QUETTA/GILGIT: Torrential rains and flash floods continued to wreak havoc in Balochistan, killing six people and sweeping away a major gas pipeline on Friday in a province already cut off from the rest of the country through both roads and rail links.
Meanwhile, flooding in rivers and streams across Gilgit-Baltistan continued to affect lives and infrastructure.
In Balochistan, the latest rain-related deaths were reported in Quetta, Jaffarabad, Khuzdar and other areas. Heavy rains and flash floods also continued to batter Lasbela, Sibi, Zhob, Loralai, Bolan, Khuzdar, Kalat, Dera Murad Jamali, Noshki, Kharan and other districts, damaging roads and houses and rendering more people homeless.
In Bolan district, flooding in Bolan river washed away a 24-inch-wide gas pipeline passing under the riverbed near Bibi Nani area, suspending gas supply to Quetta, Pishin, Mastung, Kalat, Pishin, Ziarat and other towns.
SSGC officials confirmed the incident and said efforts were being made to link the pipeline to a narrower 12-inch pipeline to restore gas supply. However, replacing the damaged pipeline might take at least three to four days after floodwater recedes, they said.
Official sources said all four major highways — Quetta-Karachi, Quetta-Sukkur, Loralai-Dera Ghazi Khan and Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan — linking Balochistan with Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were still blocked due to heavy landslides and floods.
Heavy boulders that fell on Fort Munro-Dera Ghazi Khan and Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan highways after the landslides could not be removed, leaving hundreds of people stranded. Several trucks carrying fruits, vegetables and other goods have also been stuck for the last two days.
Security officials said up to 10km of the highway had been affected and removing the boulders and heavy mud might take more than a week. The railway track connecting Quetta with the rest of the country has also not been cleared yet.
Meanwhile, a fresh spell of rains and floods inundated at least 40 villages in Bela town of Lasbela district and more than 300 people were stranded after floodwater entered houses.
Flooding in Porali river submerged part of a national highway, suspending inter-district travel. A flood protection dyke was also washed away in the Bela area.
Meanwhile, flooding in rivers and streams across Gilgit-Baltistan continued on Friday, leaving many people homeless, sweeping away crops, agriculture land and roads, and power supply and internet services remained suspended. Continued flooding also hampered relief efforts, and residents of remote areas remained cut off from other areas.
According to the deputy commissioner of Nagar, Zaid Ahmed, flooding occurred in Hoper nullah fifth time since July 22. Residents said several homes in Shaman village had been damaged, leaving five families homeless.
Cattle farms, crops, agricultural land, and trees were swept away in Shaman. The flooding from Hoper nullah also affected the residents’ property in Tokorkot and threatened infrastructure such as bridges.
Mr Ahmed said affected people had been evacuated and shifted to a safe site where 14 tents had been set up and food packs were also distributed.
Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2022