At least nine people were injured including five children and three women after a mud house collapsed in Rawalpindi due to heavy rain on Wednesday morning, a rescue official said.
The incident took place in Chakra. The official said the injured were shifted to a local hospital.
Meanwhile, the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) has spent millions of rupees to cleaning and desilting Nullah Leh before the monsoon season, but no attention seems to have been given to cleaning its tributaries which cause floods.
A senior Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) official said that despite a survey of 13 major tributaries responsible for much of the havoc during the rainy season, the agency had failed to clean them.
In 2013, the agency conducted a survey of the tributaries that revealed that these smaller streams and rivers were choked by staggering amounts of plastic bags and solid waste and desperately needed the attention of the agency.
The official said that last year, the Leh was cleaned at a cost of Rs6 million, but the agency had ignored the 13 tributaries.
“Instead of focusing on the Leh, the agency should clean tributaries before they result in a disaster,” said another Wasa official.
He said failure to clean tributaries led to the 2001floods which killed 35 people.
He said the small tributaries which passed through Dhoke Charg Deen, Pirwadhi, New Katrian, Dhoke Naju, Nadeem Colony, Javed Colony, Dhoke Naju, Ziaul Haq Colony, Mohanpura, Javaid Colony, Tipu Road, Chamanzar Colony, Mohallah Raja Sultan, Gawalmandi, and Dhoke Ellahi Buksh.
A Rawal Town administration official, admitted there is a need for regular cleaning of the streams, but added that the problem could be minimised by removing encroachments.
The Rawal Town administration declared an emergency around the Leh soon after the heavy rain on Wednesday morning. The administration official claimed a control room had been established to avoid any untoward situation.
Wasa Managing Director Raja Shaukat was not available for comment.
Respite for Islooites
On the other hand, the second phase of monsoon rain brought relief to the residents of the federal capital a prolonged sweltering dry spell.
According to the Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD), the rainfall that started around 4:15 am brought the mercury level down from 38 degrees Celsius on Tuesday to 32 degrees on Wednesday. In Islamabad, 70 millimetres of rain were recorded in Saidpur, 34mm at Zero Point, and 24mm in Golra.
A PMD official said the rain spell was expected to continue till Friday.
“However after that, another heat wave will hit the city, taking the temperature to 42-45 degrees Celsius. The heat wave will continue till the end of July,” said the official.
The official said that due to climate change it is becoming a bit difficult to predict the intensity of rain during the monsoon. It was expected that Islamabad would receive around 50 millimetres of rain in the first phase of monsoon but it received just 15 millimetres, the official said.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Rawal Dam Sub-Divisional Officer Bilal Rana said that the current water level in Rawal Dam was 1,750 feet and they had been issued high alert to open the spillways if the water level goes any higher.
Talking to The Express Tribune, CDA Health Service Director Dr Hasan Urooj said the department was taking all possible precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak of these diseases.
As a precautionary measure against spread of dengue fever, Dr Urooj urged people to clear any rainwater accumulating in their gardens or backyards.
He further said that CDA Health Service Directorate had established a helpline 22-118-58 where people could register complaints if they found standing water in any part of the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2014.
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