- Four children, a woman and eight security officials among the deceased after a mosque and 35 houses washed away in Orsoon, a village in Chitral;
- 10 people offering Taraweeh at the mosque and six members of the same family including four children among the dead; No warning issued for the flood;
- Provincial govt also slammed for slow response to tragedy; District administration, Pakistan Army troops and locals busy in rescue ops;
- Provincial govt releases Rs 50 million for flood-hit areas; Announces Rs 300,000 for the families of the deceased; Rs 100,000 to be given for fully damaged houses and Rs 50,000 for partially damaged ones
At least 31 people including eight security officials, a woman and four children were killed as torrential rains lashed Chitral, causing flash flooding in the district late on Saturday.
The flash floods, coming from the Afghanistan side, swept away a mosque, several houses and an army check post in the remote village of Orsoon, bordering Afghanistan. The flash floods left a trail of destruction in the southern part of Chitral. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has declared a red alert in the flood-hit areas.
There were serious questions about the handling of the crisis by the provincial government as the citizens said there was no early warning which meant that the residents of vulnerable localities were caught completely unaware when the flash flood came and washed away inhabited areas. Even after the disaster struck, locals said the government was tardy with the rescue effort and many in flood-hit areas were forced to look for their loved ones all on their own.
“Rescuers have recovered 16 bodies so far,” Chitral District Nazim Maghfirat Shah said, adding that 17 people were injured during the rains and subsequent flooding.
Shah said 10 people were offering Taraweeh at a mosque in Orsoon when flood water washed away the mosque and a house. He said six member of a family including four children and their parents are among the dead.
Chitral DPO Asif Iqbal confirmed the account.
Osama Waraich, another senior local official, said that eight bodies of the missing villagers had been found from the Afghan side and six soldiers were still missing
Overall, 35 houses and a mosque were completely washed away, while 47 houses were partially damaged in Orsoon.
District administration, Pakistan Army troops and locals are taking part in rescue and relief operations in the affected areas.
Inter-Services Public Relations confirmed that army helicopters rescued at least four people ─ two with critical head injuries ─ from Orsoon village and transported them to District Headquarters Hospital, Chitral. Troops also provided food, tents and medical aid to affectees in the village. Lama helicopter of the army made five trips from Chitral to Ursoon and evacuated the injured, the ISPR statement said.
An evacuation operation is ongoing, the ISPR said, adding that a search operation for the missing people is underway.
‘ADMINISTRATION FAILED TO MOUNT EFFECTIVE RESCUE OPERATION’:
Some locals claimed that the administration had failed to launch an effective rescue operation and the affectees are searching for missing family members all on their own.
A local resident, Sajid told a private new channel over the telephone that the administration had failed to issue early warnings because of which residents of vulnerable localities could not manage to evacuate the areas prior to the floods. “We are still waiting for rescue teams to evacuate the area.”
One of the reasons behind the delayed response was that the rains had destroyed the area’s communication system, Deputy Commissioner Chitral Usama Waraich said, adding that it was too early to determine the degree of damage.
Reports say that many areas have been cut off from the main city of Chitral due to land sliding.
31 PERISH, 82 HOUSES DAMAGED IN FLOOD:
“There was panic in the area because people were running as the floods compelled hundreds of residents to leave their homes,” Waraich said.
A Drosh police official said police had received reports of flooding between 9:30 and 10:00pm on Saturday night, adding, “We faced difficulties during the rescue operation due to darkness and heavy rain.”
The flash floods washed away a mosque and 35 houses completely, while 47 houses were partially damaged in Orsoon, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said.
The National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA) said it was in touch with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority and local officials in Chitral for provision of necessary assistance.
Those who died in this fatal incidence included Haleemullah son of Gul Zareen, Naeemulah S/O Gul Zareen, Mohibullah S/O Gul Zareen, Abdul Razzaq S/O Khan Muhammad, Abdul Lateef son of Abdul Razzaq, Shafeeq S/O Saeed Muhammad, Zakir S/O Azizullah, Noor Muhammad S/O Noor Islam, Abdul Salam S/O Gul Muhammad, Zawul S/O Gul Muhammad.
KP CM ANNOUNCES COMPENSATION, DIRECTS TO EXPEDITE RESCUE:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has declared red alert in the flood-hit areas and announced compensation for the loss of precious human lives and damages to property.
The provincial government announced an amount of Rs 300,000 for the families of those who died, while Rs 100,000 will be given to each injured person. Beside, Rs 100,000 will be given for fully damaged houses and Rs 50,000 for partially damaged ones.
Expressing grief and concern over the loss of precious human lives and property, the chief minister directed the district administration and PDMA to expedite the rescue operation for evacuation of the stranded people.
The chief minister said that an amount of Rs 50 million has been released for the provision of necessary items in order to mitigate the hardships and suffering of affectees.
He directed for accelerated efforts for distribution relief goods and 500 tents in addition to blankets and other items among those affected by the flood.
The chief minister asked for a detailed report on the loss of precious human lives, injured persons and the damaged property. The government, he assured, will prepare an overall recovery plan for all the losses and damage in the Chitral flood.
He said he shares the miseries and the hardships of the affectees and will not leave them alone in this hard time and will personally see to the completion of the overall recovery plan.
KP GOVT IS ‘VERY MUCH PRESENT’ IN FLOOD-HIT AREAS:
KP government spokesperson Mushtaq Ghani has said that the provincial government has released an amount of Rs 50 million for relief activities in rain and flood affected areas of Chitral and that more money will be released in due course of time. Besides, official helicopter of the KP chief minister has also been placed at the disposal of the PDMA for relief activities, he added.
In a statement issued Sunday, Mushtaq Ghani, who is also Special Assistant to Chief Minister said that relief activities in Chitral are in full swing and district administration is very much present in the affected areas. He said that so far 50 food and non food packages have been distributed in the affected areas.
He maintained that the NDMA had been requested for the provision of a helicopter to carry out relief activities in the inaccessible areas. Mushtaq Ghani said that joint search and rescue operation of the Pakistan Army, Police and Levies was underway to recover the missing individuals. He said that emergency was declared in Tehsil HQ Hospital Drosh.
POLITICIANS EXPRESS GRIEF, URGE AUTHORITIES TO SPEED UP RELIEF WORK:
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered the NDMA to expedite rescue work in the flood-hit areas of Chitral. The prime minister also expressed his sorrow over the loss of life.
Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan also expressed his condolence to the bereaved families and directed the provincial government to expedite rescue work.
Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also expressed his deep grief over the losses of human lives and properties in the rainstorm and flash floods in Chitral and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and urged the authorities and the PPP workers to reach out to the affected people immediately.
KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra also expressed deep grief over the losses caused by the flooding and directed the authorities to expedite rescue and relief activities in the affected areas.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed deep grief and anguish over the losses of human lives and properties in the rainstorm and urged the authorities and the PPP workers of the area to extend the required help to the affected people immediately, a statement released on Sunday said.