At least nine people were killed in rain-related incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the last 48 hours due to heavy rainfall while an emergency was declared in the province’s Lower and Upper Chitral districts till August 15.
Heavy rain with strong winds and thunderstorms lashed parts of the province on Saturday, triggering landslides and destroying infrastructure.
The rain continued intermittently through the day, resulting in a “large-scale devastation” in the district. The deluge also triggered flash floods in Chitral, which washed away bridges, roads, and livestock.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, several areas of the country are likely to continue to receive rain until July 26.
The latest report issued by KP’s Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said nine people had died over the last 24 hours, including two in Swat, two in Battagram, four in Mansehra and one in Buner.
The report further said that seven people had been injured, including three in Swat, three in Battagram and one in Mansehra.
The PDMA said nine houses had been fully damaged while 67 were partially damaged.
Separately, a notification issued by the Relief, Rehabilitation and Settlement Department said that the deputy commissioners of both districts had requested for an “emergency” to be declared in order to enable them to “launch immediate rescue and relief activities”.
Therefore, the provincial government declared a rain emergency in the two districts with immediate effect, adding that it would remain in place till August 15 “for provision of relief [and] restoration of damaged communication network and water supply”.
Meanwhile, KP Interim Chief Minister Mohammad Azam Khan directed the relief department and the district administration to remain on “high alert”.
He directed authorities to immediately launch relief and rescue activities and to ensure that aid was provided to the affectees.
The chief minister also ordered for the affected people to be moved to safer locations and asserted that the provincial government would help them “in every possible way”.
4 killed in landslide in GB’s Skardu
Separately, four people of the same family lost their lives while one was injured in a landslide in Gilgit Baltistan’s Skardu district, police said.
Skardu Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Raja Mirza Hasan said a family hailing from the Astore district was heading to Gilgit from Skardu when the landslide occurred.
He added that as the family fled their car for safety, they got caught in another landslide, which killed three women and a child.
SSP Hasan further said that officials could not reach the affected family immediately as the highway was blocked at four points due to landslides triggered by rainfall.
Rescue teams are trying to reach the site of the incident to recover the injured and the bodies, he added.
Punjab issues red alert
Punjab interim Information Minister Amir Mir announced the provincial government’s decision to issue a red alert in view of the arising flood situation.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore alongside the irrigation secretary and PDMA director general, Mir highlighted that water released by India had raised the water level of Pakistan’s rivers.
“Indian dams on the Ravi and Sutlej rivers are close to overflowing,” he said. “A flash flood wave of 22,000 cusecs is passing through Shahdara”.
Mir further said India could release water toward Pakistan anytime, adding that populations along the rivers would be evacuated when the flooding risk increased.
“In Lahore, there is a risk of the riverside population drowning like in 1988,” the interim information minister said. “If the rains continue, there is a risk of flooding in the Ravi and Sutlej rivers.”
He said caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi had directed the district administration to prepare a flood relief plan.
“Illegal settlements built near rivers will be evacuated in case of emergency,” Mir said. “An alternative plan to evacuate the population and shift it to a new place is ready.”
He requested the people to cooperate with the district administration, adding that the PDMA and other concerned authorities were on high alert in view of the flood situation.
3 die in Karachi in rain-related incidents
Meanwhile, three people, including a minor boy, died in rain-related incidents in Karachi.
The boy died while five others were injured when a wall of a house collapsed due to the impact of rains in Ittehad Town on Sunday evening, according to area Station House Officer Imdad Panhwar.
The officer said that the house was located in a hilly area near Khyber Chowk where the wall collapsed and fell down on six people, including five children.
They were taken to Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi where doctors pronounced seven-year-old Irfan Rehmat as dead.
In another rain-related incident, a young man was electrocuted in Surjani Town.
Police surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed said Shakeel Ahmed died of electric shock due to a rain-related incident in Rozi Goth near Daulat-i-Mustafa Masjid.
In the third incident, Danish Waleed, 32, died when he was electrocuted inside a company at Gulshan Chowk near Alam Kanta in Ittehad Town, according to a statement from an Edhi Foundation spokesperson.
Relief efforts under way as Balochistan also sees rainfall
Meanwhile, following rainfall in several areas of Balochistan, the PDMA provided relief items to the people in Basima and Patak areas of the province’s Washuk district.
Balochistan PDMA Director General (DG) Jahanzeb Khan told Dawn.com that the authority had started relief efforts immediately after receiving directives from Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and provincial Interior Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove.
He elaborated that the relief items contained food, tents, blankets, utensils and other items of need, adding that all the items were handed over to the deputy commissioner of the affected area.
The PDMA DG further said that the authority’s rescue centre was in “full contact” with the administration of the affected area.
DG Khan asserted that the authorities were assessing the situation in a timely manner and that the PDMA’s staff and machinery were ready if needed.
Separately, rainfall in Balochistan’s Kacchi district had also led to “very high” flood waters on the Pinjira Causeway, suspending traffic in both directions, National Highway Authority (NHA) General Manager Agha Inayat said.
He further said that NHA machinery was on stand-by along with the staff, and that traffic will be restored once the water level reduces.
He added that “dumping of material” has been started, which will be pushed towards the causeway once the water level recedes.
NDMA calls for preemptive measures amid heavy rainfall prediction
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) urged the relevant departments to ensure elaborate preemptive measures to manage land sliding, urban and flash flooding incidents that might occur due to heavy floods.
The NDMA said that according to the forecast of the meteorological department, there was a possibility that heavy to very heavy rain would continue in the country during the next 48 to 72 hours.
In KP, GB and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the risk of landslides, flash flooding and seasonal flooding would continue.
However, thunderstorms were expected in the South Punjab region of Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur, Balochistan’s Makran and Dera Bugti areas.
Similarly, there was also the risk of flash flooding in the districts of Balochistan, Loralai, Kalat, Naseerabad, Sibi and Makran whereas, there was a risk of rapid flow in rivers and urban flooding in low-lying areas.
The NDMA advisory underlined that in order to remedy the possible dangers, the public should be notified in advance and the safety measures should be publicised.
Moreover, systematic monitoring of traffic towards sensitive areas should be ensured and machinery should be made ready to deal with any kind of emergency, the authority ordered.
It also said that arrangements should be made for relocating people living in low-lying areas.
Separately, the Federal Flood Commission (FFC) said that currently, the Indus, Chenab, Ravi and Kabul rivers were flowing in low flood with a rising trend at Kalabagh-Chashma, Chashma-Taunsa, Marala-Khanki and Warsak-Nowshera reaches respectively.
According to the daily FFC report issued today, flash flooding of moderate to heavy intensity was expected in the nullahs of Balochistan (Loralai, Kalat, Sibbi, Makran and Nasirabad divisions) along with the hill torrents of DG Khan division during the next 24 hours.
Additional input from Abdullah Zehri and Imtiaz Ali Taj.