LAHORE: The Flood Warning Centre (FWC) has issued an urgent alert as the River Sutlej at Ganda Singhwala has a high flood situation.

According to FWC’s report on Friday, the river’s water levels have surged significantly and are expected to remain at this critical state.

According to a flood alert report, 280,000 cusecs water was passing through Harike Headworks and below Ferozepur Headworks and causing high flood in River Sutlej at 6pm on Friday.

Furthermore, the River Sutlej at Sulemanki Headworks is anticipated to touch a high to very high flood level starting from 6am on Saturday. Similarly, the Islam Headworks is expected to witness a high flood level from Aug 21 onwards.

To ensure comprehensive preparedness and effective response, all district disaster management and assistance system (DDMAS) field formations have been told to maintain round-the-clock staffing in district emergency operations centres (DEOCS). This coordination is vital for sharing real-time information with relevant departments, provincial and national authorities.

The DDMAS will generate regular situation reports to capture significant incidents and developments as they unfold. Rescue 1122, the disaster response force, will be on high alert, bolstering its emergency response personnel and equipment in anticipation of the forecasted period.

The DDMAS has been told to employ calls and SMS, and make announcements in the mosques to ensure timely transmission of weather forecasts, adviseries, and alerts to communities residing in vulnerable, low-lying areas. Measures, such as securing backup generators at water pumping stations and pre-placement of dewatering pumps, should be arranged to address urban flooding threats in cities.

The DDMAS must restrict seasonal nullah crossings under the guidance of local administrations. Evacuation plans for at-risk communities need to be devised and updated, with timely evacuations executed in accordance with standard operating procedures outlined in district disaster management plans.

Relief camps should be established at safe locations, providing essential amenities such as electricity, food, drinking water, and sanitary facilities.

In light of the high flood situation in the River Sutlej, the PDMA has issued a letter to deputy commissioners of districts along the Sutlej to broadcast announcements through mosques in rural areas adjoining rivers and canals to raise awareness.

The administrations have been instructed to announce on public address systems of mosques regarding the flood situation to inform local communities, ensuring effective dissemination of information at the grassroots level.

The PDMA says continuous reinforcement is being provided to discourage crossing rivers and nullahs and there was a need to limit the movement of snakes and other dangerous animals to ensure public safety.

It urged the public to cooperate with the administration to prevent potential human and property losses.

Meanwhile, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) said on Thursday country’s major reservoirs – Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma – have been filled to maximum conservation level with a total storage of 13.443 MAF. “The filling of all the three major storages on the same date on Thursday was a historical event.”

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2023

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