CHAGAI/QUETTA: The trade between Pakistan and Iran was suspended after rains and flash floods washed away Quetta-Zahedan rail track at various points and also brought Afghan transit trade to a halt due to flooding at the Pak-Afghan border and adjoining areas.
The railway track was damaged at three points after heavy rains last night that lashed Chagai and Naushki districts and caused flash floods that also washed away around 100 houses and swept away the bridge linking Naushki with Quetta-Taftan national highway.
A senior official told Dawn that the track was damaged at Naushki-Ahmedwall, Dalbandin-yak-Mach and Nokkundi-Taftan sessions.
Officials further said that four goods train enroute Zahedan loaded with rice have been stopped at Dalbandin station while train coming to Quetta carrying sulphur has been stopped at Yakmach station.
A Pakistan Railways (PR) officer Sikandar Hussain Lashari said that 30 breaches occurred on the track in Dalbandin section and it would take at least three days to complete the repair works.
Chief secretary says 124 killed, 10,000 houses damaged in the province; road link between Balochistan, Sindh cut off
However, he added that flash floods were continuously coming from mountainous areas, causing difficulties in rehabilitation work. Another PR official Barkat Bugti in Nokkundi said that almost 20 breaches in the Nokkundi-Taftan were repaired while the remaining would completed as soon as possible.
The friendship gate at the Pak-Afghan border in Chaman was also closed after heavy rains and floods at the Quetta-Kandahar highway that suspended trade activities.
Long queues of trucks carrying goods were formed on both sides of the borders waiting for the resumption of trade activities.
Meanwhile, the road link of Balochistan with Sindh was completely cut off after a bridge and a road connecting the two provinces were damaged in Lasbela and Khuzdar, respectively.
The traffic on Quetta-Karachi highway was still suspended due to collapsing of major bridges and sweeping away of big portions of the highway.
124 dead, 10,000 houses damaged in Balochsitan
Outlining the scale of disaster caused by recent rains and floods, Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili on Friday said that around 124 people, including women and children, have lost their lives and 10,000 houses were damaged out of which 6,700 were completely destroyed.
Addressing a press conference, Mr Uqaili said at least six main bridges were damaged besides thousands of people being rendered homeless.
Floods damaged approximately 565 km of roads and 197,930-acre of agricultural land while 712 livestock also died, he added.
While briefing the reporters on the government’s response, the chief secretary said that 17,500 people affected by heavy rains and flash floods were rescued while the federal and the provincial governments have announced Rs1 million compensation for the deceased.
The government would also compensate property and livestock losses, he added.
He said that Section 144 has been enforced in the province and the citizens have been advised to avoid unnecessary travel for 10 days.
He said many people were still awaiting help from the flood-hit areas.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Navy was also providing assistance and disaster relief support to people stranded in Urki, Uthal, Lakhra and other small isolated areas of Lasbela district.
Commander Coast Rear Admiral Javed Iqbal along with officials of the district administration undertook an aerial visit of the flood-hit areas to review relief activities on Friday.
Pakistan Navy helicopters evacuated a critically ill woman, along with six other people stranded in Uthal while also air dropping ration packs for people awaiting rescue.
Ali Raza Rind in Chagai, Saleem Shahid in Quetta and Shazia Hasan in Karachi contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2022