The Sindh education department on Tuesday announced that all private and government schools and colleges in the province will remain closed on Wednesday (August 24) and Thursday (August 25) as the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) predicted more monsoon rains across the country.
In a statement, Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali said that the decision had been taken due to a rain emergency in the province.
The development comes after the PMD, in its latest advisory today, forecast more rains across the country as a well-marked low-pressure area (LPA) located over India’s east Rajasthan (India) is expected to move northwest and approach Sindh tonight.
The Met office has warned that the strong weather system was penetrating monsoon currents in the southern and upper parts of Pakistan.
It said that additional rain-wind/thundershowers — with scattered heavy to very heavy falls — are expected in Sindh, south Punjab, south and northeastern Balochistan from Tuesday to Friday with occasional gaps.
“Rain-wind/thundershowers — with isolated heavy falls— are expected in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan from tonight to Friday with occasional gaps.”
Regarding the possible impact of the new system, the PMD said, heavy rains may generate urban flooding in Karachi, Hyderabad, Tando Jam, Thatta, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Khairpur, Shaheed Benazirabad, Dadu, Naushahro Feroze, Larkana, Jaccobabad, Sukkur, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Bahawalpur, Multan, Lahore and Gujranwala on Wednesday and Thursday.
Furthermore, flash flooding is expected in Qilla Saifullah, Quetta, Ziarat, Harnai, Pishin, Loralai, Barkhan, Kohlu, Dera Bugti, Jhal Magsi, Mosa Khel, Zhob, Sherani, Sibbi, Naseerabad, Bolan, Awaran, Kalat, Khuzdar, Lasbela, hill torrents of Dera Ghazi Khan, local nullahs of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Dir, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Bannu and Kashmir from Wednesday to Friday.
The department added that rainfall may also trigger landslides in Kashmir, hilly areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Galiyat, Murree, Chillas, Diamer, Gilgit, Hunza, Astore, Ghizer and Skardu during the forecast period.
It further advised travellers and tourists to remain cautious during the period.
Bilawal urges nation to prioritise helping flood victims over ‘political drama’
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has urged the nation to prioritise assistance of flood-affected victims across the country instead of the “everyday political dramas”.
The PPP leader made these remarks a day after the Sindh government declared 23 districts of the province calamity-hit after torrential rains wreaked havoc causing heavy loss of human life, livestock, and destruction of thousands of mud-thatched houses, roads and bridges.
Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Tando Mohammad Khan, Dadu, Sujawal, Tando Allahyar, Jamshoro, Matiari, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Shaheed Benazirabad, Naushahro Feroze, Sanghar, Sukkur, Khairpur, Ghotki, Larkana, Kashmore, Kandhkot, Shikarpur, Qamber Shahdadkot and Jacobabad were among the areas that had been declared disaster-hit.
Talking to the media in Qambar Shahdadkot today, Bilawal requested people to dispatch relief goods to flood-hit areas of Sindh, saying that the spell of rain in Sindh has lasted over a month leading to immense devastation.
“We have requested the government to provide relief to rain-hit people through the Benazir Income Support Programme.”
The PPP co-chairman highlighted that the people who had been injured during the rain would be compensated by the provincial government but rain affectees could only be assisted through the BISP.
Bilawal acknowledged that the civil administration of the province had fewer resources in comparison to the requirements. “There is a huge demand and supply gap. We don’t have tents as per our requirement.
“But we have to tackle this situation even if our resources are meagre,” he vowed.
The minister added that the administration and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah have appealed to the army for help. “The CM may also request the navy to assist the civil administration in helping people.”
Bilawal regretted that not a single piece of land had been spared by monsoon rains, raising concerns over difficulties faced by the administration in reaching out to all affected areas.
Country’s biggest problem rain, not Gill’s arrest: Sherry
Separately, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman, in a tweet today, said that the biggest problem of the country today was rain and not PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s arrest.
She revealed that “Padidan and Karachi recorded the highest rainfall in 30 years” from June to August 22.
“The Ministry of Climate Change had warned the federal and provincial governments regarding heavy monsoon rains,” she said. “We have to use all resources to help and assist the flood victims. All provinces need more resources to deal with flood disasters.”
Rehman criticised the Punjab government, saying that it was preoccupied with PTI leaders Imran Khan and Gill while hundreds of thousands of people were waiting for relief, adding that the residents of south Punjab were looking towards the provincial government.