11 killed, 6 injured in wall collapse during heavy rains in Islamabad

Published July 19, 2023
Rescue efforts are under way after a wall collapse in Islamabad killed at least 11 and injured six others on Wednesday. — Photo provided by author
Rescue efforts are under way after a wall collapse in Islamabad killed at least 11 and injured six others on Wednesday. — Photo provided by author
Rescue efforts are under way after a wall collapse in Islamabad killed at least 11 and injured six others on Wednesday. — Photo provided by author
Rescue efforts are under way after a wall collapse in Islamabad killed at least 11 and injured six others on Wednesday. — Photo provided by author
Troops arrive to monitor the flood situation from a bridge built over a stream near a residential area in Rawalpindi on July 19. — AFP
Troops arrive to monitor the flood situation from a bridge built over a stream near a residential area in Rawalpindi on July 19. — AFP

At least 11 people were killed and six others were injured on Wednesday after a building’s wall collapsed at Islamabad’s Grand Trunk (GT) Road as the area faces a spell of heavy monsoon rains.

Heavy rainfall in Islamabad and Rawalpindi has caused waterlogging in low-lying areas, leading to disruptions and posing potential hazards for residents.

According to Industrial Area I-9 Superintendent of Police (SP) Khan Zeb, the bodies of the 11 people were recovered from the rubble with the help of machinery.

The bodies of the deceased — said to be labourers — were shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), according to Dr Mubashir Daha, who is the spokesperson for Pims Executive Director Dr Imran Sikander.

Dr Daha said that six injured were also brought to the hospital, out of which one was discharged after receiving first aid, while the rest were out of danger.

SP Zeb said that rescue teams had immediately reached the site upon receiving the incident alert.

Following the incident, the Pims hospital authorities put all doctors and paramedical staff on high alert.

“The Pims administration is fully alert after the intense rainfalls in the twin cities,” Dr Daha said, adding that the hospital staff was united to deal with any sudden disaster.

An official statement from Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon explained that the incident occurred due to a building’s wall collapsing upon a tent that the labourers had placed there.

The statement added that the labourers were working on the construction of an underpass on the city’s GT Road — carried out on the orders of the National Highway Authority (NHA).

It added that DC Memon, Chief Commissioner Noorul Amin Mengal and officials of the NHA were present at the site.

In a tweet, Mengal said he visited the site to assess the dewatering and search and rescue operations. Sharing photos from his visit, he said, “All possible resources are being utilised to facilitate people.”

Meanwhile, in an official statement, the NHA denied reports of the collapsed wall being a part of an underpass structure.

Without specifying which underpass, it stated: “There is no truth in the reports saying that the wall that collapsed due to rains is of an underpass.”

It went on to assert, “The walls and the construction site of the underpass are safe and sound.”

The authority expressed sorrow over the incident and prayed for the deceased and their families.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed “deep grief and sorrow” at the incident and prayed for the departed souls, Radio Pakistan reported.

He also directed the district administration to stay alert in view of the heavy rains, the report added.

11 ‘slightly injured’ in vehicle collisions

 A photo combo of scenes from the M-1 motorway, where three buses and a car collided on Wednesday. — Photos provided by author
A photo combo of scenes from the M-1 motorway, where three buses and a car collided on Wednesday. — Photos provided by author

Separately, 11 people were “slightly injured” when a vehicle crashed into three buses that had already collided on the M-1 (Islamabad-Peshawar) motorway near the Burhan Interchange, Saqib Waheed, spokesperson for the motorway police said.

He clarified that there was no loss of life in the incident and that no one was “seriously injured”.

In a tweet today, the Islamabad Police alerted citizens that “traffic congestion may be observed” at several locations due to heavy rain and waterlogging.

The locations specified were the Main Bharakahu Road, Tramri Chowk, Captain Kernal Shair Khan Avenue, the Faizabad area and the PWD stop on the Islamabad Expressway.

The police asserted that its officers were present at the above locations to ease the congestion.

In another tweet, while sharing clips of various road accidents caused by a lack of precautions taken, the police advised citizens to remain cautious while driving.

“It is extremely important that you drive with full attention and caution during rain,” it said, adding that the drivers should ensure that their car’s windshield wipers, light indicators and tyres were functioning properly.

CM Naqvi orders completion of rainwater drainage operation

 Vehicles ply on a waterlogged road in Islamabad on Wednesday. — Photo provided by author
Vehicles ply on a waterlogged road in Islamabad on Wednesday. — Photo provided by author

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi directed the authorities concerned with the district administration to utilise all available resources and immediately complete the rainwater drainage operation, APP reported.

Citing a district administration spokesman, the report said that Naqvi had issued special instructions to Rescue 1122, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority of Punjab and the district administration, directing them to ensure immediate drainage of water in low-lying areas of Rawalpindi following heavy rain on Tuesday night.

He had also ordered the officials concerned to remain on the field until the drainage work was completed, APP stated.

The report added that the chief minister directed that the situation of the Lai Nullah should be continuously monitored and sought a report on the operation.

According to a report released by the Pakistan Meteorological Department today, in the past 24 hours, Islamabad received 138 millimetres of rainfall at Bokra, 102mm at Golra, 98mm at Zero Point, 64mm at Aabpara and 44m at Saidpur.

Meanwhile, Rawalpindi received 188mm at Shamsabad, 110mm at Chaklala and 79mm at Kutchery in the same period.

According to an update by the National Disaster Management Authority, the monsoon spell is likely to intensify today onwards for the next three to four days.

It said the current rain spell would continue till July 23, with expected “increased rainfall in the catchment areas of eastern rivers and intensification of the monsoon system in Jhelum River at Mangla, flowing at medium flood level with sharp peaks to high flood, Chenab at Marla, flowing at high flood level, Ravi River at Jassar, flowing at low to medim flood level, and associated nullahs of Chenab and Ravi”.

During the forecast period, the update said, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Gujranwala, Lahore, Karachi and other urban centres could see urban flooding.

Likewise, flash floods and landslides were expected in Murree, Galiyat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur, Larkana, Sanghar and Dadu in Sindh could experience duststorms, the forecast said.

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.

On July 6, at least 17 people had lost their lives while 49 others were injured in multiple incidents of roof and wall collapses across Punjab as rains continued to batter parts of the province for a second consecutive day.

Wall collapses due to rains have been one of the main reasons behind several deaths in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab towards the end of June as well.

Around the same time, a section, including a pillar and girders, of an under-construction bridge over the Soan River near the Lahore High Court’s building collapsed. However, no loss of life had been reported.

GLOF warning for GB

Meanwhile, the PMD warned of the possibility of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) and flash floods in parts of Gilgit Baltistan.

In an alert, the PMD said high temperatures in Gilgit Baltistan were expected to persist followed by rainfall spells during this week, due to which the flows of river streams would increase.

“There is a high probability of triggering GLOF events/ flash floods, in the vulnerable snow and glaciated areas of GB,” the alert read.

The PMD advised the relevant organisations and local communities to remain vigilant and observe precautionary measures during this spell.

Opinion

Editorial

Saudi FM’s visit
17 Apr, 2024

Saudi FM’s visit

AFTER a two-day stay, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, accompanied by a delegation including other...
Dharna inquiry
17 Apr, 2024

Dharna inquiry

THE Supreme Court-sanctioned inquiry into the infamous Faizabad dharna of 2017 has turned out to be a damp squib. A...
Future energy
17 Apr, 2024

Future energy

PRIME MINISTER Shehbaz Sharif’s recent directive to the energy sector to curtail Pakistan’s staggering $27bn oil...
Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...