The monsoon finally made its presence felt on Wednesday in the northern parts of the country.
At least nine people were killed and 11 others injured due to a rise in river water levels in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) triggered by heavy rainfall. Aside from the inundation of a number of areas, including Nowshera, the rains also caused heavy landslides that have stranded a number of tourists for days.
Rains also lashed Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and affected communication networks. In Punjab, rising water-levels have set off alarms for authorities.
An official of Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) told The Express Tribune that K-P had received 140mm rain in the past 24 hours, including 24mm in Kakul, 29mm in Chirat, 17mm in Risalpur, 21mm in Saidu Sharif and 9.5mm in Malam Jabba.
According to a Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) flood report sent to the chief minister, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, rivers in Balakot, Garhi Habibullah, Dadar, Jabori, Azakhel, and Pir Pyaie areas, flooded due to heavy rainfall. The report said six residents were killed in Mansehra while 11 others were injured.
PDMA spokesperson Adnan Khan told The Express Tribune that PDMA Director General Shahzad Khan Bangash had called upon all key officials of the Provincial Emergency Operation Center (PEOC) to immediately visit the flood-hit areas.
“We are meant to respond in an emergency situation. The situation is normal now, but, in case, if the situation gets worse, we are ready to respond to it,” Khan said, adding that funds had been disbursed to all District Coordinator Officers, while schools had been identified to house displaced flood victims. Torrential showers flooded Kunhar River in Mansehra district, where one person was killed. Two people were also killed in the Garhi Habibullah area due to flashfloods, while two deaths were reported in the Angrai union council of Balakot. Meanwhile, a pickup van was submerged and another death was also reported in the Biseyan union council of Balakot due to flashfloods.
The heavy rains triggered more hazards. Landslides were reported in Mansehra and traffic was suspended due to roadblocks from Dadar to Jabori and Garhi Habibullah to Balakot.
Heavy downpours lashed upper Hazara on Sunday which resulted in landslides at three different locations near Balakot, suspending traffic on Kaghan road. Several tourists were stranded on both sides of the road, police officials said.
Balakot police told the media that landslides in the area had completely cut off the area from Mansehra, Kaghan and Kashmir. A tourist from Lahore, Naeemullah Khan, told the media that he had been stranded on the Kaghan side with dozens of tourists who were due to celebrate Eid with their families in other parts of the country.
Heavy rainfall in Nowshera led to flashfloods which inundated around 300 houses, washed away around 80 cows in the Pirpiyaye area of Nowshera and killed three people, whose bodies were later recovered.
District Coordinator Officer Nowshera Ayaz Mandokhel told The Express Tribune that cooked food along with non-food items had been provided to all flood victims in Ali Baig, Amangarh, Pirpiyaye and Azakhel Payan villages, adding that health coverage would be provided to the victims on Thursday.
Meanwhile, flashfloods damaged roads in a remote area of on Buner district, Malakand division.
According to the Flood Warning Cell Peshawar, moderate to heavy rainfall was expected over Kohat, Bannu, Peshawar, Mardan and Hazara divisions during the next 48 hours. The warning cell added that the torrential showers could lead to flashfloods of medium to high intensity in the Kabul, Kurram, Gambela and Swat rivers.
In Punjab, floods are expected in the catchment areas of Rivers Ravi and Chenab, according to the Flood Forecasting Division. Medium to high intensity floods are also expected in Chenab and Jhelum rivers during the next 48 hours. Murree received 60 mm rain‚ Golra 48‚ Kotli 36‚ Jhelum 36‚ Abbotabad‚ 24‚ and Rawalpindi 17 on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. In the outskirts of Rawalpindi, three children were killed on Wednesday when the roof of their house collapsed on them as downpours continued for the third day.
In Azad Jammu Kashmir, various parts of Mirpur district were in the grip of heavy intermittent rainfall. The rainfall adversely affected electricity supply, roads and telecommunications in the areas, comprising of Kotli, Mirpur and Bhimbher districts. The newly-constructed New Mirpur city was amongst the worst-affected areas where several houses and link roads were inundated.
On the other hand, lack of rainfall in Sindh has created a drought-like situation in Thar Desert, forcing people to migrate to barrage areas. Three union councils of Badin district including Pangrio are situated close to the desert area of Thar, where a lack of rainfall and no water in irrigation canals has severely affected agriculture in the region. (Additional input from Agencies)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2012.
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