Rawalpindi grapples with flooding as heavy rain pounds twin cities

Published July 15, 2023
Local authorities drain rainwater at a street in Rawalpindi on Saturday. — Photo by Tahir Naseer
Local authorities drain rainwater at a street in Rawalpindi on Saturday. — Photo by Tahir Naseer

Heavy rainfall pounded Islamabad and Rawalpindi on Saturday, leading to the declaration of a rain emergency in the twin cities and triggering local authorities to deploy machinery along roads to drain the rainwater.

Talking to Dawn.com, Managing Director of the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), Muhammad Tanveer, said a rain emergency has been declared in Rawalpindi as relentless downpours, which commenced in the early hours of the day and persisted for several hours, finally subsided by noon.

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, the twin cities have experienced rainfall exceeding 60 millimetres, causing a flood-like situation. It said Shamsabad received 60mm of rain, followed by Chaklala 46mm, Pindi 28mm, Rawat 12mm, Golra 16mm, and Saidpur 20mm of rainfall.

The substantial amounts of precipitation have led to water accumulation in low-lying regions, causing disruptions and posing risks to residents.

According to the Wasa MD, heavy machinery and personnel had been mobilised to combat the rising water levels in several areas.

“Our primary objective is to drain the excess water and ensure the safety of affected communities. Efforts are focused on swiftly pumping out water from inundated areas and addressing potential hazards posed by the flooding.”

Leh Nullah, a major waterway, has witnessed water levels rise to 7.5 feet, while the Gawalmandi Bridge reports a water flow at 6.5 feet, a Wasa statement said.

It said the authorities had taken measures to prevent damage and ensure smooth traffic flow by cleaning drainage systems, including critical areas such as Committee Chowk.

“The authorities are committed to managing the emergency situation and will handle any additional challenges that may arise,” Tanveer said, adding most affected areas with accumulated rainwater had been cleared.

Sutlej situation

Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Punjab said the water level of River Sutlej had further decreased.

According to the PDMA, at the Ganda Singh Wala location along the river, the water flow has returned to normal.

The inflow and outflow of water at the Ganda Singh Wala location are currently measured at 29,000 cusecs.

The statement also highlights that rivers Ravi, Chenab, and Jhelum are experiencing a normal water flow.

PDMA Director General Imran Qureshi, quoted in the statement, emphasised the department’s continuous communication with the provincial administration to ensure round-the-clock coordination.

The PDMA’s provincial control room strictly monitors all rivers, ensuring a vigilant oversight, the statement added.

Pakistan’s central region has been facing a flood situation for days as the northern states of India, where the catchment areas of the Sutlej and Ravi rivers are located, have witnessed torrential downpours in the past week. Consequently, India has been releasing more water towards the downstream areas in Pakistan.

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