The Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) districts emergency officers (DEOs) were directed on Wednesday to remain on high alert and provide rescue and relief services to flood-affected people.
Director General Dr Rizwan Naseer issued the instructions while chairing a departmental meeting on flood coordination and response at the Rescue 1122 Headquarters on Wednesday.
“In case of heavy rains or dyke breach, the DEOs should declare Code Red and provide rescue and relief services to the affected citizens,” he said. Naseer said that rescue teams could be moved to a flood-affected area from an adjoining district if there was a shortage of staff or manpower. “Rescue staff from areas not affected by floods should be prepared to move into flood-hit areas along with their equipment, especially rescue boats,” he said.
He said that additional staff had already been moved to flood-affected areas of Narowal and Dera Ghazi Khan districts.
The Rescue 1122 Provincial Monitoring Cell briefed the meeting about the latest situation in the flood-hit areas.
The meeting was informed that Rescue 1122 had evacuated 5,718 people in six districts and provided first aid to 147 injured people. “District Water Rescue Teams are working round the clock in flood-affected districts and evacuating vulnerable people,” the officials said.
Naseer said the resources had been mobilised and deployed in accordance with the flood warnings.
He said that 500 evacuations were carried out in Mianwali, 2,589 in Layyah, 406 in Muzaffargarh, 2,057 in Rahim Yar Khan, 28 in Dera Ghazi Khan and 128 in Rajanpur. “Apart from this, rescue teams are also working to manage flash floods in major cities,” he said.
He said that 55 rescue boats were being used in the evacuation operation in Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Narowal, Rahim Yar Khan, Mianwali, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur and Layyah districts.
“A total of 12 deaths have been reported in Rawalpindi and Narowal,” he said. Naseer said that 251 boats with 2,369 life jackets had been deployed.
“The Rescue 1122 Monitoring Cell is in close coordination with the Meteorological Department, the National Disaster Management Authority and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority to ensure timely forecasting, preparedness and effective response to floods in any district of the Punjab,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2015.