- Army, rescue personnel in action as flood sirens sound at Nullah Leh where water level is rising dangerously with the Met Department forecasting more rains
Heavy rains lashed the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi on Tuesday, inundating low lying areas, causing traffic jams, and increasing water to dangerous levels in Nullah Leh.
Water level in Nullah Leh in Rawalpindi was recorded at 24 feet but rose to 25 feet later in the day creating panic among residents residing around the nullah. The water level in Gawalmandi rose to 21 feet but fell to less than 20 feet later. The Met Department issued a red alert and the Rawalpindi administration instructed the residents of the adjoining areas to evacuate immediately.
Rainwater submerged low-lying areas near Katarian, Javed Colony, Aryan Mohallah, Gawalmandi, Millat Colony, Mohallah Workshopee, Gawala Road, Ratta Amral, Dhoke Ratta, Phagwari and Mohllah Raja Sultan. Rawalpindi’s Javaid Colony recorded flooding of up to 10 feet, whereas in Katarian the flooding was recorded around 24 feet. As a precautionary measure, authorities have cut electricity supply in these areas.
The main roads of the twin cities were completely flooded with water including Islamabad Expressway, Constitution Avenue and Murree Road stranding vehicles. The ponds of water exposed the blocked drainage system and lack of effort on the part of the authorities. No sewerage staff was seen clearing the roads of water.
The fallen trees made it even more difficult for the motorists to reach their destinations. However, spillways of Rawal Dam were opened to discharge additional water.
Meanwhile, the army’s help has been sought for relief and rescue efforts in different flood hit areas of Rawalpindi. The troops have been deployed at sensitive locations along the bank of Nullah Leh.
Executive District Officer (EDO) Raja Zaheer said that rain water has inundated houses in low-lying areas where the district administration is coordinating with all operational wings engaged in vacating the residents. Commissioner Chaudhry Khalid Masood and District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sajid Zafar visited different sections of the Nullah Leh and monitored the water situation. They directed Rawal Town Administrator Muhammad Ali Randhawa and the EDO to ensure close coordination with all departments for effective rescue and relief operation.
PDMA Director General Punjab Captain (R) Muhammad Asif has said that arrangements to cope with expected floods have been completed.
He said that PDMA has dispatched emergency relief goods including tents, boats and life jackets to the high risk districts.
TWO WASHED AWAY IN FLOOD: Two people lost their lives in twin cities besides injuring around a half a dozen others.
Sardar Ali Khan (40), drowned in the water near Jandala Sawan in the precincts of Sihala Police station, whereas a 35-year-old woman was swept away by flood waters in a nullah near Kachnar Park, Sector I-8.
In another incident, three young men were washed away in Nullah Leh near Ratta Amral. Rescue sources said that one of them was saved, while the search for the remaining two was in progress.
The monsoon rains have already killed around 80 people and left over 81,000 displaced, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
WEATHER FORECAST: The Met Department has forecast widespread rain and thundershowers with scattered heavy falls in Punjab, including Islamabad, during the next two days.The Met Office spokesperson said that 189 mm rain was recorded in Islamabad and 100 mm in Rawalpindi.
According to the report, intermittent rain and thundershower with heavy rain is expected in Kashmir and Galgit-Baltistan during first half of the week which may cause landslides. Scattered rain and thundershowers may also occur in northern and southeastern parts of Punjab, including Islamabad during second half of the week (August 15 to 18) with occasional gaps, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the next two days.
The NDMA has warned of floods in Malakand, Hazara, Mardan, Peshawar, Sargodha, Lahore, Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Zhob. People have been asked to shift to safe areas. With more rain forecast later this month it is feared that tributaries of the rivers Ravi and Chenab in Punjab could burst out from their banks. Fifty-one districts (out of more than 100) have been identified as highly vulnerable to floods.