Spring rains raise flood risk: NDMA

In Local
April 20, 2024



QUETTA/
PESHAWAR/
ISLAMABAD/
LAHORE:

The ongoing spring rains have heightened the risk of flooding in three provinces of the country, leading the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to direct relevant authorities to remain vigilant.

In a statement issued on Friday, the NDMA spokesperson stated that the recent series of rains in Pakistan may persist intermittently until April 22.

As a result of this rainfall, flooding is expected in Kech, Kalat, Khuzdar, and Awaran districts of Balochistan. There is a risk of flooding in Malakand, Swabi, Kohistan, Mardan, Shangla, Charsadda, Swat, and Nowshera of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) until April 21.

Flooding is also anticipated in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur districts in Punjab. Further rainfall and hailstorms are expected in selected areas of Balochistan, K-P, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir from April 25 to 29.

All district administrations, Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs), and other administrative agencies have been instructed to remain alert for any emergency situations.

The heavy rains in various districts of K-P have resulted in the loss of 36 lives so far. According to a PDMA report, the deceased include 20 children, eight men, and eight women.

Forty-six people have also sustained injuries in rain-related accidents. The injured include nine women, 33 men, and 11 children.

Rains have damaged a total of 2,003 houses in various districts of K-P, resulting in collapsed walls and roofs. Some 388 houses have been completely destroyed, according to the PDMA.

The recent heavy rains have caused loss of life and property in Khyber, Upper and Lower Dir, Chitral Upper and Lower, Swat, Bajaur, Shangla, Mansehra, Mohmand, Malakand, Kurram, Tank, Mardan, Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera, Buner, Hangu, Battagram, Bannu, North and South Waziristan, Kohat, DI Khan, and Kozai.

On the special directive of the K-P chief minister, the PDMA has released Rs110 million to the affected district administrations for financial assistance to the families of the deceased and relief activities.

The PDMA has provided relief supplies to the affected districts of Swat, Chitral Lower, Bajaur, Kohistan Lower, Peshawar, Nowshera, Mohmand, Upper Dir, Tank, and DI Khan. Relief items include tents, mats, kitchen sets, blankets, beds, tarps, solar lamps, and other daily life items, and relief activities are ongoing in the affected districts.

Torrential rains have claimed 16 lives in Balochistan over the past three days. Among the deceased are six men, five women, and five children, with the majority of fatalities occurring in the Chaman district.

Chaman district bore the brunt of the devastation, with eight reported deaths and extensive damage to property. Sixty homes were completely destroyed, while over 100 suffered partial damage. Additionally, two bridges and twelve roads were washed away, disrupting transportation and further exacerbating the crisis. The situation escalated in Gwadar and the Makran belt, where flash floods inundated vast areas, leaving them submerged.

According to the PDMA, rescue efforts are underway in affected districts, with 55 individuals successfully evacuated from affected areas. In response to the dire circumstances, the provincial government has declared a state of emergency to facilitate swift and coordinated action.

Authorities are mobilizing resources to provide relief and support to those affected while also focusing on long-term measures to mitigate the impact of future disasters, said an official statement.

A new series of rainfall is expected in Punjab from April 23, with light rainfall expected in upper Punjab regions.

According to a statement issued by the PDMA, thunderstorms with heavy rainfall and hailstorms are possible in upper Punjab from April 26 to April 29.

“An alert for rainfall has already been issued across Punjab from April 18 to April 21. Farmers are advised to consider the weather conditions before harvesting wheat crops,” it said, adding that the next ten days are crucial for rescue agencies and district administrations.

It said as per the directives of the Punjab chief minister, the administration is on alert 24/7.

“The provincial administration of all districts has been informed about the new weather conditions. The PDMA is closely monitoring the weather situation. Efforts will be made to minimize damage from natural disasters and rainfall,” it said.

The statement issued by the NDMA said it has advised the relevant authorities to make necessary arrangements, especially regarding wheat harvesting, while keeping an eye on the weather.

“Tourists and travelers are urged to avoid unnecessary travel to mountainous areas. If travel is essential, they should stay informed about the weather conditions and routes.

“Avoid crossing rain-fed streams. Stay away from electricity poles, temporary structures, broken walls, and roofs. Residents of hilly areas should be cautious of the risk of landslides.

“Avoid traveling in vehicles such as bicycles, motorcycles, or open-roof cars during lightning. Stay away from tall buildings, trees, poles, mountains, antennas, mobile towers, etc.,” it added.

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