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Heavy rain kills four in Peshawar

September 07, 2012

PESHAWAR, Sept 6: Four children were killed and three injured after heavy rain damaged public property in Peshawar city early on Thursday.

Police said three children were killed and two others injured in Charkhel area after roof of their house caved in.

They said one child died and another suffered critical injuries after boundary wall of the Army Flats in cantonment area collapsed.

The rain flooded roads and streets, inundated low-lying residential areas, uprooted trees and damaged electric supply system exposing the government’s much publicised contingency plan for monsoon season.

Electric supply remained suspended in many parts of the city for long hours during and after rain.

Deep puddles were seen at the main cantonment railway station.

The rain badly affected cantonment areas and nearby localities with water and sewage entering Shafi Market shops and stockrooms and Sadder Bazaar shops causing huge losses to traders and retailers.

Strong winds and heavy rain pulled down boundary walls of residential quarters and defence installations, including airport.

Flooded roads caused severe traffic jam. Education institutions were also closed in many areas.

The Met Office said 88 millimetres rain was recorded at its airport station, while 39 millimetres rainfall was recorded in the city area.

Bad weather also hampered air traffic as two flights from Baacha Khan International Airport to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were delayed for three hours. Airport’s terminal manager Latiful Haq said rainwater entered the main terminal, while a portion of the boundary wall of the airport also collapsed.

Heavy rain began before dawn paralysing life in the city.

Rain inundated houses in Gulberg, Nothia, University Town, Tehkal, Gulbahar, Faqirabad and other low-lying localities. Budhni Nullah again flooded which blocked main road between Peshawar and Charsadda.

There was a traffic jam on the University Road, Bara Road, the Mall, Khyber Road and main CT Road, Charsadda Road and Rehman Baba Intersection because of rain water and fallen trees.

Spokesman for Peshawar Electric Supply Company Shaukat Afzal said 45 of the 90 feeders were out of order in the provincial capital. He said dead and green trees had fallen on cables damaging transmission lines.

Despite emergency-like situation, delayed arrival of the staff of cantonment board and town municipal administrations couldn’t remove fallen trees from the roads causing traffic jams.

Contingency plane was chalked out for monsoon season and all line departments were issued directives to take all precautionary measures to cope with calamity.

Officials said Rs110 million was already released to the district governments for relief activities. City district government had been allocated Rs4 million.

The emergency operation centre of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority couldn’t ascertain level of the damages to public life and property.

“We have asked the revenue staff to compile data but our request hasn’t found receptive ears,” an official at the centre said.

An official said jobs of all agencies, including PDMA, which had to play lead role in disaster, had been clearly described in the contingency plan, but the ground realities showed a dismal picture as officials in all departments shirked defined responsibilities and instead tried to pass the buck.Meanwhile, downpour played havoc with the Peshawar Press Club net café and canteen after water entered the basement of the building.

According to press club president Saiful Islam Saifi, two dozen computers with TV monitors and furniture were destroyed by rainwater.

“At least 50 journalists, including photojournalists, used the Internet café daily but now, they are in trouble,” he said.

Mr Saifi said the Peshawar Development Authority sent in a vehicle to drain rainwater but it developed a fault leaving the work halfway.

The press club employees said as they came in the morning the net café was fully under rainwater. They said due to the uneven level of the road in front of the press club the rain water was always accumulated causing difficulties in movement of the people.

“We have time and again informed the relevant officials to open the chocked sewerage line but to no avail,” they complained and stressed the need that the damaged portion of the road outside press club should be repaired to minimise the problems.

A group of journalists, including Rehmatullah Khan, Saleem Khan and Sajjad Khan, said they had no offices in Peshawar and they depended on the press club’s facilities, especially internet, but after the press club café had been flooded, they were in distress.

They demanded that the government provide laptops to journalists on easy installments so that they could perform duty easily.