPR

Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps (FC) troops on Thursday assisted the civil administration with rescue and relief efforts in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab as monsoon rainfall continued to wreak havoc across the country.

The relentless wet weather has pummelled the country as well as destroyed infrastructure in rural areas and cities. Earlier this month, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman had said the 30-year average for rainfall in Sindh and Balochistan had been broken.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Thursday that climate change was an "undeniable reality" of our time and posed serious consequences for developing countries like Pakistan.

"Our ongoing floods and torrential rains need to be seen from that angle," he said, promising that the government was aligning its development goals with climate change requirements.

The premier also constituted a committee to assess the damage caused by monsoon rains and floods in different parts of the country.

Chairing a meeting in Islamabad, PM Shehbaz instructed federal ministers to visit the affected areas in the next four days and submit recommendations for short, medium and long-term plans by August 4, a Radio Pakistan report said.

The prime minister also decided to increase the monetary compensation for the injured from Rs50,000 to Rs200,000. In addition, he said that compensation for partially damaged houses should be increased from Rs25,000 to Rs250,000 and from Rs50,000 to Rs500,000 for fully damaged houses, the report added.

The premier said the federal government would extend full cooperation to the provincial governments in an effort to cope with the impact of the natural calamity.

He also said the federal government would "write a letter to the Supreme Court to provide the fund[s] available with it for rehabilitation of infrastructure affected by the recent rains and floods in Karachi", the report said.

Separately, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said he had called on the Punjab government, which is led by the PTI and PML-Q, to provide assistance to people affected by the floods in the province's south, and Mianwali district.

In addition, Imran said he had instructed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to immediately provide assistance to those affected by floods in Balochistan.

Balochistan

Floods in Balochistan have swept away houses. — DawnNewsTV
Floods in Balochistan have swept away houses. — DawnNewsTV

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), 111 people in Balochistan have lost their lives in the downpours since June 1.

Additionally, more than 6,000 houses were damaged of which 3,000 were completely destroyed, the authority said in a statement issued today.

Separately, 40 people were rescued in Quetta's Hanna Urak after rivers and canals flooded. Three people drowned and several houses were washed away in the Kan Mehtarzai area.

Addressing a press conference today, Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili said this year's monsoon rains had broken the 30-year average, leaving the province in a "dire" situation.

He said thousands of people had been injured, while around 50,000 had been affected. "Around 200,000 acres of land has also been affected."

Uaqili added that rescue operations were under way in all the affected areas.

In a statement issued earlier today, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that two army aviation helicopters had been flown to Othal and Lasbela areas from Karachi.

The ISPR said that the helicopters had made similar attempts during the last 48 hours but could not fly due to "bad weather conditions".

"The helicopters will now shift stranded people to safer places and also transport necessary relief items," the statement said.

"General officer commanding at Gwadar visited Othal area to oversee rescue and relief efforts. Today, senior local commander at Khuzdar will visit flood-affected areas of Khuzdar and surroundings," it added.

The ISPR said that ground rescue and relief teams were busy in Othal, Jhal Magsi shifting people to safer places and providing food and water to local residents.

"Doctors and paramedics are providing medical care to affected people," the military's media affairs wing said.

The coastal highway has been opened for all kinds of traffic.

Efforts are ongoing to repair the damaged communication infrastructure and restore utilities, the ISPR said, adding that the protection bund in Turbat had been repaired after it was breached.

On Wednesday, a large number of people were marooned in the Lasbela district due to flooding which had submerged a vast area. Residents of Jhal Magsi, Oraki, and Gandawah areas were also rendered homeless after their houses were carried away.

Sindh

The ISPR added that apart from dewatering efforts in Karachi, army troops were busy in relief efforts in Jamshoro and Gharo areas.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah declared rain-affected areas of the province as calamity-hit areas.

In the meeting chaired by the prime minister, the CM said that the province had received unprecedented rainfall this year. He said that the three monsoon spells had killed 93 people, and fully damaged 2,807 houses and 388km of roads.

He told the meeting that Sindh had received "369 per cent more rain than normally recorded" during the monsoon season, according to a handout issued by the Chief Minister Office.

"The serious situation calls for the support of the federal government to compensate for the losses of lives, infrastructure, crops and houses," the handout quoted Shah as saying.

Shah said that various streets in urban centres like Karachi, Hyderabad, Badin, Sukkur, Thatta, Sujawal and Dadu had been partially damaged.

The CM told the prime minister that around 15,547 houses had also been partially damaged while 89,213 acres of standing crops were submerged or washed away.

Shah added that the PDMA was assisting in relief work in the province. However, he highlighted, more rains were expected in Balochistan in the upcoming days which would increase the pressure on Hub Dam.

"More rains in the Kirthar range will increase water flow in Qambar-Shahdadkot, Dadu and Jamshoro," he pointed out, adding that the water level at Guddu barrage was expected to rise as well.

Shah requested the prime minister to help the provincial government with compensating the families of those who had lost their lives due to the rains. He also urged the premier to delay the collection of agricultural loans for a year in calamity-hit areas.

Punjab

Violent currents of a hill torrent left six dead in Dera Ghazi Khan. — DawnNewsTV
Violent currents of a hill torrent left six dead in Dera Ghazi Khan. — DawnNewsTV

The ISPR also said that troops were assisting the civil administration in relief efforts in Dera Ghazi Khan due to "flash flooding/ hill torrents".

Two medical camps have been established by the army to provide medical care to the locals affected by the floods, it said.

Six villagers lost their lives when violent currents of a hill torrent brea­ched a protection dyke in Dera Ghazi Khan late on Tue­sday night.

According to villagers living near the protection dyke, they were caught unawares as the administration did not issue any warning about the torrents coming from the Soori Lund hill. Floodwaters also affected wheat stocks of the food department.

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