QUETTA: The intense rainy spell has once again wreaked havoc in Balochistan as flashfloods in Qila Abdullah and several other areas have inundated scores of villages and killed as many as six people last night, it emerged on Saturday.
Balochistan province which was already reeling from the previous spell of torrential rains and floods, is once again exposed to the ravages of natural calamity. According to the NDMA, the number of rain-related deaths have reached 182 in the province and several villages have submerged in floodwaters.
Three dams have washed away and many link roads have been destroyed in Qila Abdullah. The train service between Chaman and Quetta has also been affected due to floodwater in the area. Scores of cattle head have perished and crops and orchards ruined. The traffic between Quetta and Karachi was also suspended as the linking highway had been damaged in different areas of Lasbela district.
According to Commissioner Kalat Division Dawood Khilji, the recently established alternate route at Landa area of Uthal on National Highway was washed away by flood on Friday. He appealed to the public to avoid traveling on the Quetta-Karachi highway.
The PDMA rescue teams are present in the area and are providing rescue services to people stranded in the flood-hit areas. PDMA DG Faisal Panezi said that so far 1,000 people were rescued who were trapped in far-off villages and they were shifted to safer places. He said two people died and two went missing in Qila Abdullah.
He informed that along with the PDMA, Pak Army, FC and district administration were providing rescue services. He said that food supplies and tents for 500 families had also been provided. Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qadoos Bizenjo expressed his grave concern over massive damage to Qila Abdullah, Chaman, Lasbela and Muslim Bagh due to heavy rains. He contacted the public representatives and district administration officials of the flood-ravaged areas directing them to visit the affected areas and provide all-possible help to the affectees.
In a statement, the chief minister directed the immediate rescue of the people trapped in flood water. He also said that the communication links in flood affected areas should be restored on priority basis. Traffic between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan was suspended for the second time this month as a temporary steel bridge installed at the Karakoram Highway (KKH) was swept away by flash flood in the Ichar nullah area of Upper Kohistan on Friday.
In Karachi, the fourth rainy spell is also continued with all its ferocity. Different areas in the city including Malir, University Road, Super Highway, Gulzar Hijri and its adjoining areas received heavy downpour, flooding their streets. The flow of traffic was badly affected due to inundation of city streets. The Met department on Friday forecast thunderstorms with a few “heavy” to “very heavy” rainfalls and occasional strong winds in several parts of Sindh in the next two days.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Meteorological has predicted a new spell of torrential rains and “vigourous” monsoon activity in the country from August 14 (Sunday) to August 18 (Thursday) and warned of flooding in several areas of Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh, including Karachi, during the forecast period. According to a Met Office alert issued on Saturday, a depression has developed in the Arabian Sea, which is likely move towards the Makran coast in Balochistan. Under the influence of this weather system, monsoon currents were continuously penetrating in southern parts of the country, the Met Office said, adding that another low-pressure area was likely to enter Sindh on August 16. Consequently, “rain-wind/thundershower (with few heavy falls)” were expected in Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir from August 14 to August 16 with occasional gaps“, the Met Office said.
And Balochistan and Sindh were expected to receive more “widespread rain-wind/thundershowers (with scattered heavy to very heavy falls)” between August 16 and 18, it added. According to the Met Office, heavy showers could cause urban flooding in several areas of Sindh, including Karachi, Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas between August 14 and August 18. In addition to these areas, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Faisalabad, Lahore and Gujranwala could also experience urban flooding from August 14 to August 16.
The Met Office also warned of flash floods in Balochistan’s Qila Saifullah, Loralai, Barkhan, Kohlu, Moua Khel, Sherani, Sibi, Bolan, Kalat, Khuzdar, Lasbela, Awaran, Turbat, Panjgur, Pasni, Jiwani, Ormara, Gwadar, as well as the hill torrents of Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab from August 14 to August 18. It added that heavy rain could also trigger flash floods in the nullahs of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Shakargarh, Sialkot, Narowal, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Dir, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Bannu and Kashmir on August 15 and August 16. The Met Office further said that rain could trigger landslides in Kashmir, hilly areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Galiyat, Murree, Chilas, Diamer, Gilgit, Hunza, Astore, Ghizer and Skardu during the forecast period.