Lightning, rains kill 24 in Punjab, Balochistan, KP

Published April 14, 2024
Rainfall takes place in Balochistan on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
Rainfall takes place in Balochistan on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

LAHORE / QUETTA / PESHAWAR: Lightning strikes and rain-related incidents left 24 people dead and injured several others in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as downpour continued to lash the three provinces for a second day on Saturday.

Heavy rains damaged highways, roads and houses, disrupting traffic and forcing people to move to safe places.

In Punjab, 17 people, including children, died and five fell unconscious in lightning strikes in six districts of south Punjab.

The districts affected are Bahawal­pur, Bahawalnagar, Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur and Lodhran.

Six people were killed due to lightning strikes in the Rahim Yar Khan district. Among them, a husband and wife lost their lives instantly while harvesting wheat in Basti Khokhran. They were identified as Hafeez, 45, and Kulsoom, 40.

Damage highways, roads and houses, disrupt traffic; people in Punjab, Balochistan advised against unnecessary travel

Two siblings, aged nine and seven, were killed by the sudden bolt of lightning in Basti Kalhora and a man was killed in Thal Hassan, according to rescue officials, while labourer Muham­mad Hassan Mohana, harvesting wheat in his fields at Janpur, also died.

In Bahawalpur, three people lost their lives and two got injured. Lightning struck multiple locations, resulting in the death of a woman and injuries to two others in Ahmedpur East. Shaheena Bibi, 22, died, while 25-year-old Iqra Bibi and 70-year-old Karim Bakhsh were reportedly injured. The victims were working in the fields.

In Yazman, Rescue 1122 made efforts to rescue a child Darshan Ram, but he could not survive.

Moreover, 12-year-old Abdul Majeed also died after being hit by lightning in Cholistan. He was working in the fields with his father and uncles.

A man, a baby girl and a cow were also killed in the Jatoi area, Muzaffar­garh, while a child died and two people were injured in Sheher Sultan.

Abdul Ghaffar, 35; Muhammad Azhar, 23; and Bashir Ahmad, 65; lost their lives in Lodhran, Seven-year-old Muhammad Ahmed and Mansab Ali and Muhammad Nasir, 35, lost their lives in Bahawalnagar, while Sajida Bibi, 30, and two-year-old Muhammad Hassan from Bahawal­nagar were injured. Ghulam Sarwar, 20, lost his life in Rajanpur.

A Provincial Disaster Management Authority spokesperson said death toll from the lightning strikes in Punjab rose to 17. PDMA Director General (DG) Irfan Ali Kathia directed the deputy commissioners concerned to provide best medical aid to the injured.

He said financial support will be given to the families of the deceased. He requested the public to stay in safe places during inclement weather and avoid unnecessary travel.

Meanwhile, Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz, while talking to the media, said the combination of sea breezes with cold winds had increased the chances of tornadoes and lightning.

Balochistan

In Balochistan, the death toll from lightning and rain-related incidents rose to eight after five more people were killed in Chaman and Dera Bugti areas on Saturday.

Officials said three people were killed when lightning struck a village in Chaman. “Lightning hit a house in Chaman where three people lost their lives as the area received heavy rain with thunderstorms. Many mud houses were damaged or collapsed due to flash floods coming from the mountains after the heavy rain.

The locals shifted the bodies to a nearby hospital where doctors confirmed their death,“ they added.

Two other people were killed by lightning in the Loop area of Dera Bugti.

According to reports, Dera Bugti and Kohlu also received heavy rain that caused a flood-like situation in many areas. Several mud houses were damaged while seasonal streams and rivers were carrying heavy floodwater and around 25 districts of Balochistan were affected by torrential rains with thunderstorms.

Continued downpour caused urban flooding in Quetta and water entered many houses in low-lying areas on the outskirts of the provincial capital, forcing the residents to move to safer places.

District officials have advised people to avoid unnecessary journeys as landslides are expected due to heavy rain, especially on Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan Highway and Bolan Pass.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

In KP, two persons were killed and 10 others injured in rain-related incidents in Lower and Upper Chitral districts as heavy rain continued to lash large parts of the province on Saturday.

Several roads connecting the two districts were damaged and eight houses collapsed due to heavy rain and landslides. Similarly, rain resulted in the closure of Bahrain-Kalam Road.

Light rain likely in Karachi

According to a Met Office, weather is expected to be mainly cloudy with chances of light rain and isolated thunderstorms in Karachi today. “Weather is expected to be largely cloudy on Monday with maximum temperature ranging between 32-34 degrees Celsius,” the advisory said.

Imran Gabol in Lahore, Saleem Shahid in Quetta, Irfanul Haq in Rahim Yar Khan, Ejaz Mahmood in Bahawalnagar, Tahseen Raza in Muzaffargarh, Majeed Gill in Bahawalpur, Manzoor Ali in Peshawar and Faiza Ilyas in Karachi contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2024

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