• Official says New Delhi sharing flood data with Pakistan
• Locals evacuated from villages near Kasur
• Medium-level flood damages crops in Chiniot
LAHORE: Riverine areas in Punjab continue to face the threat of rising water levels in rivers on Tuesday as the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) issued a “high alert” after India released more water into the Sutlej river.
The Meteorological Department has also predicted more monsoon rains from July 13 to 17 in the upper and central parts of the country.
With a warning of medium-flood issued for the River Sutlej after more inflows from India, sources in the Indus Waters Commission said Indian authorities were sharing flood data with Pakistan, as per the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.
The northern states of India, where the catchment areas of Sutlej and Ravi rivers are located, have witnessed torrential downpours in the past week. As a result, India is releasing more and more water towards downstream areas in Pakistan.
The official confirmed to Dawn that 169,000 cusecs of water from India’s Ferozepur headworks had entered Pakistan through Ganda Singh Wala headworks at Kasur.
The water flow was reduced to 47,850 cusecs and 28,955 cusecs downstream, he said, adding that at present, the Sutlej river was flowing at a medium-flood level.
“The water level may rise further in coming days due to torrential rains in the catchment areas in India.”
“Under the Indus Waters Treaty, India is liable to share data related to flood and water supposed to be used by Pakistan as its share under the treaty,” the official explained.
The situation in the River Ravi was normal as its catchment areas at Jassar headworks in India received no rains. “At present, the water flow in Ravi is 28,000 cusecs.”
Kasur on alert
On Tuesday, Punjab Relief Commissioner Nabil Javed told Dawn.com that commissioners and deputy commissioners of the areas concerned had been directed to complete all the preliminary arrangements, including evacuation of people living in low-lying areas, to prevent any untoward situation.
In its updated advisory on Tuesday, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said a medium-level flood was reported from Harike in Indian Punjab and expected to reach Ganda Singhwala village, in Kasur district, within the next 24 hours.
Rescue teams have started evacuation from villages including Mastaykat, Pattan, Chanda Singh, Magowala and 18 hamlets along the river bank near Kasur. Over 650 people have been evacuated so far while evacuation from over a dozen more villages was also expected if the water level continued to rise.
Kasur Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Arshad Bhatti said the district administration had arranged boats, life jackets and other equipment to ensure the evacuation of people and livestock.
Water enters Chiniot
Water from the Chenab river entered low-lying areas near Chiniot late on Monday and damaged crops and farmhouses.
Over 100km-long belt of the Chenab river passes through the revenue limits of Chiniot district.
A medium-level flood of 162,000 cusecs of water entered the limits of Chiniot and inundated crops at thousands of acres of land in dozens of low-lying villages. Many farmhouses built along the river belt were also damaged.
Police and revenue department officials had already evacuated people from the affected areas along with their belongings and cattle. Rescue 1122 and other departments had already set up relief centres near the affected villages of Jhangar Gloteran, Mahooan, Shamoon, Lal Da Burj, Kot Miana, Burj Umar and other villages.
The water didn’t enter any residential area except in the village of Sanbhal, where some mud houses were damaged.
Chiniot Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Asif Raza told Dawn the situation was under control and the administration had been carrying out mock exercises for the last several days to cope with the flood situation.
There has been no casualty of life or cattle reported in any of the affected areas, he added.
In Toba Tek, 100km south of Chiniot, Deputy Commissioner Adnan Irshad visited different areas near the Ravi river in Kamalia and Pirmahal tehsils and reviewed relief arrangements.
Kamalia Assistant Commissioner Abdul Hanan said the water flow in the River Ravi was normal and arrangements have been made to deal with a possible flood situation.
Jhang DC Abdullah Khurram Niazi also visited the areas along Chenab and Jhelum rivers where 18 relief camps have been set up by the district administration. He said boats are barred from entering the rivers and locals near river banks have been ordered to relocate to safer places.
Water subsiding at Marala
After a low-level flood on Monday, the water inflow into the Marala headworks near Gujrat has gradually started to reduce as some 90,572 cusecs entered on Tuesday as compared to 193,000 cusecs a day ago, the deputy commissioner’s office said.
The downstream release from Marala headworks was 73,435 cusecs in the evening.
Similarly, the situation at Khanki headworks on Sutlej river near Wazirabad has also returned to steady as 78,649 cusecs of water arrived there and 71,331 cusecs were released.
The local administration had shifted several families from the villages along the bank of the Chenab river as a precaution.
Met Office predicts more rains
According to the Met Department’s advisory, a westerly wave was expected to enter the upper parts of the country on July 14. Under the influence of these weather systems, Rain and thundershower was expected in Neelum Valley, Muzaffarabad, Poonch, Hattian, Bagh, Haveli, Sudhanoti, Kotli, Bhimber, Mirpur in Azad Kashmir; and Murree, Galliyat, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum, Mandi Bahauddin, Sialkot, Narowal, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Kasur and Okara in Punjab from July 12 to 17.
Rain and thundershower were also expected in Diamir, Astore, Ghizer, Skardu, Hunza, Gilgit, Ghanche, Shigar areas of Gilgit-Baltistan; Chitral, Swat, Mansehra, Kohistan, Abbottabad, Haripur, Peshawar, Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Kurram, Lakki Marwat, Kohat, D.I Khan, Bannu, Karak, Waziristan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; and Mianwali, Khusab, Sargodha, Hafizabad, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Jhang and Toba Tek Singh in Punjab from July 13 17.
The areas of Barkhan, Loralai, Kalat, Khuzdar, Zhob, Lasbela, Awaran and Musakhel in Balochistan; Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Multan, Bhakkar, Layyah, Kot Addu in Punjab; and Sukkur, Jacobabad, Nagarparkar, Tharparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar, Mirpur Khas in Sindh were expected to receive rainfall from July 14 to 16.
The Met Office also warned of urban flooding in low-lying areas of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Gujranwala and Lahore and landslides in Murree, Galliyat, Kashmir, GB and hilly areas of KP.
Waseem Ashraf Butt in Gujrat, Afzal Ansari in Kasur, Aurangzeb Malik in Chiniot, Tariq Saeed in Toba Tek Singh and Aamir Yasin in Rawalpindi also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2023