Intermittent rains batter KP, Punjab; 11 more killed

  • Met Office forecasts more rains from March 16

At least 11 people were killed and many others wounded as incessant torrential rains continued to batter parts of the country for the third consecutive day, officials and rescuers said on Friday, with the Met Office forecasting more rains of the same intensity from March 16.

In the worst rain-related mishap, at least seven workers were killed while several others were buried under the debris when a coalmine collapsed in Orakzai Agency. Rescuers said 65 labourers were inside the mine when it collapsed due to torrential rains.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government confirmed the death of at least seven miners in the mishap. “Ten injured miners have been rescued and shifted to hospitals,” PTI lawmaker Shaukat Yousafzai said, adding that efforts were being made to save the remaining miners. He said all the labourers belonged to Shangla Town.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed grief over the loss of lives in the mine collapse, and directed the federal agencies to rescue the stranded miners.

In Lahore, a man died when the roof of his house collapsed. Another person was killed in Balochistan in a rain-related incident. Two more deaths were reported from other parts of the country.

In Mardan’s Takht Bhai area, a man and his two sons sustained injuries when the roof of their house caved in. Hospital sources said one of the boys was in critical condition. Officials said heavy downpours in Mardan and other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa brought normal life and business activities to a standstill.

Separately, a three-storey building collapsed due to heavy showers in Azad Kashmir’s Mirpur area. The building had been declared dilapidated a year ago. Fortunately, no loss of life was reported in the mishap.

According to the Met Office, widespread rain/thundershowers accompanied by strong gusty winds are expected in upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Malakand, Hazara, Peshawar, Mardan, Kohat divisions), upper Punjab (Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore divisions), Islamabad, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir with isolated hailstorm.

Heavy downpours are expected in upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Malakand, Hazara, Peshawar, Mardan, Kohat divisions), FATA, Kashmir, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, and Lahore divisions. Dry weather is expected in Sindh and Balochistan during the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Meteorological Department Director General Dr Ghulam Rasool said a new weather system would engulf the country from Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Punjab and other parts of the country which would continue till March 19.

He said that normally such a severe rain pattern was not observed in spring season but due to El Nino climate cycles, the temperatures of the Pacific Ocean was warmer than normal. “These anomalies are the hallmark of El Nino climate cycles which can influence weather patterns across the globe,” he added.

The DG further said that this summer in May and June severe hot and dry weather was expected which might generate heat waves resulting in intense heat weather conditions till the first half of June.

Nevertheless, due to change in weather conditions and global warming, Swat Valley for the first time received snowfall in March.

Earlier, torrential rains had killed at least 14 people across the country, mostly in the Balochistan province, according to disaster management officials. These deaths occurred during the last 48 hours in different parts of the oil and gas rich Balochistan province that borders Iran and Afghanistan.


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