Flash floods, rains in Balochistan suspend Pak-Iran transport service

Published March 12, 2024
STAGNANT water blights Mulla Fazil Chowk, the business hub of Gwadar, even 14 days after torrential rains lashed the port city.—Dawn
STAGNANT water blights Mulla Fazil Chowk, the business hub of Gwadar, even 14 days after torrential rains lashed the port city.—Dawn

QUETTA: Flash floods, triggered by heavy rains in Chagai, Noshki and other districts of Balochistan, have blocked national highways and washed away railway tracks at many points, suspending transport services between Pakistan and Iran.

Officials said that both districts in western Balochistan, bordering Afghanistan, experienced heavy rain that began between Sunday night and Monday, lasting at least three hours with small intervals.

This led to urban flooding and damage to many villages, including collapsed mud houses and damaged boundary walls of human settlements.

“Floodwater entered houses along roads and low-lying areas, forcing residents to leave and seek safe places. At least three dozen mud houses collapsed in the flash flood, with the boundary walls of many houses damaged in Koi Khan Village in the Dalbandin area of Chagai district.

Noshki railway track washed away twice in 10 days; Quetta-Taftan highway traffic suspended for hours; dozens of mud houses collapsed in Dalbandin

Large numbers of people, along with their families, shifted to safe places on a self-help basis.“

The flash flood also washed away the railway track at least three points near Noshki railway station, suspending goods train services between Pakistan and Iran.

“It was the second time the railway line connecting Pakistan with Iran was washed away in the last 10 days,” railway officials in Noshki said.

Road traffic also remained suspended on the Quetta-Taftan highway for several hours in the Chatter area of Dalbandin, affecting numerous loaded trucks, passenger buses, and other vehicles.

After several hours of traffic suspension, the road was reopened in the evening.

Officials mentioned that neighbouring areas in Afghanistan were also experiencing heavy rains, contributing to floodwaters in Noshki and Chagai districts. All seasonal streams and rivers were carrying heavy floodwater, posing a threat to more areas, especially Dalbandin.

“We have started rescue and relief operations in the rain-affected areas in Chagai district,” said Abdul Wadood Sanjrani, chairman of the district council in Chagai, adding that many other villages were facing flood-like situations in the district.

The Met office reported 18 millimetres of rain in Dalbandin, while Quetta and Kalat received six millimetres on Monday.

In Quetta, the provincial capital, heavy rain in the morning, accompanied by thunderstorms and lightning, submerged many areas, leading to massive traffic jams. Urban flooding affected areas such as Double Road, Sariab, Zarghoona, Sabzal Roads, and surrounding areas.

The Ziarat, Musakhail, Sanjavi, Qila Saifullah, Khojak Pass, Khano­zai, and Kan Mehtarzai areas experienced snowfall after rain. Ziarat reported ongoing gas supply suspension for the last one week, causing difficulties for the residents.

According to reports, Koh-i-Suleman and other areas experienced heavy snowfall.

Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti directed the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), the district administration, and local bodies to remain alert for potential rains and snowfall in Quetta and other areas.

He instructed officials to take immediate steps to remove rainwater from populated areas, ensure readiness for communication restoration in case of shutdown, remove encroachments and obstructions from rivers, and mobilise municipal services to drain rainwater from low-lying areas.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2024

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