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

IMF’s unease
Updated 24 May, 2024

IMF’s unease

It is clear that the next phase of economic stabilisation will be very tough for most of the population.
Belated recognition
24 May, 2024

Belated recognition

WITH Wednesday’s announcement by three European states that they intend to recognise Palestine as a state later...
App for GBV survivors
24 May, 2024

App for GBV survivors

GENDER-based violence is caught between two worlds: one sees it as a crime, the other as ‘convention’. The ...
Energy inflation
Updated 23 May, 2024

Energy inflation

The widening gap between the haves and have-nots is already tearing apart Pakistan’s social fabric.
Culture of violence
23 May, 2024

Culture of violence

WHILE political differences are part of the democratic process, there can be no justification for such disagreements...
Flooding threats
23 May, 2024

Flooding threats

WITH temperatures in GB and KP forecasted to be four to six degrees higher than normal this week, the threat of...