KASUR/LAHORE - Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi said Saturday that rescue efforts were underway after a flood “unprecedented in 35 years” was reported in the Sutlej River.
According to the Flood Forecasting Division (FFD), the river is at an “extremely high flood level” at Ganda Singh Wala and will remain at this critical state.
It said River Sutlej at Sulemanki Headworks is anticipated to attain a “high to very high flood level” at the Sulemanki Headworks in the next 24 hours. Similarly, the Islam Headworks is expected to witness a high flood level from Aug 22 onwards. Taking to social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Naqvi said “278,000 cusecs of water” is rushing near the Ganda Singh border in Kasur and the government was closely monitoring the situation.
“Monitoring the River Satluj flood situation closely as 278,000 cusecs of water rush near Ganda Singh Border, Kasur because of water discharge from indian side. Visited flood-affected areas and relief camps today. Appreciation for district Administration, Rescue 1122, Police, and Irrigation teams for their 24/7 efforts over the past 3 days. This flood is unprecedented in 35 years, but our teams are on the ground, dedicated to securing and helping our people. Insha Allah, we’ll get through this together. On the other hand, the district administration of Lahore imposed section 144 in the areas along river Sutlej under which the evacuation of every person from the flood affected villages is mandatory. In a statement, Commissioner Lahore Muhammad Ali Randhawa said Police is also being deployed to protect the vacated villages. He said out of fifteen villages, four villages are without electricity and 92 percent of the population has been evacuated from nine villages.
The water level at Head Ganda Singhwala in Kasur has exceeded 23 feet, as there has been a further increase in the volume of the flood current released from India into the Sutlej.
Resultantly, there is a constant rise in the water level in the third spell of Sutlej River. The flood current has destroyed dozens of villages and thousands of acres of farmland.
More water will be released into Sutlej from India. The crops of paddy, turmeric, maize and taro (arvi) have been destroyed by the floods, while several villages have bene submerged.
The flow of water at Ganda Singhwala in Kasur has reached 278,297 cusecs. The very high flood level is likely to persist for the next 24 hours.
The release of a flood current from the Ferozepur Barrage has worsened the situation in Kasur, while the administrations of Okara, Pakpattan, and Vihari districts are on high alert.
A massive current is set to start arriving at Sulemanki Barrage in Okara this afternoon. In this regard, rescue agencies have delivered more boats and other safety equipment. In a statement issued today, Punjab PDMA Director General Imran Qureshi said there were reports that India would keep releasing water in Pakistan on a daily basis until Aug 21. It asked all the departments to remain on high alert.
According to the authority, settlements near the River Sutlej were being evacuated and essentials such as food, shelter and medicines were being provided to the people.