Heavy rain inundates low-lying areas in Rawalpindi

Published July 16, 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

RAWALPINDI: Heavy rain lashed the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Saturday morning inundating low-lying areas, raising the water level in Leh Nullah and forcing the health authority to devise a new plan to carry out anti-dengue spray in the garrison city.

The water level in Leh Nullah swelled to 8.3 feet at Gawalmandi bridge and seven feet at Kattarian bridge. Rainwater accumulated on Jamia Masjid Road, Rawal Road, Tipu Road, Bohar Bazaar, Kashmir Road and Adamjee Road in Rawalpindi.

Electricity breakdown was also witnessed in many parts of the city soon after the start of the rain and gusty winds. The residents in low-lying areas spent a sleepless night as the rain started at 2am and continued till 6am varying from low to high intensity.

In some areas, rainwater entered houses and shops, keeping the residents busy in draining out the water till in the afternoon.

Flood emergency already in place, staff deployed at flood response units, says Wasa chief

The Meteorological Department recorded 19 millimetres (mm) of rain at the airport, 62mm Zero Point, 27mm at Saidpur, 17mm at Golra, 39mm in BokraIslamabad and 39mm at Chaklala, 62mm at Kutchery and 79mm at Shamsabad in Rawalpindi.

Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha directed Wasa Managing Director Mohammad Tanveer to drain out the water from roads and areas along Leh Nullah. He asked the district administration and health authority to remain vigilant in next three days.

Wasa Managing Director Mohammad Tanveer told Dawn that it was the first heavy spell of the season as 79mm of rain was recorded in a few hours in the early morning. He said the water level in Leh Nullah rose to 8.3 feet at Gawalmandi and seven feet at Kattarian.

He said water accumulated in low-lying areas but the agency managed to drain it out. He said more rains were expected in coming days and Wasa was ready to deal with the situation. He said staff had been deployed in food response units.

“In the garrison city, a rain emergency is imposed usually with the start of monsoon season and it will continue till September 15,” he said, adding the flood response centres had been activated from July 1 at five points of the city.

He said the situation at Committee Chowk underpass was better as Wasa had cleared the drainage before the rains.

Meanwhile, the Met Office said monsoon currents from the Arabian Sea were penetrating the upper parts while westerly wave was also affecting the upper areas of the country.

Hot and humid weather is likely in most plain areas of the country. Rain-wind/thundershower is expected in Kashmir, Potohar region, Islamabad, Punjab, northeast Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Heavy falls are also likely at isolated places in Potohar region, Kashmir and upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the forecast period.

The weather advisory already warned civic bodies and provincial governments that heavy rain may cause urban flooding in low-lying areas of Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Gujranwala, Lahore from July 14 to 17 and may trigger landslides in vulnerable areas of Murree, Galliyat, Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and hilly areas of KP.

It advised farmers to manage their activities keeping in view the weather forecast and asked tourists and travelers to remain extra cautious to avoid any untoward situation during the wet spell.

It stated that dust storm/wind-thunderstorm may damage loose structures like electric poles, solar panels. The general public is advised to stay at safe places during wind-storm/heavy rains.

Furthermore, the district administration of Rawalpindi has cancelled holidays of all the staff, including assistant commissioners, in view of the heavy rains.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2023

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