Rain continues to batter Balochistan with Sindh next in its path

Published April 17, 2024
Torrential rainfall continued to wreak havoc in Balochistan on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
Torrential rainfall continued to wreak havoc in Balochistan on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

As torrential rainfall continued to wreak havoc in Balochistan on Wednesday, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) predicted downpours in parts of Sindh — including Karachi — as well for the next three days.

Contin­uous rains accompanied by thunderstorms have lashed several parts of the country over the past few days, with landslides and floods reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Ten more people, including nine children, were killed on Tuesday in various parts of KP in the aftermath of the torrential rains as the provincial government imposed an emergency in 13 districts for the provision of relief and restoration of damaged communication networks and water supply.

In a weather outlook issued today, the PMD forecast thunderstorms and rainfall in the Karachi division and other parts of Sindh from today (Wednesday) till April 19.

It further said a “westerly wave” was affecting Balochistan, which has been reeling from floods following a three-day spell of torrential rainfall.

According to Balochistan government spokesperson Shahid Rind, relevant departments have been instructed to take safety measures to deal with the “extraordinary situation” created by the rains.

“Balochistan Chief Minister [Sarfraz Bugti] has directed various commissioners and deputy commissioners (DCs) to monitor the situation,” Rind said.

Noting that initial reports of damage had been received, he said that a total of eight people had died and nine had been injured till now across the province in incidents of lightning and roof collapses.

The spokesperson added that around 40 houses had been damaged as of yet due to flash floods.

Rind said that the torrential rains had also caused damage to link roads, highlighting that work was under way to restore means of communication in the affected districts. Surveys were also being conducted in those areas to determine the losses.

According to Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Director General (DG) Jahanzeb Khan, de-watering pumps had been delivered to Gwadar and relief efforts were also under way in Pasni.

The PDMA DG highlighted that the current weather system could affect Makran the most, adding that “necessary items” had been provided to the division.

Lamenting that there were encroachments on “45 feet of a 50-feet nullah”, Jahanzeb said that rainwater was being drained from such nullahs.

PDMA spokesperson Younus Mengal also confirmed that the authority’s teams and the civil administration were carrying out aid efforts in the rain0hit areas. He said that the losses would be determined after relief and rescue operations.

Gwadar DC Aurangzeb Badini told Dawn.com that the local authorities and teams of the Gwadar Port Authority and the PDMA had initiated relief works and were moving residents from dilapidated houses to safer locations.

Steps were also being taken by the district administration and the Balochistan Communication and Works Department to reopen land routes in village areas, the DC said. However, Badini added, the spell of rain was continuing, which could cause a delay in restoration efforts.

Meanwhile, Pishin DC Jumma Dad Mandokhail said levies and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) teams rescued residents of Pishin’s Hamidabad, where around 15 houses had collapsed owing to heavy rainfall.

Floodwater was being diverted to the Khushdil Khan Dam and Manzaki drain, the DC said, noting that this would keep Hamidabad, Dab and adjacent areas safe as well as replenish the dam’s supply. He added that 80 per cent of the task has been completed.

DC Mandokhail further said that the rains had also affected the Dab Khanzai bridge, which would be repaired once the floodwater was removed.

In Panjgur, the district administration was engaged in rescue activities, with machinery being used to open sewerage leading to Rakhshaan nullah, according to DC Mumtaz Khetran. “Relief teams of municipal committee and roads department are working [and] accumulated rainwater is being cleared from city areas,” he said.

Harnai DC Javed Domki said floods had severely damaged national highways connecting Harnai to Quetta and Punjab.

However, traffic has been restored for smaller vehicles on the Harnai-Punjab highway between Harnai and Sabjavi, while the district administration was working to restore the highways.

Chagai Additional DC Attaullah Baloch said that aid items had been delivered to more than 500 families in the district. He noted that according to a survey, which was still ongoing, more than 800 families had been affected by the rains till now.

“Tents and water coolers have been distributed in Chagai, Qilla Kurd and Posti,” Baloch said, emphasising that the affectees needed “dry food items” the most.

According to the Balochistan PDMA, rain is expected from the night of April 16-19 in various districts, including Gwadar, Kech, Panjgur, Lasbela, Hub, Khuzdar, Surab and Kalat.

Other potentially affected areas include Awaran, Kharan, Washuk, Mastung, Naseerabad, Noshki, Chagai, Quetta, Pishin, Harnai, Loralai, Qila Saifullah, Shirani, Zhob, Ziarat, Duki, Kohlu, Dera Bugti and Jhal Magsi, the PDMA said.

Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti and had a detailed discussion on various issues of the province, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The federal government stands with the provincial government for the rehabilitation of rain-affected people,” he was quoted as saying by the statement, adding that the province’s development and prosperity were the government’s first priority.

Rain expected in Karachi, parts of Sindh

In Sindh, thundershowers had hit Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Dadu, Shaheed Benazirabad and some other districts on Saturday night and Sunday, causing slush and slime in the low-lying areas and crippling normal life to some extent.

Six people had died in two rain-related traffic accidents as Karachi and its outskirts received light to moderate showers on Sunday.

According to the PMD, under the influence of a westerly wave, “thunderstorm/rain of light to moderate intensity with isolated heavy falls” were likely in Jamshoro, Dadu, Naushahro Feroze, Sanghar, Hyderabad, Mitiari, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Kashmore, Qambar-Shahdadkot, Larkana, Sukkur, Ghotki districts and Karachi division from today to April 19 morning.

In a three-day weather forecast for the Karachi division, the Met Office said today was expected to be a “hot day becoming cloudy with chances of light rain during night”.

Thursday was expected to be cloudy with chances of “intermittent thunderstorm/rain of moderate intensity with isolated heavy falls”. The weather was expected to be “fair/partly cloudy” on Friday.

Speaking to Geo News, Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfraz said: “The rain predicted in Karachi and Sindh is less intense than in Balochistan.”

He further said that there were “chances of light rain tonight”.

Talking about Sindh, Sarfraz said Hyderabad, Mirphurkhas and Nawabshah were among the areas expected to receive light rain, adding that upper Sindh “might see moderate rain with some heavy spells”.

He predicted the system would depart Sindh by tomorrow (Thursday) night, moving elsewhere across the country.

Talking about Balochistan, he said that the province was experiencing intense rainfall along with flash floods.

“There is a very strong weather system affecting Balochistan right now. We are seeing heavy rain and are expecting it to also hit Makran, Chagai and Noshki districts over the next three days,” he said.

“This system will remain in Balochistan until April 19, before moving to Quetta and then into Punjab and Azad Kashmir,” the chief meteorologist said.

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