PESHAWAR: Volunteers rescue families from submerged streets in Sardar Colony after rainwater inundated the area, on Monday.—PPI
PESHAWAR: Volunteers rescue families from submerged streets in Sardar Colony after rainwater inundated the area, on Monday.—PPI

QUETTA / PESHAWAR: While the Balochistan government declared a rain and flood emergency in 25 districts, 18 more people were killed and several others injured in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the downpour continued to lash several parts of the province for the third consecutive day on Monday.

Lightning strikes and heavy rains have killed over 55 persons in KP, Balochistan and Punjab since Friday.

In KP, five persons were killed in Lower Dir, four in Khyber, two each in Swat and Dera Ismail Khan and one each in Manshera, Battagram, Mohmand, Charsadda and Bajaur districts on Monday. Most people died in roof collapse incidents following heavy rains accompanied by thunderstorms.

The continuous rains and floods also resulted in the closure of roads in several districts of the province.

Death toll in rain-related incidents rises to 55; more downpours expected until 21st

Heavy rains in the upper parts of the province also caused medium-to-high level flood in Kabul, Panjkora and Swat rivers.

The Met department has issued a high flood warning for the areas of Nowshera district falling on the banks of Kabul river and its tributaries over the next 48 hours. It forecast more rains as a strong westerly wave is likely to enter the upper parts of the country on Tuesday night and said that it may result in rain/thunderstorms with occasional gaps from April 17 to 21 in several districts of the province.

On Monday, Upper and Lower Chitral district also received a rare heavy snowfall.

Rain, flood emergency

Residents gather at the site of a bridge that was washed away by flood waters in Pishin district.—AFP / PPI
Residents gather at the site of a bridge that was washed away by flood waters in Pishin district.—AFP / PPI

The Balochistan government on Monday declared a rain and urban flood emergency in at least 25 districts of the province which have been badly affected by heavy rains and thunderstorms, killing and injuring several people.

Leaves of staff in the public departments concerned have been cancelled for launching rescue operations and extending other services to the flood-stricken people in the affected districts.

“The education department has extended Eid holidays for another two days in the districts which are continuously receiving heavy rains,” Shahid Rind, a spokesman for the Balochistan government said at a press conference in Quetta.

He said a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti reviewed the prevailing situation following a new spell of heavy rains. Commissioners and PDMA officials attended the meeting online.

CM’s Principal Secretary Imran Zarkoon and the PDMA director general briefed the meeting on the overall situation that occurred due to heavy rains in the province.

CM Bugti expressed his annoyance over public complaints about the blocking of sewerage system and directed the field officers to take precautionary measures to deal with any emergency situation in the rain-affected areas.

Meanwhile, Quetta Division Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat, while speaking at a separate press conference along with PDMA Director General Jahanzeb Khan, said Quetta had received 156mm rain over the last three days.

While locals wade through stagnant water in a street in Hazarganji area of Quetta on Monday. Overnight downpour has flooded almost all roads of the provincial capital.—AFP / PPI
While locals wade through stagnant water in a street in Hazarganji area of Quetta on Monday. Overnight downpour has flooded almost all roads of the provincial capital.—AFP / PPI

He said that over 200 employees of the departments concerned are being sacked for negligence in performing their duties during heavy rains. He said the main reason for rain damage was encroachment on 82 nullahs in and around the provincial capital that blocked the flow of rain water coming from roads and human settlements.

“The rain nullahs were 40 feet wide when constructed, but now they remained just 20 feet due to encroachment,” Mr Shafqaat said, adding that the Quetta Metropolitan Corporation and PDMA had launched an anti-encroachment drive to bring the size of these nullahs to their original size.

Routine life affected

Though the weather remained dry in Quetta and there was no rain on Monday, the overnight downpour ba­­dly affected the normal life as many downstream areas and roads of the city remained under floodwater.

The overnight rain flooded all main roads of Quetta and disrupted traffic causing difficulties to the people. The floodwater submerged even footpaths restricting the movement of pedestrians.

The entire city was presenting the view of a river as rain water accumulated due to blocking of the sewerage system and rain nullahs. Two to three feet of rainwater was flowing on main Jinnah Road, Kandahari Bazaar, Liaquat Road, Zarghoon Road and even in the red zone area.

Hanna Valley and Nawan Killi areas were badly affected as flash flood entered houses, damaging mud houses and washing away link roads.

Several mud houses were damaged and traffic affected in Panjgur, Dalbandin, Zhob, Sherani, Ziarat, Musakhail and Barkhan areas.

However, no human loss was repo­rted from any area of the province.

The Met Office said another spell of heavy rains accompanied by thunderstorms is expected from April 17 in Gwadar, Washuk, Kach, Panjgur and Chagai areas.

NDMA to coordinate with provinces

The prime minister expressing con­dolences for the lives lost, asked the National Disas­ter Management Au­­thority chairman to coordinate with provinces and provin­cial disaster management authorities to dispatch relief items to affected areas.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...
Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...