At least 16 people were killed and more than 82 injured after heavy rain and stormy winds at 25 nautical miles per hour hit Peshawar on Friday evening.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Meteorological Office Peshawar Director Mushtaq Ali Shah said the rain started at 4pm and ended around 5:30pm. In one and a half hour, 42mm of precipitation was recorded in the city, said Shah.
In the same time span, 16 people died and more than 82 were injured and shifted to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), said Rescue 1122 spokesperson Bilal Faizi.
Two of the bodies were recovered from Larama village and Landy Sarak, added the spokesperson. The rest had not been identified till the time this report was filed.
“At least seven children were injured when the roof of a seminary in Akhunabad collapsed, and we shifted them to LRH,” said Faizi. However, four of these succumbed to their injuries there.
“Many boys were injured when the wall of a playground collapsed in Wazir Bagh area but all are now out of danger,” he added.
In Faqirabad, Yakatoot, Superior Science College area, and Lahori Gate, walls caved in, said Faizi.
According to early reports, “more than five houses and two walls collapsed inside the city in Akhunabad, Nothia, Dir Colony and Wazir Bagh areas.”
Most of the houses which fell apart in the heavy spell of rain were in a state of dilapidation, said Faizi.
Change in weather
“The wind was blowing at 25 to 30 nautical miles an hour. Rainfall was caused by a combined frontal activity of the monsoon and western disturbance system,” explained the Met director. “More spells of sudden and heavy rain are expected in Peshawar, Mardan and Hazara while normal scattered rainfall is expected across K-P and the tribal belt.”
The rain caused a sudden drop in temperature, breaking the hot spell, he said.
The downpour which lashed the provincial capital also caused massive traffic jams on all major roads as water started collecting on the roads within the hour. Trees were also uprooted, adding to the chaos.
All choked up
Heavy rains washed away the district administration’s tall claims of “monsoon preparedness”.
University Road, Gulbahar, Saddar, Charsadda Road, Kohat Road and Ring Road saw severe traffic congestion. Sewerage lines overflowed near Gul Haji Plaza on University Road where vehicles and pedestrians were either stuck or had to navigate contaminated water.
In addition, low-lying residential areas inside the city suffered minor flash floods. Sher Khan, a resident of Gulberg, said everyone was concerned water would soon enter their homes and cause damage.
Deputy Commissioner Syed Zaheerul Islam has issued directives to Additional Commissioner Peshawar Mumtaz Ahmad to take steps to assess damages incurred due to Friday’s rain. Ahmad forwarded instructions to patwaris to conduct surveys in their respective areas for the purpose.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2014.