PESHAWAR: With heavy rains and flash floods continuing to pummel Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 10 people lost life to the monsoon disaster in separate incidents on Thursday.
The havoc wreaked by the unrelenting wet weather also prompted elementary and secondary education minister Shahram Khan Tarakai to announce the closure of schools in seven districts for two to 10 days.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority confirmed the death of nine people and injury of six in Lower Dir, Buner, Lower Kohistan, Lakki Marwat and North Waziristan districts. It said four people were killed in Lower Kohistan, two in Lakki Marwat and one each in Lower Dir, Buner and North Waziristan.
The downpour-induced flooding damaged roads, houses, hotels and water schemes and washed away vehicles in Upper and Lower Kohistan districts.
Resident Shamsul Haq told reporters that five people were trapped in a jeep after the Dubair stream swelled deluging the entire area and four of them were swept away in floodwaters.
He said Rescue 1122 workers and residents were jointly carrying out a search for bodies of Mohammad Anwar, Mohammad Riaz, Mohammad Bilal and Mohammad Fazl. Obidullah Waris was rescued.
The resident declared the flooding unprecedented and said the jeep couldn’t be traced.
He said the Gigal water scheme and a portion of link road, which connected three union councils with the Karakoram Highway, was also destroyed.
The district administration established a ‘tent village’ in Chakai area along the Karakoram Highway for displaced families.
Lower Kohistan district police officer Zulfiqar Khan Jadoon said he along with deputy commissioner Shakeel Khan visited the tent village, where the families displaced by flash floods would be accommodated and given food.
He said the search was under way for the bodies of four people, who drowned in a Sanagai stream. The flash floods destroyed two hotels in Upper Kohistan district, while several vehicles were swept away in Akhand Nullah.
A young man fell into the Swat River in Jarey area and drowned while trying to catch wood in floodwaters.
The police said the search was under way for the body of Alam Sher, 20, until night.
Meanwhile, the floods destroyed protection walls built by growers for their lands as well as several irrigation channels in Salampur village council.
Irrigation department SDO Nazir Ahmad reported high flooding in the Swat River and said 56,136 cubic feet water was discharged.
The flash floods and landslides blocked the main road between Bahrain and Kalam.
The Kalam Hotel Association announced free accommodation for and provision of food to all stranded tourists until the reopening of the road.
Association president Abdul Wadud said heavy machinery was used to clear the road.
The heavy monsoon rains and flooding wreaked havoc in parts of Lakki Marwat as well, killing two people, including a minor child, and damaging public property.
The road link between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab was also suspended after floodwaters destroyed a diversion mud track on the Bannu-Mianwali Road.
The artery was used by transporters to go to Punjab and Islamabad.
The local administration issued an alert for transporters asking them not to use Lakki -Darra Tang portion of the road. The floodwaters also damaged a bridge on the Nawerkhel Nullah, while a bridge on Graban Nullah was washed away suspending traffic between Haqdadabad and Hameedabad areas in Lakki city.
The rainwater deluded houses and offices in Lakki, Mela Mandrakhel, Eesakhel, Zangikhel, Mela Shahabkhel, Daulatkhel, Ghaznikhel and other areas.
With the Dall Mills and Sattarkhel areas near Lakki city being worst hit by the calamity, the residents shifted to safer places.
Floods and hill torrents in Koh-i-Sulaiman and South Waziristan hit Dera Ismail Khan district wreaking havoc on infrastructure in Kulachi, Daraban and Prova tehsils, Budh village and adjoining areas.
The floodwaters swept away the Saggu Bridge suspending traffic on the Dera Ismail Khan-Zhob Highway in Khutti area, while a truck overturned. The residents rescued the driver but the three people riding the truck were missing.
The district administration declared an emergency in Lower Dir after recording a ‘flood-like situation’ in the Panjkora River.
A government school’s building collapsed in Doog Dara area of Upper Dir district due to heavy rains. No damage to public life was reported due to the closure of the school.
The personnel of the Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps rescued around 60 people stranded in a flooded area of Tank district and shifted them to a relief camp, while 35 people marooned near Boltanabad and Dabarra areas of Gomal union council were taken to Kaur Fort and Tank in military vehicles.
Meanwhile, elementary and secondary education minister Shahram Khan Tarakai announced that schools would remain closed for 10 days in Upper Chitral, five days in Lower Chitral, three days in Dir Lower and Tank and two days in Upper Dir, Swat and Dera Ismail Khan.
Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2022