Streams and drains were overflowing and roads resembled rivers after heavy downpour hit the twin cities on Monday. A young boy drowned in a stream near Adiala Road. Haroon Raja, 8, was walking home from school when he fell from a bridge over Jhawra stream at about 1:30pm. His body was recovered by local people.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Babar Ali, a witness, said Haroon, a resident of Khatana locality, fell from the bridge near Christian Colony. He said other locals saw the body of the boy in a school uniform and followed it downstream for almost 300 metres before they managed to tow it in.
The father of the boy, Raja Khurshid, said he did not inform Rescue 1122 or the police as the area residents retrieved the body.
The Monday’s rain exposed tall claims of the civic agencies and district government. The civic bodies had claimed that all drains of the city have been cleared of silt and solid waste and there is no danger of flood during this monsoon. However rainwater choked the entire drainage system.
The rain, which continued intermittently for most of the day, inundated low-lying areas in Nadeem Colony, Javaid Colony, Dhok Chiraghdin and Millat Colony, Muslim Town, Kuri Road, Chira road, Tench Bhatta, People’s Colony, Ghausia intersection, Jan Colony, Sher Zaman Colony, Misrial Road, PIA Colony, Habib Colony, Gwalmandi, Daryabad, Mareer intersection, Afshan Colony, Chamanzar Colony, Arya Mohallah, Sadiqabad, Rahimabad, Ratta Amral, Dhok Najju, Bohar Bazaar, Banni Chowk, Rehmatabad, Akhtarabad, Amarpura, Dhok Elahi Bakhsh.
The residents faced great difficulties because rainwater inundated streets and gushed into their houses. The rain also disrupted the power supply in different parts of the city. Residents were seen using buckets to get water out of their homes to protect household items.
“We found it difficult to cope with the rainwater as early morning torrential rains forced us to wake up and be vigilant,” said Chaudhry Waseem, who lives in Nadeem Colony.
Separately the district managers rang alarm bells at about 4pm when the water touched 11 feet (3.35 meters) level at Katarian and 12 feet (3.6 meters) at Gunjmandi in the heart of the city.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Water and Sanitation Agency spokesperson Umer Farooq said the alarm were rung to alert people living on the banks of the Leh, but fortunately the water did not hit the danger mark of 15 feet (4.57 meters).
In Islamabad, rainwater inundated roads and caused massive traffic jams, leading to hours-long waits for commuters. The situation was aggravated by a number of fender-benders in the traffic jams and stalled vehicular traffic on Kashmir Highway and other points in the city. A few vehicles that had been in bad accidents were seen along major highways and roads in the twin cities.
The Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) spokesperson Shams Gill said with heavy rains, come traffic problems, but added that traffic sergeants had been deputed on every major road to try to ease the flow of vehicles and that numerous accidents and broken-down cars had worsened the situation.
A number of overturned cars and remnants of grisly car accidents were seen from the Kallar Kahar region up to Islamabad, with the cargo of an overturned cement-laden truck blocking the motorway near the Salt range for a few minutes. However, Motorway police officials quickly managed to open a lane for traffic and continued clearing the rest of the spilt cement before the rain came down.
Meteorological Department Director General Arif Mehmood said that 116mm rain was recorded at Zero Point and 123mm at Pirwadhai, adding that the spell should end overnight. Rescue 1122 said 60mm of rain was recorded at Saidpur, 48mm at Golra.
Downpour in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) brought life to a standstill on Monday. People mostly stayed indoors as water leaked into houses and transport remained suspended in many areas due to the bad weather. In Gilgit, continuous rain choked the sewerage system and flooded roads, streets and footpaths. “I don’t think rains in Gilgit are a blessing in any way,” said Altaf Hussain, a shopkeeper in the main market, where accumulated water on roads often makes its way into the shops, especially when vehicles pass by.
The threat of landslides led to the suspension of traffic within the region and between G-B-Rawalpindi. We will not risk running vehicles in the evening,” said a transporter who operates vehicles in Astore valley.
With additional reporting from Vaqas Asghar in Islamabad and Shabbir Mir in Gilgit
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2012.