Lightning strikes claim 25 lives in Punjab, Balochistan

17 individuals died in Punjab while eight perished in Balochistan, according to officials

Our Correspondent April 13, 2024


Fatal lightning bolts on Saturday claimed at least 25 lives in different areas of Punjab and Balochistan, with spring showers also lashing various districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), flooding their low-lying areas.

According to Punjab's Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), lightning incidents mostly occurred in Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Lodhran, Bahawalpur, and Bahawalnagar districts.

Four individuals lost their lives in lightning strikes, with two fatalities reported in both Chaman and Sorab areas of Balochistan. Additionally, one person was killed in each of the following districts: Qila Abdullah, Muslim Bagh, Pishin, and Dera Bugti.

An official statement revealed that Punjab PDMA Director General Irfan Ali had called deputy commissioners of various districts and directed them to ensure the provision of medical treatment to people affected by rain-related incidents.

He urged immediate drainage of water from low-lying areas and utilizing all available resources and machinery for water drainage. The PDMA advised people to stay in safe places and avoid unnecessary travel during rain.

Most cities in Punjab, including its provincial capital Lahore, experienced light rain and drizzling, leading to pleasant weather and a decrease in the intensity of heat.

Meanwhile, flash floods unleashed by heavy rainfall in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan wreaked havoc across the province on Saturday.

Floods washed away the remains of a damaged bridge in the Chashma Achozai area of Quetta, causing the suspension of traffic. A vehicle carrying four people was also swept away, but all four individuals were later rescued by local residents.

Video images shared on social media showed long queues of vehicles standing after the partial collapse of the bridge. "We have been waiting since morning to cross to the other side," lamented Syed Fateh Shah Arif, a resident of the area. He highlighted that women and children were the worst sufferers of the traffic suspension since they had to cover long distances to reach their homes.

Torrential rains also damaged dozens of houses in Kalat, Mastung, Gwadar, Pishin, and Qila Abdullah districts of the province. Flash floods caused the suspension of traffic in the Bolan Kachhi area of Balochistan and in the Mekran belt of the province.

The PDMA has declared an emergency across the province to tackle the situation. Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti also directed the PDMA and other concerned departments to step up efforts to ensure timely rescue and relief operations in the province.

Lightning has already claimed four lives in Pishin, Sorab, and Qila Saifullah districts.

Heavy rains also lashed different parts of K-P, including its capital Peshawar, where rainwater accumulated in low-lying areas. Rains, accompanied by thunder and lightning, started in Peshawar on Friday night and continued on Saturday.

According to the meteorological department, Peshawar has recorded 9 millimeters of rainfall so far. The rain caused water from streams and drains to overflow onto roads and streets, resulting in increased difficulties for people and affecting traffic.

Water also entered homes in low-lying areas of Peshawar, turning streets and roads into pools of water, presenting challenges for residents.

In Chitral district of K-P, heavy rains swept away a key road, leading to the suspension of all traffic between Chitral and Peshawar. Rains also damaged a house, causing injuries to a child.

Chitral Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Imran informed the media that heavy machinery was at work to reopen roads. He stated that a high alert had been issued to those living close to nullahs and streams.

“Officials of the district administration as well as officials of the National Highway Authority (NHA) and the PDMA have been put on high alert,” he said.

Read: El Niño-induced weather to grip country in April

He mentioned reports of tourists' vehicles being affected by floods in Chamarkhan Nala, but assured that the route has been restored now.

“Due to rain, the Chitral to Peshawar road is closed for all types of traffic due to flooding in rivers and tourists and local people have been advised to avoid unnecessary travel.”

According to the Meteorological Department, 18mm of rain was recorded in Kalam, 17mm in Malam Jabba, 15mm in Parachinar, 17mm in Chitral, 10mm in Darosh, and 9mm in Mirkhani.

In upper K-P and Kashmir, rains were accompanied by strong winds and thunder. Rains and snowfall are likely to continue intermittently till April 15, the official said.

Meanwhile, electricity supply was affected in most areas of K-P due to rain and as many as 140 PESCO feeders were tripped, according to a PESCO spokesperson.

He revealed that 56 feeders tripped in Peshawar Circle, 44 in Khyber, 20 in Swat, and 22 in Bannu Circle. "PESCO field staff are working to restore power. Repair work on several feeders has been completed, and electricity will be restored soon,” he said.



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