Punjab on high alert as India releases floodwater in Ravi

Authorities mull evacuations in DG Khan; 12 drown after dam bursts in Balochistan


Asif Mehmood August 15, 2022
Environmental and social issues emerged due to river diversion from Muzaffarabad after the commissioning of Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project in 2018. PHOTO: file

LAHORE:

Authorities were on alert on Monday as India released another gush of floodwater in the Pakistani rivers, while the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) warned that the country was expected to receive “above average rainfall” during the ongoing monsoon season.

Officials from the Indus Water Commission of India informed their Pakistani counterparts that 170,000 cusecs water had been released into the Ravi after opening the spillway at the Ujh Barage at 5:30 pm. Pakistani officials said that the water was expected to enter the country by Monday midnight.

The Ujh Barrage over the Ujh river – a tributary of the Ravi river that flows through the Kathua district – is located at Jasrota village in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). The water reaches Pakistan via Jassar village in the Narowal district of Punjab.

This is the second time India released floodwater into the Pakistani rivers this season. Earlier, the water was released into the Chenab river. As per the Indus Water accord, India was required to inform Pakistan in advance about the releases.

The Flood Forecasting Division (FFD) and the Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) confirmed that the water released by India in the Ravi river would enter Pakistan on the night between Monday and Tuesday (today), raising the flows at Jassar to 70,000-100,000 cusecs.

According to the FFD, there was a risk of moderate to high flood in the Ravi because of which Narowal, Lahore, Sheikhupura, Okara and other districts might be affected by floods. The PDMA also issued a flood warning in the Ravi that might cause flooding in the rivers at Gujranwala, Lahore and Multan.

Read: Pakistan concerned at Indian water release

The country had received “above normal” rainfall during the pre-monsoon and the ongoing monsoon season, leading to floods, flash floods and urban flooding in different parts of the country. The wet spell still continued, and the water level in the rivers was continuously rising.

The FFD said in its daily report that flash flooding was expected in the tributaries of Kabul and Indus rivers during the next 48 hours, while severe flash flooding because of hill torrents was also expected in the Dera Ghazi Khan division and rivers and streams in Balochistan between August 16 and 19.

At present, the FFD said the Indus was flowing in “medium flood” at Taunsa and in “low flood” at Guddu, while all other main rivers of the Indus river system – Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej – were discharging normal flows.

Following the flood warning by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the Punjab government started considering the evacuation of residents from vulnerable areas of Dera Ghazi Khan division to protect their lives and properties.

The authorities in Islamabad said that the capital’s administration had put the flood monitoring camps on alert in the wake of more rains predicted by the PMD. They added that alert had been issued due to high-water level in the Rawal dam amid torrential rains.

The PMD also forecast heavy rains in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta and Badin during the next 24 hours, and rain with wind and thundershower in Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazirabad, and Dadu districts.

The devastating monsoon rains wreaked havoc in several parts of the country leading to massive loss of lives and properties. The impact of rains and the consequent floods is severest in Balochistan, where more people died on Monday.

(WITH INPUT FROM APP)

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