No assistance from emergency response teams came to people trapped in cars on flooded roads, premises

Rawalpindi   -   Hundreds of homes and shops have been inundated in and around Rawalpindi’s largest Raja Bazaar in flash floods caused by heavy rains here on Monday.

Vehicles and motorcycles were also washed away by flash floods. The torrential rains have also disrupted lives of thousands of people in other parts of the district as roads and streets of many areas remain inundated in waist-deep water. Water level in Nullah Leh also rose up to 15 feet, forcing the emergency response teams including Rescue 1122 buzzing emergency sirens in the suburbs.

The Met Office has predicted more rain-wind/thunderstorm in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Gilgit Baltistan. According to Met Office, Saidpur Village received 31mm rain; Golra 100mm, Bokra/PMD 72mm, Shamasabad 27mm and Chaklala 33mm.

Following the orders of district government high-ups, the teams of Rescue 1122 and other civic bodies including Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) and Rawalpindi and Chaklala Cantonment Boards have been deployed in the city as a precautionary measure.

However, there was no official of emergency response teams in field anywhere in the city to rescue the people trapped in cars on flooded roads or premises.

As per details, the torrential rain in the city has led to flash flooding and disruption on the roads. A number of areas including Raja Bazaar, Mochi Bazaar, Purana Qila, Urdu Bazaar, Nankari Bazaar, Bohar Bazaar, Lal Haveli, Ganjmandi, Gawalmandi, Jamia Masjid Road, Moti Bazaar, Kohati Bazaar, Banni, Waris Khan, Mohan Pura, City Saddar Road, Kashmiri Bazaar, Fawara Chowk, Sooter Mandi and College Road were submerged in rain water. Flooding caused problems for residents and shopkeepers of the area. Rescue 1122 and other civic bodies’ officials were unable to help the people trapped in flash floods.

Dozens of vehicles and motorcycles were swept away by the flash floods in the areas. The traders and shopkeepers also suffered loss of millions of rupees after rain water entered their shops and godowns in Raja Bazaar and its suburbs.

Floods towards Lal Haveli, Bohar Bazaar, Purana Qila, Urdu Bazaar and Jamia Masjid Road were filmed by social media users triggering a panic among the viewers who also lashed out at the concerned provincial authorities and city district government Rawalpindi high-ups for not rescuing the flood affected people.

The situation was also worst at Dhoke Mangtal, Dhoke Hassu, Nadim Colony, Afshan Colony, Millat Colony, Fauji Colony, Pirwadhai, Shalley Valley, Sadiqabad, Kuri Road, Trolley Ada and Adyala Road as rain water entered into house causing great troubles for residents.

Pirwadhai Underpass, Committee Chowk Underpass, Katcheri Road Underpass and many other roads including Old Airport Road have also seen big floods triggering massive traffic jams and paralysing normal life.

A state of emergency has also been declared in the government run hospitals to cope with medical emergencies.

“Flash floods swept away all our belongings and we are standing helpless here waiting for help from the government,” said Mustafa Khan, a local trader in Raja Bazaar. He said that the flash floods played havoc in the area and the district government did nothing for the affected people.

Saima Bibi, a resident of Jamia Masjid Road, said that she was sleeping along with her kids in the house when rain water entered and all most all household items were floating in water. She said she made calls to various government emergency services but found no response from any emergency service.

Monsoon rains are common in Rawalpindi around this time of the year but the civic bodies never ever make any preparation to save the public from devastation cause by floods, said many other citizens.

They said that the sewerage systems are chocked while the Nullahs passing through thickly populated areas have been encroached by the grabbers. They said that rain water enters into populated areas due to narrow Nullahs mostly having been grabbed by land mafia.

Hundreds of people reportedly migrate to safer places from flood affected areas of Rawalpindi,   putting a serious question mark on the performance of the district government, provincial authorities and several emergency response services.

Meanwhile, WASA spokesman told media that the officials and head of civic body remained in the field to help out and rescue the people in flood hit areas.   “We brought heavy machinery in the areas where rain water inundated and pumped it out with equipment, making roads open for traffic and public,” he said.

DC Rawalpindi Tahir Farooq also visited the disaster management control room to supervise relief and rescue efforts, as residents were seen wading through high waters as sewers overflowed, filling roads with mud and garbage.

In many areas, transport remained off the roads putting the passengers into huge troubles. Business activities remained slow in most parts of the area.

Cab drivers reportedly fleeced the stranded passengers. Traffic Police Wardens could be seen making efforts to ease traffic jams that occurred due to floods on roads.

Meanwhile, Rescue 1122 divers found body of an unknown man under Gawalmandi Bridge. The rescuers shifted the body to DHQ Hospital for autopsy. According to rescuers, the man is believed to be swept away by flash floods caused by heavy rain.

On the other hand, Rescue 1122 also recovered body of another man who drowned in Soan River a couple of days ago. The deceased identified as Mustafa alias Kala. Rescue 1122 fished out body at Kot Fateh Khan and moved to hospital for autopsy.