Eight killed in heavy rains in Balochistan, Karakoram Highway bridge swept away

Published August 13, 2022
UPPER KOHISTAN: This photo provided by the local administration shows construction equipment and other machinery submerged by water from the overflowing Ichar Nullah, on Friday.—Dawn
UPPER KOHISTAN: This photo provided by the local administration shows construction equipment and other machinery submerged by water from the overflowing Ichar Nullah, on Friday.—Dawn

KARACHI/MANSEHRA/QUETTA: At least eight people were killed in the fresh spell of heavy rains and flash floods in different areas of Balochistan, traffic between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan was suspended for the second time this month after flash floods swept away a bridge, while the Met department on Friday forecast thunderstorms with a few “heavy” to “very heavy” falls and occasional strong winds in several parts of Sindh in the next two days.

“The well-marked low-pressure area over the northeast Arabian Sea has intensified into an intense low-pressure area (depression) with a maximum wind speed of 50-55 kilometres per hour,” a Met department advisory said but added that none of the coastal areas was under threat at present.

“The system is located around latitude 22.6N and longitude 66.4E, at a distance of about 260km south/southeast of Karachi and 280km from Thatta. This weather system is likely to move in northwest direction initially and then westwards,” it said.

Chief Meteorologist Dr Sardar Sarfaraz told Dawn the system was unlikely to turn into a cyclone as prevailing monsoon conditions did not support its formation and the depression would likely advance into its next stage, called deep depression, before dying out.

Thunderstorms likely in several areas of Sindh, including Karachi; Balochistan battered by flash floods, two dams breached

The department has forecast thunderstorms with a few heavy to very heavy falls and occasional strong winds in Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Hyderabad, Matiari, Thatta, Sujawal, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazir­abad, Naushahro Feroze, Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Ghotki, Kashmore, Shikar­pur, Jacobabad, Dadu, Jamshoro and Kambar Shahdadkot districts and Karachi division until Aug 14 with occasional gaps.

Dr Sarfaraz said the low-pressure area over India’s Rajasthan state has weakened, which would help the current pattern of isolated heavy to very heavy falls in Sindh continue.

“Sea conditions would remain very rough during the next three days. Fishermen in Sindh are advised not to venture in the open sea till Aug 14 and those in Balochistan should also remain extra cautious during the forecast period,” the advisory said.

Rainfall is also likely to intensify in Balochistan’s north-eastern and southern districts and may trigger flash floods in Dadu, Jamshoro and Kambar Shahdadkot districts and downstream.

Besides, heavy rains over Khuz­dar, Lasbela and Hub districts and over the Kirthar mountain range may create extra pressure on Hub and Thaddo dams and downstream areas.

Heavy falls may create waterlogging and urban flooding in low-lying areas during the forecast period.

Bridge washed away in Kohistan

Traffic between Khyber Pakhtun­khwa and Gilgit-Baltistan was suspended for the second time this month on Friday after a temporary steel bridge installed at the Karakoram Highway (KKH) was swept away by flash flood in the Ichar nullah area of Upper Kohistan.

“We installed a Bailey bridge some three days ago at Ichar nullah, but it was swept away in the flash floods which brought heavy boulders, rocks and eroded lands, suspending traffic between KP and GB,” Mohammad Asif, the deputy commissioner of Upper Kohistan, told reporters.

He said that traffic en route to GB and KP had been diverted to the Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad road.

The working sites of the Dasu hydropower projects were also inundated in the floods, which also swept away machinery, including shovels.

120 houses destroyed

In Balochistan, at least eight people, including a child, were killed in the fresh spell of heavy rains and flash floods in different areas and amid reports of the breach of Machka and another dam in Qila Abdullah, while hundreds of houses were washed away in Qila Saifullah district.

Of those who lost their lives, three were killed in the Killi Khali neighbourhood located on the outskirts of Quetta where heavy rains collapsed the walls of two houses. Another death was reported in Chaman district.

Four of the deceased were swept away in flash floods that hit Qila Abdullah district late on Friday night, said Munir Ahmad Kakar, the district’s deputy commissioner. They were among the 15 who were on a tractor trolley when it was washed away. The rest of the people remained missing.

Officials said traffic between Quetta and Karachi was once again suspended as the linking highway had been damaged in different areas of Lasbela district.

In Qila Saifullah district, around 120 houses were swept away by hill torrents on Thursday night, Zakaullah Durrani, the assistant commissioner of Muslim Bagh, told Dawn, adding that 200 houses were also damaged in other localities.

Rains also continue to batter Pishin, Chaman, Qila Abdullah, Ziarat, Harnai, Duki, Sanjavi, Loralai, Fort Minro, Barkhan, Zhob and Sherani areas.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022

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