LAHORE: Tuesday’s rain left a trail of destruction as seven members of a family, including four children, died when the roof of their house collapsed late at night.
The victims were asleep in their double-storey home when its roof caved in and they were buried under the debris. Locals called rescue teams which reached the spot to start an operation.
The teams recovered the bodies buried under the debris. The victims were identified as Kamran, his wife Kausar and their children Muqaddas, Alishba, Bisma, Abdullah and Ubaidullah.
The bodies were handed over to the heirs after completing legal formalities. The incident created panic in the locality as a large number of people from nearby areas gathered at the site of the accident.
Heavy rains wreaked havoc in the city and several tragic incidents were reported from different parts of the metropolis. On Tuesday, a minor died while 11 were injured in the provincial capital due to rain-related accidents. At least 15 incidents of roof collapses, wall collapses, road accidents and fire were reported on Tuesday.
At least 13 rain-related incidents, which claimed four lives and left 21 injured, have been reported in the city over the last one month (June 15 to July 15).
Sensing the gravity of the situation, Rescue 1122 Director General Rizwan Naseer activated the “red” code.
Naseer ordered district emergency officers (DEOs) to ensure prompt responses to any incident. He also requested citizens to take precautionary measures and keep away from old and dilapidated buildings.
After Tuesday’s rain exposed the shortcomings and unpreparedness of government departments, life slowly waded back to normal in the swamped metropolis.
In various areas of the provincial capital, especially low-lying areas and public parks, the local administration failed to remove stagnant rainwater even by Wednesday. Citizens complained that hardly any government official was available in the field to disperse the rainwater.
A citizen, Asghar Ali, appreciated Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar’s gesture of helping women stranded in rainwater, but said that the current rulers also seemed hungry for publicity; much like their predecessors.
“They always try to find a photo opportunity to gain easy popularity,” he said. Ali clarified that he did not blame the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for all the issues of the country, but demanded an update of their achievements over the past year, besides increasing the miseries of the common man.
He highlighted that the whole city was inundated by rainwater and the state machinery was busy pampering the chief minister.
“Earlier, we always criticised former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif for showing off. Now PTI leaders are following in his footsteps,” he said. The resident said he would appreciate it more if the government took concrete measures to solve the ponding issue permanently.
“It would be great if it assures Lahorites that they will not suffer these miseries in the next monsoon season,” he said.
The metrological office has forecast hot and humid weather after a heavy rain spell in the provincial capital. The highest temperature in the city was recorded as 31 Celsius whereas the minimum temperature was 26 Celsius.
The humidity level was observed at about 70%. Rain, thundershower and windstorm, with isolated heavy falls, are expected at scattered places in Hazara, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Lahore divisions, Islamabad and Kashmir. Similar conditions are expected in Malakand, Peshawar, Kohat, Mardan, Bannu, Zhob, Multan and Sahiwal divisions on Thursday. Hot and humid weather is expected elsewhere in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2019.