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Sunday August 07, 2022

Sherry Rehman terms rain casualties 'national tragedy' as death toll climbs to 77

Climate change minister Sherry Rehman calls for comprehensive plans to avert destruction, says Balochistan saw most deaths

By Web Desk
July 06, 2022
Residents clear debris of a damaged house due to a heavy monsoon rainfall on the outskirts of Quetta on July 5, 2022. — AFP
Residents clear debris of a damaged house due to a heavy monsoon rainfall on the outskirts of Quetta on July 5, 2022. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman on Wednesday said that at least 77 people have lost their lives as monsoon rains wreak havoc across the country, with 39 deaths reported from Balochistan alone.

The current monsoon rains left hundreds of homes destroyed and hampered rescue operations in remote areas of the country.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the minister termed the casualties a "national tragedy" and said that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has prepared a national contingency plan to deal with the situation during the monsoon season.

The NDMA has also called on people to stay alert to prevent further damage, she added.

“We need a comprehensive plan to avert these [deaths and devastation] as all of this destruction is taking place due to climate change."

The rains have not stopped and will continue till July 8, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), which has also warned of water logging in low-lying areas.

More rains

Although it did not rain heavily in Karachi till the end of Wednesday afternoon, the metropolis is expected to receive 40-50mm of rain under the influence of a strong weather system that has developed over the sea.

The meteorological department said that low air pressure is present in the south of Sindh which is getting moisture from the North Arabian Sea.

It added that intermittent moderate rain-thunderstorms — isolated heavy falls at sometimes — were expected in Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Thatta, Hyderabad, and Tando Allayar till July 8.

The department also forecast rains till the same date in Tando Muhammad Khan, Jamshoro, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Dadu, Noshero Feroz, Qambar Shahdadkot, Larkana, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Sukkur districts, and Karachi.

“These rains may cause water logging in low-lying areas in Karachi Division, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Dadu, Qambar Shahdadkot, Shikarpur, Larkana, Jacobabad and Sukkur Districts,” the meteorological department said.

Balochistan

Following the deaths of dozens of people, the Balochistan government declared Quetta a disaster-struck area and imposed a state of emergency in the provincial capital.

Due to torrential rains, the rivers and canals of the province overflowed. As of Wednesday morning, more than 20 were injured when the walls and roofs of dozens of houses collapsed and people drowned as well due to flash floods.

According to the Balochistan Disaster Management Authority, Qila Saifullah, Zhob, Pishin and Harnai districts have been the most affected by the rains, whereas flood conditions have also been reported in Muslim Bagh, Qamaruddin, and Khushnoob.

There were flash floods overnight in several villages of Khushnoob, and a link bridge was swept away, making it difficult for rescue workers to reach the affected people.

According to the assistant commissioner, the wards and emergency rooms of Muslim Bagh Civil Hospital were flooded, while rain in the hilly areas of Muslim Bagh damaged more than 100 houses.

Moreover, the link roads of Kan Mehtarzai, Loi Band, and Ragha Sultanzai were washed away in the floods.

The Chaman administration has said that more than 70 houses were affected by the floods in Badizai and Torkhel areas, while the Harnai-Punjab-Loralai Highway has been closed for traffic due to torrential rains.

According to Levies officials, part of the Valin Dam in the Afghan border area of ​​Qamaruddin broke, causing water to enter low-lying areas and flood 11 homes. The affectees have been shifted to safer places.

The Levies officials said most of the access roads to remote areas of Qila Saifullah, Zhob, and Harnai have been affected and rescue operations hampered in several areas.