Never prepared: Three die in Chitral, G-B in flood-related incidents

Khanpur Dam spillways opened to release excess water


Houses in Ghanche district damaged by floods. PHOTOS: SHABBIR MIR/EXPRESS

CHITRAL/ HARIPUR/ GILGIT/ PESHAWAR/ SHANGLA:


As rescue and relief work continues, three people have lost their lives in separate flood-related incidents in Chitral, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan on Wednesday.


A 22-year-old man was swept away by the flash floods in Chitral where rescue efforts continued throughout the day. Insiders familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune Hazaratuddin was taken by floods in Shughoor.



Water overflows in Khanpur Dam. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD SADAQAT/EXPRESS



The bodies of two women who had died in flash floods in Droze earlier this week have also been identified as the wife and the mother of Sabiruddin, a resident of the area. Another woman was also swept away in Chitral. However, she has yet to be identified.

At least two people died while hundreds of people were displaced as floods continued to wreak havoc in various parts of Gilgit-Baltistan on Wednesday.

“We have received reports of two casualties so far in flood-related incidents,” Ghanche Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Tariq told The Express Tribune over the telephone.

In the aftermath

The week-long rain, coupled with the floods, in Chitral has sent alarm bells ringing for rescue workers as the natural disaster has adversely impacted the lives of residents and caused damage to infrastructure. Locals say the exact number of fatalities or injuries cannot be ascertained as most areas remain largely inaccessible.

Residents of Garam Chashma, Mastuj, Kalash and other areas have been cut-off from Chitral city for over a week.  A 1,500-metre road connecting Chitral to Booni has been swept away, leaving many people stranded.

G-B

A large number of villages in Ghanche district have been affected by the floods.

“These villages include Thalay, Hoshe, Chorbutt, Lunkha, Dawo, Hasanabad, Khasho, among others,” officials told The Express Tribune. “Similarly, some villages in Skardu were also affected by floods. At least 110 houses have been damaged in both districts.”



Houses in Ghanche district damaged by floods. PHOTOS: SHABBIR MIR/EXPRESS



Ganche DC Tariq said floods have destroyed 18 houses in Balgar village while 32 houses have been partially damaged.

“We have provided tents and food to as many people as possible,” he said. “However, we are waiting for NGOs to assist us in our efforts.”

Meanwhile, at least five foreign tourists were stranded in Hushe Valley after the region was cut off after the floods.

“The tourists belong to UK and USA and have valid visas for the next two months,” Tariq added.

Relief efforts

At this juncture, rescue and relief efforts by the government continue. The district administration in Chitral and the communication and works department have mobilised local contractors and provided them with machinery to clear the road to ensure traffic is restored.

Furthermore, the livestock and dairy development department has sent a truckload of medicines and vaccines for animals in Chitral. A team of veterinary doctors has also visited the district to vaccinate animals to avoid the outbreak of diseases.

Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chapter has also assisted the district administration in Chitral in rescue and relief efforts, stated a press release. PRCS has also coordinated with Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in rescuing hundreds of people who have been stranded in flood-affected areas.

“PRCS distributed relief items among 29 households in Orghoch village,” read the statement. “These include tents, kitchen sets, hygiene sets, mosquito nets and blankets

In G-B, at least 250 families from three villages have been shifted to safer places while 66 families from Balgun and Marzigun villages have also been evacuated.

According to an ISPR statement, an army helicopter evacuated 60 people from Koragh and Bunni on Wednesday.

On the rise

The water level has risen in River Indus at various parts of Shangla district due to heavy rain, residents of Besham told The Express Tribune. “No losses have been reported so far,” a resident said. “However, we are taking precautions.”

As the risk of flooding looms large, the relevant authorities in Haripur have also taken steps to deal with any eventualities.

Following heavy rainfall in the catchment area of Khanpur Dam, Wapda opened the spillways of the reservoir on Tuesday evening to flush out extra water.

“We will open the spillways once again over the next couple of days as the inflow of water is still increasing,” a Wapda official told The Express Tribune.

According to the officials, the water level in the reservoir had increased to 1981.1 feet against the fixed maximum conservation level of 1,982 ft.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2015. 

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