NOWSHERA/ HARIPUR/ PESHAWAR/ SHANGLA:
Heavy downpour and hailstorms claimed the lives of four minors and damaged around 50 houses in Shangla district on Sunday night, while roads remained flooded with rainwater in Haripur on Monday.
Shamsur Rahman, an official of the Shangla security and emergency control room, told The Express Tribune two brothers were killed when the roof of their house caved in and two girls died when a wall collapsed on them in Puran tehsil.
According to Rahman, the roof of Yaras Khan’s house collapsed due to heavy rains in Karao Sargay area in the tehsil’s outskirts, killing eight-year-old Rasheed and 11-year-old Saeed. Neighbours rushed to the site and pulled the bodies out of the debris.
Nizamuddin, a resident of Karin Makhuzai, reported to the control room that the boundary wall and a room of Ameer Zaman’s house collapsed, killing 11-year-old Liaqat Bibi while 10-year-old Nazira died when Jan Muhammad’s house collapsed.
Rahman also informed he had received reports of around 50 houses destroyed by the hailstorm and downpour while 100 houses were partially damaged – most of them in Dherai, Leloni, Chakesar and Shahpur areas of the district.
Two days of intermittent rain coupled with a hailstorm exposed the dismal state of local civic facilities as various roads in the city remained inundated with sewage and rainwater on Monday.
Although the rain served as a relief for the residents experiencing a harsh summer exacerbated by frequent power outages, it became a bane for the inhabitants of different urban localities.
Residents of the main bazaar, Sherabwala Gate and other localities were forced to remain confined to their homes as choked drains had caused the rainwater to accumulate on the roads, making them impossible to traverse.
Waheed, a resident of Mohallah Risaldariyan, said: “We have asked them (the authorities) many times to clear the drains of solid waste. However, our requests fell on deaf ears.” He said the citizens pay various municipal taxes, but the services they receive are of poor standard.
Naeem Qureshi, a resident of GPO Road criticised the municipal authorities for their services. He said the main reason behind the choked drains is the fact that shopkeepers and residents throw shopping bags and other solid waste into them. “It is the duty of municipal staff to collect the solid waste ensuring the uninterrupted flow of water in the drains,” added Qureshi.
According to official sources, over 100 sanitation workers were deployed for the sole purpose of collecting solid waste from the drains in these localities.
Chief Municipal Officer Shehreyar was not available for comment, but the sanitation in-charge said his staff regularly cleans drains, but sometimes solid waste flows with rainwater and causes obstructions.
The inclement weather also damaged crops and orchards, resulting in millions of rupees worth of losses, said farmers.
Standing crops of honey dew, tomato and various orchards of plum, apricot and peach among others have sustained heavy damages.
Professor Dr Noorul Ameen of the Agriculture University, Peshawar told The Express Tribune the crops which were lying in fields after being harvested had perished completely. A majority of farmers were able to harvest their wheat crops before the change in the weather and were spared, he added.
The professor said fruits in orchards were not ripe yet and were badly affected by the rain. “They have developed huge stains and are now easily vulnerable to worms and other diseases,” Ameen said.
He maintained an estimated figure is not available yet, but the loss to farmers and the economy could run in millions.
Medium level flood
Following the hailstorm and heavy downpour in most parts of the province, the Kabul River is now at medium flood level at Nowshera.
An official at the Nowshera Deputy Commissioner’s Office, Muhammad Amir said water flow of 66,000 cusecs was recorded in the morning at the river in Nowshera. The flow increased to 72,000 cusecs in the afternoon, but remained constant in the evening.
The official said neither the provincial nor the federal government had set up an emergency flood cell yet.
The deputy commissioner’s office is in constant contact with the people living on the bank of the river and the fisherman to inform them about any untoward situation.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2013
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