ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday directed authorities to expedite relief efforts as flash floods continued to wreak havoc in various parts of the country.
“PM Nawaz has expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of life and property due to floods in Chitral and intends to visit the flood affected areas in Chitral today but is stuck in Lahore due to bad weather,” a PM House statement read.
The prime minister also directed the National Highway Authority to keep N-45 open such that Chitral remained linked with the national road network.
Army chief General Raheel Sharif directed the army to make an all-out effort to help and assist the people affected by the floods, an ISPR press statement read.
All Corps Headquarters in their respective areas of responsibility are monitoring the flood situation and preparations have been made to meet any eventuality, the statement added. Field Commanders have been instructed to carryout reconnaissance of area that could see flooding.
In Chitral meanwhile, the Army continued its rescue operation on the sixth day in some of the worst-hit areas of the region. Army and Frontier Corps, with the help of civil administrations, have already distributed 16 tons of ration, while troops have evacuated more than 73 stranded individuals from Garm Chashma, Koragh and Bomboreet. The army has stationed two MI-17 helicopters in Chitral for relief and rescue operations. Frontier Corps have donated 100 tons of ration and food items for the flood affectees in Chitral, which is being despatched from Peshawar.
Further, Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Hidayatur Rehman visited Chitral to monitor the relief and rescue efforts being carried out by Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps.
At least 130 villages were inundated in Muzaffargarh, Rajanpor and Layyah, spokesperson of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said. He added that 71 of these were inundated in Layyah, 50 in Rajanpur and 10 in Muzaffargarh, Radio Pakistan reported.
“Administration of these districts evacuated the residents to safer places while 32 relief camps were set up in Rajanpor,” he said and added that no loss of human lives had been reported. The spokesman furthered that several roads in Chitral were repaired and traffic temporarily restored.
Although other parts of the province and the tribal belt have also been affected by heavy downpour, Chitral has been in the thick of the calamity. Infrastructure has been the worst-hit and the upper areas of the district have virtually been cut off from the rest of Chitral, leaving as many as 200,000 people stranded.
The PDMA said the available machinery and manpower had already been deployed for temporary opening of routes to restore communication. The district administration requires heavy machinery and technical expertise from the National Highway Authority to repair the damage.
About 40 connecting bridges and more than 200 smaller bridges have been washed away. An estimated 175 houses were completely destroyed while over 200 others were partially damaged.
Three towns of Latkoh tehsil – Garam Chashma, Arkari and Karimabad – have been inaccessible for the past six days.
Electricity and water supply systems have also been destroyed, while a shortage of edible items has also been reported.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, widespread rain and thundershower are expected during the next 12 hours in Hazara, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore divisions, Islamabad and Kashmir.
Flood situation in Skardu
At least 110 houses and 20,000-kanal lands were inundated while hundreds of trees were swept away with flood waters on Tuesday.
Floodwaters also caused damaged to 16 mosques, nine hydropower houses, seven schools and roads.
Reports suggested authorities lost contact with at least 75 different villages as water coming from a glacier lake in Shigarwazirpur entered in nearby villages.
Meanwhile, Gilgit-Baltistan MPA Imran Nadeem demanded the deployment of army in flood affected areas for relief activities.
“Administration does not have ample facilities to deal with the current situation,” the MPA said.
Flood warnings issued in six districts of Sindh
Flood warnings were issued in at least six districts of Sindh as water levels rose to 29,713 cusec feet at Kotri barrage.
PDMA Sindh issued flood warning to Sukkur, Shikarpur, Ghotki, Larkana and Khairpur districts.
Flood waters are likely to pass through Sukkur and Guddu barrages on July 24-25, and preparations have been done to evacuate villagers from adjoining areas.
Authorities will establish tent cities for flood affected people at four different areas in all six districts which have been issued flood warnings.
Situation under control in DG Khan
Assistant Commissioner Saifur Rehman said no embankment had been breached in Jhakar Imam, but that there was a medium level of flood in Jhakkar Imam due to discharge to 500,000 cusec water. He said two relief camps had been established for the flood affected people in the area.
Twenty to thirty homes had been flooded in the area of Bait, while irrigation department and rescue teams were working to keep the situation under control, he added.
He told the media that 35 Rescue 1122 personnel had been appointed to deal with any emergency situation, and that the flood had caused heavy loss to cattle, property and crops of sugarcane and cotton, particularly in two areas named Doda and Haji Command.
An irrigation department official said that level of water recorded at 6am today was 41,000 cusec from Sanghar, 8,000 cusec from Koda, 19,000 cusec from Wahwa and 4,000 cusec from Sori.