LAHORE – About a 100 people have died and dozens more injured in torrential rains and flash floods in the country over the past three days, besides huge losses of property and damage to crops over extensive areas.
Officials put the number of deaths in the ongoing rain spell at 78 but data collected from media reports suggested that the toll has touched 100 as at least two dozen more people were killed on Monday.
Heavy monsoon rains which began falling last week have destroyed more than 1,600 houses and damaged a further 5,000, said Irshad Bhatti, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), on Monday. The destruction is widespread as almost the whole country has received heavy downpours.
“A total of 78 people have died and 68 injured in rains and flash floods in the country so far,” Bhatti said, adding that the casualties were caused mostly by houses collapsing and people being caught in floods. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 32 people have died and 26 injured in several districts, he said, adding that 83 houses were totally destroyed and another 4,200 were partially damaged.
In Swabi district, ten Afghan refugees were killed when the roof of their mud house collapsed overnight. The dead, who were members of the same family, included two women and six children aged between one and 12 years. In Kashmir flash floods killed at least 31 people, Bhatti said, just a month after heavy rains led to the deaths of at least 26 people in the same region.
In Punjab, where some two dozen people were killed on Saturday and Sunday, almost another dozen people were killed, mostly in house collapse incidents. Hundreds of houses have been damaged in the province, officials said. Emergency was declared and Army called in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur districts, in the south-eastern part of the province. Reports from Balochistan were also not encouraging where at least 10 people have died so far.
Emergency was also declared in at least three districts of Sindh where more than 30 people have been killed. “The provincial government has declared an emergency in Jacobabad, Khairpur, Kashmore districts which have been badly affected by the rains,” Haleem Shaikh, an adviser to the Sindh government said. “Hundreds of people have been displaced so far, we fear for many more people going homeless as the rains are still incessant in those districts.”
Weather officials predict heavy rain in the next two days in southern Sindh and Balochistan provinces and rescue teams are closely monitoring the situation, Bhatti said. “It is not comparable to what we saw last year. We hope the current spell will end over the next two days and water will start receding in affected areas,” he said.
Last summer’s floods killed more than 340 people and affected almost six million, killing livestock, destroying crops, homes and infrastructure as the nation struggled to recover from record inundations the previous year. In 2010, unprecedented monsoon rainfall triggered catastrophic flooding across the country, killing almost 1800 people and affecting 21 million.
A boy and his sister died following the collapse of roof of a house in Dera Ghazi Khan. A state of emergency was declared by the district administration of Dera Ghazi Khan on Monday after water entered the city due to a breach in Dera Ghazi Khan Canal, affecting thousands of people.
Rescue 1122 officials said that almost 50 percent of the city has been submerged. According to DG Khan Commissioner Tariq Mahmood, heavy rainfall caused canals and water channels to overflow. Mahmood said that that almost 5,000 people had been rescued but the operation was still going on. District hospital, district bar, police line and central jail have been adversely hit by flash flood, he said, adding that relief camps were setup in schools and colleges to provide shelter to the affected people.
The sources said that the city was suffering from blackout and the lack of sewerage facilities has further complicated the situation. People were sitting on the roofs and waiting for the water to settle down. On the other hand, floodwater also entered into Rajanpur and Tounsa Sharif, submerging low-lying areas. Educational institutes have been closed due to devastating surge in floodwater.
Our Rajanpur correspondent reported that five people died in rain-related incident while flashflood caused serious damage in the district. Infrastructure has been ruined while the people had been asked to move to safer places.
Thirty-five people were injured as the torrential rains wreaked havoc in Muzaffargarh’s teshils Kotaddu, Muzaffargarh Jatoi and Alipur. Many houses collapsed while the rainwater flooded streets in Shahjamal, Khangarh, Share Sultan, Rangpur and Qasba Gujrat.
The downpour disrupted road and air traffic as trains were delayed for hours while power supply system was cut in several areas.
The citizens spent sleepless night as water gushed into their houses. DCO Muzaffar Khan Sayal said the situation was under control. Sayial said a control room under EDO (CD) Engr Amjid Sohaib Tareen was set up at his office.
Our correspondent from Multan reported that another five people were killed on Monday in the city in rain-related incidents, bringing the total death toll in three days to 15. Faisal, his wife Hameeda and daughter Ashra Noor were crushed to death when the roof of their house on the Hafiz Jamal Road caved in. A boy namely Ramzan, 7, and his sister Sonia, 6, got electrocuted in the Zakariya Town.
Multan received over 130mm rain during last three days; however, that spell ended on Monday, bringing a sigh of relief to the people. The city presented the view of a war-hit area as big ditches and broken patches appeared on many roads including Bosan Road, Masoom Shah Road, High Court Road, Nusratul Islam Road, Water Works Road and Dera Adda. The rain also unveiled the poor quality of work and material used in construction of these roads. Almost all of these roads were constructed a few months back.
Our correspondent from Toba Tek Singh reported that rain continued to lash Kamalia and adjoining areas for the fifth consecutive day on Monday while some localities were also raided by hails. Continues rains caused many houses to collapse in tehsil Kamalia resulting in injuries to more than 10 people. In Faiz Colony of Gojra, roof of a house fell, killing eight-year-old Zeeshan and wounding his sister and brother. Electricity supply also could not be restored to a lot of localities and villages in the district even after the passage of two days which had been suspended due to rain.
Our Bahawalnagar correspondent reported that three people died and ten sustained serious injuries in rain-related incidents in the district. The fresh spell of rain which started Sunday evening and continued till the filing of this report on Monday played havoc in Bahawalnagar district as at least 20 houses collapsed.
In Chak 40 Fateh near Chishtian, roof of a house caved in, killing Rukhsana, 6, and Wasim, 4, while their mother Gogan Bibi sustained serious injuries. In a roof collapse in Chak 27/G, claimed the life of 12-year-old Ikram, while his sisters Yasmin and Shabana and mother Allah Rakhi sustained serious injuries. A woman named Zainab was injured as a roof caved in at Basti Qadir Abad. About 16 houses of labourers collapsed in Mari Shouq Ellahi, injuring Abdullah, Sajid, Allad Ditta, Amjad and others. Babar Ali r/o Quresh Colony was seriously injured as his bike skid off a muddy road.
According to Met office 87 mm rain was recorded. Low-lying localities were adversely affected as 2 to 3 feet water accumulated in the streets paralysing the civic life. In some areas electricity installation were also affected resulting in suspension of electricity for ten hours in dozens of localities. The heavy downpour has also adversely affected the standing crops, especially Cotton. According to District Agriculture officer Munir Ahmad, 8 to 10 percent damage of cotton crop is feared.
Our Pakpattan staffer reported that a boy and his two sisters were killed and another two sisters injured in a roof collapse in the city. Late Sunday, the roof of the house of Mr Ghulam Abbas collapsed, wounding five people seriously. They were rushed to hospital where Ali Raza, 3, Shehnaz, 4, and Asia, 18, died.
The injured were named as Muqaddas and Hina. A victim family member came down hard on the authorities for unsatisfactory relief measures, saying the ambulances were without oxygen cylinders that caused death. However, Pakpattan DCO Syed Haider Iqbal visited the affected house and prayed for the departed souls. He also announced compensation.
Our staffer Bari Baloch reported that 10 people were killed while hundreds of families were affected as their houses collapsed in downpour in Balochistan. Reportedly, the rains hit 11 districts of Balochistan where the need of foodstuff, potable water and other utility items surged.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA), 10 people lost their lives in 7 various districts of Balochistan while 2,335 houses and standing crop of millions of rupees had been destroyed. Moreover, 7,500 people have been without house. However, the damage in Naseerabad, Jafferabad and Sibi is yet to be assessed. The PDMA has stepped up relief efforts in the rain-hit areas
According to the Met Office, heavy rains have been lashing districts of Killa Saifullah, Zhob, Killa Abdullah, Loralai, Ziarat, Harnai, Musakhel, Sibi, Bolan, Naseerabad, Jafferabad, Jhal Magsi, Dera Bugti Barkhan, Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar and other parts of the province.
Intermittent rain have been lashing Quetta since Sunday and the roadsides in the areas of Jinnah Road, Jan Muhammad Road, Kawari Road, Satellite Town, Sabzal Road, MecCongi Road and others are inundated, exposing authorities claim. Forty-one villages have been inundated in Loralai. The Loralai, Ziarat, and Loralai, Duki highway remained closed for any traffic due to the heavy rains.
Water level has also risen in the drains in the district of Zhob and many mud houses have collapsed in the region. The local administration has launched relief work. The areas of Bolan, Bhag, Dhadar, Balanari, Jafferabd, Chatter, Dera Allah Yar, Sobat Pur, Usta Muhammad and other places have been inundated after flashflood.
The PDMA sources told that more than 896 houses had been washed away while 1,439 had been damaged partly and 3,182-acre crops have been ruined. The Met Office has predicted more rains in the areas of Naseerabad, Sibi and Zhob Division.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani chaired a meeting to review the situation. The Balochistan government demanded the Sindh administration should not let inflow of the water into Pat Feeder Canal from the Gado Barrage as it would cause serious damage in the province.
The PDMA officials and Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Fateh Muhammad Yaqoob briefed the participants of the meeting about the situation. The meeting was informed that the aid work had been initiated in the affected districts and Rs500000 rupees had been dispatched to the each commissioner of these districts.
The chief minister directed the local MPAs to allocate Rs20 million each for the aid works from their MPA funds and monitor the relief efforts. Holidays of the Irrigation Department staff have been cancelled in the districts of Naseerabad and Jafferabad to meet any emergent situation. The chief minister ordered the authorities to concerned make all possible efforts to restore the communication lines in the province.
Separately, Abdul Sattar Edhi told the media that three trucks carrying different edibles items had been dispatched to Qila Saifullah. He said his foundation would stand by Balochistan at this hour of need. He called for forging unity to meet this challenge.