Lightning strikes kill 23 amid widespread rains

15 people die after lightning strikes in Punjab,8 in Balochistan & Bahrain-Kalam road closed due to landslides in Swat n Electricity suspended from hundreds of feeders in Multan, Peshawar after downpour & Flood water swept away roads in Chitral.

LAHORE/MULTAN/QUETTA/PESHAWAR  -  At least 23 people died in lightning strikes in the Punjab and Balochistan provinces as heavy rains lashed many parts of the country including Punjab, KP and Balochistan.

South Punjab and Balochistan experienced thunder and lightning, officials said Saturday during which 24 people died due to lightning strikes. During the heavy rains, 15 deaths occurred due to lightning in South Punjab and 8 in different areas of Balochistan.

In Punjab out 16 deaths, 7 were reported Rahim Yar Khan and three each in Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur and Lodhran due to lightning. Three people, including a father and his two sons were killed by lightning in Bahawalnagar on Saturday.

According to police sources, a family on a motorcycle was struck by lightning close to the village 102 Six R Cemetery on 105 Six R Road, which is accessible from Mubarakabad, based on the facts provided. Nasir Ali, 41, and his two defenseless sons, Muneeb Ali, 8, and Abid Ali, 6, were killed instantly, while Nasir Ali’s wife Sajida, 35, and son Ahmed Hassan, 2, were hurt. Police sources said that the late Nasir Ali Chauhan, who was struck by lightning, arrived to 102 Six R with his wife and three children in order to harvest wheat, when all of the sudden, the ill-fated family struck by lightning.

According to the rescue, 7 people including two children and a husband and wife were killed due to lightning strikes at three places in the surrounding areas of Rahim Yar Khan. Husband and wife were harvesting wheat and children were playing when they were struck by lightning.

Rainfall lashed parts of Balochistan, including Quetta, Chaman Chagai, Nushki, Dera Bugti, Sorab, Kohlu, and Khuzdar. Heavy rainfall also lashed southern Punjab, including Multan, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dera Ismail Khan, Malakand, Mohmand, and Kohat districts also received downpours.

Low-lying areas in Quetta flooded after heavy rainfall. Rainfall was also reported in Mastung, Kalat, Nushki, Pishin, Kharan, Qila Abdullah, and Kachhi.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority Balochistan reported that two children died in a thunderbolt in Sorab district. Rainfall with thunderstorms in Upper and Lower Chitral demolished two houses, while landslides and flash floods suspended vehicular traffic at Chitral, Garam Chashma, upper Chitral, and Torkho road. A dust storm also battered Kalat, hampering visibility in the area.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan reported that two children died in a thunderbolt in Sorab district. Moreover, a 22-year-old man was killed in a lightning strike in Pishin.

Rainfall with thunderstorms in Upper and Lower Chitral demolished two houses, while landslides and flash floods suspended vehicular traffic at Chitral, Garam Chashma, upper Chitral, and Torkho road.

Rescuers saved a vehicle of tourists that was stranded at a nullah.

Most areas in upper Chitral descended into darkness after the electricity supply was disrupted.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed all civic agencies to keep rain drains and drainage system clean.

He also directed the Disaster Management Authority to coordinate with all civic agencies.

On the other hand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur has directed all the district administrations and rescue organizations to stay alert to deal with any untoward situation.

In a statement in Peshawar today, he directed to make necessary arrangements to minimize life and property losses.

The Chief Minister also took notice of closure of the Bahrain-Kalam road due to land sliding in Swat. He directed the Commissioner Malakand and Deputy Commissioner Swat to take action on emergency basis to open the road,

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Ali Amin Gandapur Saturday took notice of the closure of Bahrain-Kalam road due to landslides in Swat due to which the passerby was facing numerous problems.

The Chief Minister directed Commissioner Malakand and DC Swat to take measures on an emergency basis to open the road.

All available resources should be utilized for this purpose, Sardar Ali Amin Gandapur directed.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister should ensure the provision of required facilities to tourists stranded in the area due to road closure. In view of the ongoing rains in the province, the Chief Minister directed all district administrations and rescue organizations to remain alert.

The Chief Minister directed the administration to be on alert to deal with any possible emergency due to rains. In any possible emergency, necessary arrangements should be made to minimize loss of life and property, Ali Amin Gandapur said.

Necessary steps should be taken to provide immediate relief and timely medical aid to the victims in any unfortunate situation, Chief Minister said. The orders issued by PDMA should be ensured during the recent rains, Ali Amin Gandapur said.

Electricity was suspended at 128 different feeders across the Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO) region following heavy winds and continuous rain.

According to official sources, the affected areas included Multan, Muzaffargarh, DG Khan, Vehari, Sahiwal, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Khanewal and Rahim Yar Khan.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) MEPCO, Rana Muhammad Ayub has ordered the operational officials and staff to remain alert and issued orders to restore electricity from affected feeders as the rain stopped.

The line staff was directed to use T&P and follow safety SOPs to avert any untoward incident.

The MEPCO consumers and the public appealed to stay away from the power installations during rain.

Heavy rain hit hard resulting roads swept away by closing all traffic between Chitral and Peshawar wherein a house was affected in Chitral city and a girl child was injured and was shifted to District Headquarters Hospital, Deputy Commissioner Chitral Muhammad Imran told media men here on Saturday.

He stated that heavy machinery was working on the opening of roads besides a high alert has been issued to those living close to nullhas and stream due to heavy rain. The DC said that officials of the district administration have been on high alert along with NHA’s and PDMA staff. A house was affected by heavy rains in Chitral city, a girl was injured, he confirmed.

The injured girl was shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital, Chitral and doctors said that she is out of danger. There was a confirmed report that tourists’ vehicles were affected by floods in Chamarkhan Nala, and the route was restored, the Deputy Commissioner said.

He disclosed that in Lower Chitral’s Belpok village, Chitral Garam Chashma road was closed due to flood relay and the traffic was also affected. Due to rain, the Chitral to Peshawar road is closed for all types of traffic due to flooding in rivers and canals and tourists and local peoples have been advised to avoid unnecessary travel.

Deputy Commissioner Chitral said that rain continues in Lower Chitral district and suburbs till now. In the light of the orders of Deputy Commissioner Lower Chitral Muhammad Imran Khan, line departments are on alert.

Traffic flow is affected at various places due to increase in flood water level and landslides in Nullas. The machinery of the TMA department and NHA are busy cleaning various drains. The machinery of the NHA department is engaged in the clearance operation at the location of heavy floods, Muhammad Imran Khan said.

Tourists are advised to travel after obtaining complete information about the access roads, he said. Avoid unnecessary travel in inclement weather until routes are fully cleared and if any untoward incident report an emergency to DC control room on the following Telephone No. 0943412519.

Heavy rains have caused flooding in “Meena Khor” on Lowari Tunnel Road. Travelers to Chitral, including tourists to Lowari Tunnel, should also avoid traveling before the rain stops and the water level recedes, the DC Chitral said while issuing warning to the general public and tourists.

Heavy rain occurred in most districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Peshawar, the Met Office said. The official said that cold was returned due to rain with Eid and will also be cold due to rain. It has been raining continuously since last night in the city of Peshawar and in the rest of the areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Due to rain, the temperature has dropped significantly, the officials of the Meteorological Department said. About the highest rainfall record, he said, Kalam 18mm, Malam Jabba 17mm, Parachinar 15mm, Chitral 17mm, Darosh 10, Mirkhani 09, Dir (Upper 07, Lower 02), Saidu Sharif Swat, Patan 03, Kakul 02mm rain recorded.

In Upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir, there was rain with strong winds and thunder in few places including Chitral. Rains and snowfall are likely to continue intermittently till April 15, the official said.

Meanwhile, electricity supply was affected in most areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to rain. As many as 140 PESCO feeders have been tripped due to rain, a PESCO spokesperson informed when contacted. He said 56 feeders have been tripped in Peshawar Circle, 44 in Khyber, 20 in Swat and 22 in Bannu Circle.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt