Monsoon rains death toll rises to 903 n Floodwaters damage 495,000 houses in 116 districts, reports NDMA

n River Indus runs furious: FFC n Train service suspended as flood washes away Balochistan’s historic Rail Bridge

n More rescuers sent to Dera, Tank, to help people trapped in flood lanes n Minister for Climate Change says Pakistan hit with worst humanitarian disaster of this decade.

ISLAMABAD/QUETTA/DI KHAN   -   Flash floods caused by heavy monsoon rains wreaked havoc across the country, killing at least 903 people and leaving about 50,000 people homeless. At least 73 people lost their lives in the last 24 hours across the country.

The above normal monsoon rains across the country on Thurs­day caused further surge in the lives and property losses as the total death count in various inci­dents reached 903 and 1,293 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.

Expressing deep sor­row over loss of precious lives and extensive dam­age to infrastructure due to unprecedented rains floods, the top military com­manders Thursday resolved to spare no efforts for mitigating the sufferings of flood affectees.

The heavy rains caused roof col­lapse incidents in Balochistan’s four different areas including two men died in Loralai, a man died in Duki, one in Sibbi and one in Mu­sakhel whereas three children got injured in Duki.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dis­trict Dera Ismail Khan, incidents of roof collapse as a result of heavy rain were reported at dif­ferent sites that caused death of a male and injured a male and a female. In Punjab’s district Ra­janpur, five males died due to drowning in high flow waters.

In Sindh, five men, a wom­an and a child died in Noushe­ro Feroze, four man perished in Larkana, a man , a woman and a child died in Shaheed Bena­zirabad, a man and three chil­dren died in Jacobabad, a wom­an and a child expired in Badin, a woman in Sanghar died, two children in Tando Muhammad Khan, two children in Kashmore and one in Dadu died during various incidents.

There was no incident or loss to report in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Is­lamabad Capital Territory (ICT). In Gilgit Baltistan (GB), the Mu­jawir Road at Ishkoman Immit Valley was blocked due to flash flood where restoration work was in progress.

In Balochistan, the high flow of water blocked the N-25 Quet­ta-Karachi Highway as it washed away the Lunda Bridge. Similar­ly the M-8 motorway was also blocked due to land sliding.

The report highlighted that a widespread thunderstorm and rain of heavy to very heavy in­tensity with extremely heavy falls at isolated places was ex­pected over Sindh, Eastern Ba­lochistan along with Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan Divi­sions. It further highlighted that scattered to widespread thun­derstorm and rain of moderate to heavy intensity with isolat­ed very heavy falls was expect­ed over the upper catchments of Rivers Kabul and Indus.

Moreover, scattered thunder­storm and rain of moderate in­tensity was expected over the upper catchments of Rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sut­lej along with Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Gujran­wala, Lahore, Multan, Bahawal­pur, Peshawar, Kohat and Bannu Divisions. It added that isolated thunderstorm and rain was ex­pected over rest of the country except Western Balochistan.

‘A NATIONAL EMERGENCY’

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Au­rangzeb has termed floods sit­uation in the country a nation­al emergency. In a statement on Thursday, she said a na­tional spirit is required to cope with the devastation caused by the calamity in Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

The Information Minister asked the countrymen including overseas Pakistanis to give do­nations for the help of flood vic­tims, noting that a big amount will be required in view of the large scale devastation. The do­nations can be deposited in the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund 2022 Account No.’G-12164’.

Marriyum Aurangzeb said the federal government is working in coordination with provinces, and resources are being mobi­lized to extend relief to the af­fected people. Alluding to the difficulties being faced in rescue and relief activities due to heavy rains and floods, she said these could be accelerated with the help of the people.

‘Exceptionally high level flooding expected in DG Khan’

The Federal Flood Commis­sion (FFC) said that the River In­dus was flowing in “High Flood” in Guddu-Sukkur reach and in “Medium Flood” at Taunsa with water discharge of 580,000 cu­secs and 471,000 cusecs respec­tively. According to daily FFC report on Thursday, the Riv­er Indus was in “Low Flood” in Kalabagh-Chashma reach (up­stream Taunsa) and at Kotri Barrage while the river Kabul (a tributary of river Indus down­stream Tarbela) was also in “Low Flood” both at Warsak and Nowshera. The report said that very high to exceptionally high level flooding was expected in the hill torrents of DG Khan Di­vision (Punjab) and in the riv­ers/nullahs of eastern Baloch­istan during the next 24 hours.

In addition to this, flows gen­erated from hill torrents of DG Khan division may cause me­dium to high level flooding at Taunsa during the said period. Other main rivers of the Indus River System (the Jhelum, Chen­ab, Ravi and Sutlej) were dis­charging normal flows.

Tarbela Reservoir has already attained its maximum conserva­tion level (MCL) of 1550.00 feet since 20th August 2022, while Mangla Dam is at 1179.30 feet against its MCL of 1242 feet.

Present combined live storage of Tarbela, Chashma and Man­gla reservoirs was recorded at 9.022 MAF (i.e. 67.02 % of 13.461 MAF). Yesterday’s depression over southwestern Rajasthan (India) and adjoining Sindh (Pa­kistan) had weakened into well marked low pressure area and lied over Central Sindh (Pakistan) and it was likely to weaken fur­ther. Yesterday’s trough of west­erly wave over northern parts of Afghanistan lied over north­eastern Afghanistan and adjoin­ing areas while seasonal low pre­vailed over western Balochistan.

Moderate to strong moist cur­rents both from Arabian sea and Bay of Bengal were penetrating over most parts of Pakistan up to 12,000 feet. Under the in­fluence of prevailing weath­er system, widespread thun­derstorm/rain of heavy to very heavy intensity with extreme­ly heavy falls at isolated places was expected over Punjab (D.G. Khan Division), Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa (D.I. Khan Division) and north and northeastern Ba­lochistan including over the up­per catchment areas of rivers Indus and Kabul.

Scattered thunderstorm/rain of moderate intensity with iso­lated heavy falls was expected over Islamabad, Punjab (Rawal­pindi, Gujranwala and Sargodha divisions), Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Peshawar, Kohat and Bannu divisions), besides over upper catchments of rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej. Scattered thunderstorm/rain of moderate intensity was also forecast over rest of Pakistan except Western Balochistan.

Rainfall activity is likely to subside significantly from Fri­day (August 26) over the upper catchments of all the major riv­ers except the upper catchments of rivers Indus and Kabul.

However, high to very high level flooding may occur in the river Kabul at Nowshera and Tributaries of rivers Kabul and Indus from August 25th to 26th.

‘Historic Rail Bridge’

Continuous downpour and hill torrents on Monday washed away Balochistan’s historic Rail Bridge in Hairak area of Bolan district causing suspension of the train service between Ba­lochistan and rest of the country. Historically famous Mach Bridge had been built during British rule in the sub-continent in 1884.

Due to the demolition of the ancient bridge, it is feared that Balochistan would remain cut off with rest of the country for an indefinite time. It may be mentioned here that rail service to other provinces is suspended for over a week as urban flood­ing has submerged the railway track at Notal, Dera Murad Ja­mali areas. “Railway authorities and local administration has the reached the site to initiate re­pair work,” railway official told newsmen. However, the bridge collapse would take at least a month to get it repaired and re­sume train service to KPK, Sindh and Punjab from Balochistan.

‘MORE RESCUERS SENT TO DERA, TANK’

Rescue 1122 is carrying out re­lief operations in the districts of Dera Ismail Khan and Tank affect­ed by the rain-induced floods and so far rescued over 780 people and shifted them to safe places.

According to Rescue 1122 spokesperson, the people trapped in the flood lanes are being pulled out from different flood-hit areas of both the districts. The rescued people included women, chil­dren and elderly people who are being carried on boats and on shoulders by the officials of Res­cue 1122.

He informed that the more teams of Rescue 1122 were dispatched from Mardan, Nowshera and Charsadda to Dera Ismail Khan and Tank as the flash floods wrecked hav­oc in these districts, destroying dozens of villages here.

The rainwater was being drained from different areas by heavy machinery and dewater­ing pumps, he said.

The Rescue 1122 has set up medical camps in different areas where first aid was being pro­vided to patients and injured on the spot while seriously injured were being taken to hospital in ambulances. The Rescue 1122 was on alert while the leaves of all personnel had also been can­celled, he informed.

MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE SAYS PAKISTAN HIT WITH WORST HUMANITARIAN DISASTER OF THIS DECADE

Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Reh­man, while referring to the hav­oc by the ongoing unprecedent­ed monsoon rains and floods, has said that Pakistan is cur­rently facing the worst human­itarian disaster of the decade as the rains and floods have so far left over 900 people dead, with 73 fresh deaths on Thurs­day, along with displacement of huge population and damag­es to infrastructure, properties and agriculture. “Pakistan is un­der an unprecedented monsoon spell and data suggests the pos­sibility of re-emergence of an­other cycle in September,” said the minister at a press confer­ence here yesterday.

“Monstrous monsoon cycles have taken 913 lives and dis­placed millions,” she disclosed stressing, “Pakistan is going through its 8th cycle of mon­soon while normally the coun­try has only 3 to 4 cycles of rain.

However, she said, we are all painfully aware that there is a distressing gap between re­sources and rescue operations and the number of people in need of urgent shelter; with 33 million affected we will need in­ternational humanitarian assis­tance to give a modicum of relief and food security for now.”

Discussing the ongoing re­lief operations, the minister said that the amount of water on the ground has inundated huge swathes of Pakistan, with 33 mil­lion affected, many stranded. “The water is not flowing from the north as was in 2010, but it is equally or more devastating in its sweep and destructive pow­er. NDMA is conducting needs as­sessment and we are working to send out UN’s flash appeal,” she said adding that our federal and provincial governments are run­ning out of resources. She said transport lines and roads are damaged and submerged, cut­ting off access to areas. The Prime minister has initiated a relief ac­count where public can contrib­ute. At the same time it is import­ant to stress that the recurrent and frequent spells of monsoon downpours have made it hard to carry out relief operations, espe­cially helicopter sorties.

Stressing the need for relief from international donors, the Minister said, “The need for shelter and relief is dire as per what the provinces have con­veyed to us. But it is still an evolving situation and every day the needs assessments are changing as the rains don’t stop and the water keeps coming.”

She said the homeless num­bers are growing, with Sindh asking for one million tents and Balochistan 100,000. This is a huge number. All tent manufac­turers have been mobilised and external donors asked for tents. It is beyond the capacity of any federal or provincial govern­ment to rehabilitate and manage rescue, relief and shelter, as our resources are limited, she said.