Weather anomalies: Girl killed, 19 injured as thunderstorm in Batkhela

Rain disrupts preparations for Qaqlasht festival in Chitral

Our Correspondent April 22, 2016

BATKHELA: A girl was killed and 19 others were injured late Thursday night in incidents related to rain in Batkhela. Initial official reports put the figure at eight from various areas of Malakand Division.

Eight-year-old Saima died when the roof of her house collapsed in a thunderstorm; 19 other individuals were injured in Ala Dhand Dherai, Thana, Tota Khan and Mekh Band areas. Lightning struck a shop, ruining whatever was inside. Losses worth Rs1.5 million were reported by the owner of the shop, Zahid.

The thunderstorm also uprooted signage and trees which blocked roads and damaged houses.

However, officials of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority said eight people from separate areas of Malakand Divison were injured during the storm. They added the injuries were of a minor nature, therefore, the victims were discharged from the hospital after basic first-aid.

“The injuries occurred due to roofs being blown away by gusty winds and also because of trees which fell in the storm,” an official of PDMA emergency operation centre said.

Festivities interrupted

In Chitral, heavy rain disrupted preparations for Jashan-e-Qaqlasht. Both visitors and locals were disappointed over the management for not keeping in view weather forecasts before organising the festival. Jashan-e-Qaqlasht was scheduled to take place on April 21 but the downpour ruined the venue.

Chitral Deputy Commissioner Osama Warraich and the district police officer visited the site during the rain and ordered visitors to leave and go indoors to protect themselves from the cold which followed the rain.

However, a dispute ensued because of which the management of the festival was handed over to the district administration. It then commenced under the supervision of the assistant commissioner of Mastuj.

(*With additional input from our correspondent in Chitral and Peshawar)

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd,  2016.


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