As many as seven school children were injured when their van met a road accident on the outskirts of Islamabad as rain lashed the twin cities on Saturday.
The vehicle was taking the children from Rawalpindi to Murree for a picnic when it slipped and collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction near Karlot.
Most of the children remained safe and were given on-the-spot aid by Rescue 1122 officials. One of the students, however, suffered severe injuries and was taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims).
Murree also received some snowfall which continued till late night and brought the temperature down to the freezing point. The drizzle which continued through Saturday in the twin cities also brought down the mercury level.
Hundreds of vehicles were stuck in Murree and adjacent areas after heavy rain and snowfall. The local administration appeared unprepared and failed to clear most of the major roads. The snowfall also blocked the road from Darya Gali to Bansra Gali.
Commuters criticised the administration’s failure to clear the routes.
Locals also said National Assembly Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi went to attend a funeral in Murree and was stuck for hours in the traffic jam.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had earlier forecast heavy downpour in Islamabad and Rawalpindi and warned the Rawalpindi district administration regarding occurrence of flash floods. The administration was on alert in Rawalpindi to deal with any emergency.
PMD recorded 10 millimetre rain in Islamabad, nine in Chakwal, seven in Rawalpindi, and five in Jhelum. The department said rain will continue on Sunday, after which the day and night temperatures will rise with clear skies.
In Rawalpindi, rainwater accumulated on many roads and streets which created difficulties for motorists. A massive traffic jam was also witnessed on Murree Road.
Rawal Dam spillways
The administration had to open the spillways of Rawal Dam on Friday to discharge extra water. The spillways were closed at 9pm on Saturday.
Rawal Dam sub-divisional officer Bilal Rana said 2,826 acre feet of water was let out to bring down the level to 1,749 acre feet against the maximum conversion level of 1752 acre feet. “PMD has predicted more rains in the catchment areas. Therefore, a heavy amount of water has been discharged to create cushion for the incoming one,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2015.
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