A devastating cloudburst in Islamabad claimed the lives of a woman and her son as the rainwater deluged different sectors of the federal capital on Wednesday.
The low-lying areas of Sectors D-12, E-11, Rawal Dam Chowk, Korang Nullah, Margalla Road near Saidpur, Seventh and Ninth Avenue were inundated due to overnight torrential rains.
The wife of Kashif Yaseen and his seven-year-old son Mustafa died after water accumulated in the basement of a house in Sector E-11/2.
Islamabad Commissioner Aamir Ali Ahmed had directed the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), Capital Development Authority (CDA) and MPO department to start a rescue operation at the earliest when the disaster occurred.
Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Deputy Commissioner (DC) Hamza Shafqaat and assistant commissioners (ACs) visited different areas of the federal capital to monitor the progress of the operations.
The district administration cleared all areas of water in two hours.
The accumulated rainwater was also drained from Bani Gala, Prime Minister Route in Rural Zone along with other roads in the federal capital and traffic was restored in a couple of hours.
Moreover, Shafqaat held a presser at the CDA headquarters along with other officials on Wednesday in light of the situation. He said that he had informed the people in the morning to remain indoors for another two hours, adding that the instructions were given to ensure drainage from low-lying areas at the earliest.
Owing to timely action, DC said that the working class did not face traffic jams in the city on a working day. He added that the district teams started the operation around 8:30 am and finished it by 10:30 am, clearing all areas.
Shafqaat further maintained that the power supply and all other facilities in the district were being provided without interruption. He informed that all district departments were directed to remain alert during the monsoon season to cope with the urban flooding situation.
The DC stated that two vehicles that were swept away in Sector E-11 due to flooding have been recovered by the administration during the operation as well. He told that the spillways of Rawal Dam were being opened gradually while the dwellers along Korang and Soan rivers have been warned to stay away from the banks.
Shafqaat said that Section 144 has been imposed on swimming in the dam and announcements have been done from the mosques in this regard.
Regarding the flooding at Sector E-11, the DC said that it occurred due to a storm drain overflowing there. He said that two storm drains coincide in Sector E-11, adding that a weak wall and road were built over the drains that collapsed and the water flowed into the houses.
Shafqaat maintained that the water also entered houses in France Colony where the rescue teams took timely action and drained it out.
Moreover, CDA Finance Member Rana Shakeel Asghar said that the authority had made prior arrangements for the monsoon rains. He added that the cleaning of all storm drains was under way for the past six months. The official added that sanitation work was in progress as well.
The overall situation was fine despite the 130 mm rain except for two private housing societies in the capital, the finance member maintained.
Asghar announced that the authority would take action against the private housing society for building a road over the drain. It is the job of the private societies to make complete arrangements in the areas they have developed, he added.
The official further stated that the private housing schemes will be fined and legal action would be taken against them for the harm caused to dwellers.
He said the anti-encroachment drive was underway for the past three months, adding that the storm drains have a capacity while obstructions are removed when the water level rises.
Meanwhile, CDA Civic Management DG Sindhu said that they received 21 complaints of water accumulation in basements that have been cleared.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2021.
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