Army helicopters evacuate 550 people stranded in flood-hit areas: ISPR

ISLAMABAD/SUKKUR   -  The torrential monsoon rains across the coun­try on Wednesday con­tinued claiming further lives and inflicting loss­es to property as the to­tal death count in var­ious incidents reached 1,302 with 36 more deaths in past 24 hours and 3,554 individuals got injured since the on­set of the rainy season.

The National Disaster Management Authori­ty (NDMA) issued a 24-hour situation report released on routine ba­sis that accounted over­all life, property, and infrastructure losses incurred by the heavy rains lashing out vari­ous parts of the country.

The heavy rains and flash floods caused deaths of four wom­en and a man in Kachhi district of Balochistan.

In Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa, nine per­sons perished due to roof collapse and flash floods in various dis­tricts including two men and a child in Up­per Kohistan, a man in Karak, two men in Dera Ismail Khan, a man each in South Waziristan, Hangu and Lower Dir.

However, four peo­ple were reported as injured including two children in Upper Ko­histan, one man in Dera Ismail Khan, and one in Upper Chitral due to the flash floods. The data reconciled by the NDMA mentioned that the segregated data of death of 19 persons was confirmed by the PDMA Punjab. In Sindh, three men perished in Dadu. 

In Gilgit Baltistan (GB), N–35 highway was closed due to land­slide at Zaid Khur at 288 Kilometers (Km) patch including road section and bridge ap­proaches damaged, Uchar Nullah Bridge at 303Km, Lutar at 323 to approximately 340 Km whereas traffic moving 

through alternate route of N-15.

In Balochistan, two routes were blocked as the high flow of water blocked including the 

M-8: (100–140 km) as land sliding occurred in 24 Km Long section of Wangu hills and the road was closed for all types of traffic whereas N-65 Pinjra Bridge (Bolan River) 45 meter span washed out by flash floods.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, four connectivity routes were blocked including N-95: (Mady­an) blocked at Behrain - Laikot (27 km) and Laikot – Kalam (8km), N-50 was blocked at 486 km which was blocked for all types of traffic at Saggu Bridge, N-35 was blocked at three lo­cations 288 Km (Mata, Banda, Zaid Khad Nala) and N-55 Kotri – Larkana – DG Khan – DI Khan – Kohat – Peshawar Road was blocked for all types of traffic at Paroa near Dera Ismail Khan. 

Moreover, 18 joint survey teams of NDMA had reached respective locations at; Quet­ta along with a provincial coor­dination team, for joint survey and damage assessment in flood affected areas, Pishin, Loralai, Dukki, Jaffarabad, Sohbatpur, Nasirabad, Kohlu, Barkhan and Lasbella, Awaran, Musakhel, Ga­wadar, Qilla Saifullah, Ziarat, Qila Abdullah and Khuzdar. The Armed Forces Army aviation undertook 39 sorties with 10 helicopters including 33 in KP, 5 in Punjab and one in Sindh, res­cued 505 stranded persons and distributed of 23.2 tons of food and relief items among flood af­fected people. 

The report highlighted that mainly dry weather was ex­pected over most parts of the country. However, isolated thunderstorm and rain was ex­pected over Upper catchment areas of all major rivers along­with Northeast Balochistan, Southeastern Sindh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and La­hore Divisions. ‘Army helicop­ters in flood-hit areas’

The Army Aviation helicop­ters in its exclusive relief efforts conducted 140 sorties in flood affected areas of the country for rescue and relief operation.

The Inter Services Public Re­lations (ISPR) in a news release on Wednesday said more than 550 stranded individuals were evacuated through army heli­copters from various flood af­fected areas.

Moreover, the army helicop­ters delivered 29 tonnes of ra­tion and relief items during the last 24 hours. 

It also helped in 6,140 ration packets and 325 tents distribu­tion among flood affectees all across the county during the last 24 hours.

Some, 5,213 patients were treated so far in various medi­cal camps and 224 relief items collection points were func­tional in Formations Area of Re­sponsibility for collection and onwards distribution of relief stores. ‘Lurking health crisis’ 

Local and international health officials have said that water­borne diseases could spread rapidly under the current con­ditions. Hundreds of clinics have been damaged and many sur­vivors are unable to reach doc­tors. Officials in Pakistan as well as the World Health Organiza­tion (WHO) warned on Wednes­day that a health crisis could follow the devastating floods in the country. “WHO is work­ing with health authorities to re­spond quickly and effectively on the ground,” said Dr. Palitha Ma­hipala, the WHO representative in Pakistan. “Our key priorities now are to ensure rapid access to essential health services to the flood-affected population, (to) strengthen and expand disease surveillance, outbreak preven­tion and control, and ensure ro­bust health cluster coordination.’’

On top of the 888 clinics and hospitals damaged or de­stroyed by the flooding, the damage to infrastructure has also made reaching health ser­vices more difficult.