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Thursday May 23, 2024

Lightning, downpour death toll 51

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority has warned of landslides and flash floods because more rain expected in coming days

By Bureau report & News Desk
April 16, 2024
A stunning view of lightning during a thunderstorm before heavy rain late at night in Rawalpindi on June 15, 2023. — Online
A stunning view of lightning during a thunderstorm before heavy rain late at night in Rawalpindi on June 15, 2023. — Online

LAHORE/PESHAWAR: At least 51 people have died in storm-related incidents across Pakistan since Friday, including 28 killed by lightning, officials said on Monday.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has warned of landslides and flash floods because more rain is expected in coming days. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) witnessed the highest death toll with 22 people killed by lightning between Friday and Sunday, while 21 lost life in Punjab. Eight people became victim of heavy downpour in Balochistan.

“I have asked the NDMA to coordinate with the provinces and for the NDMA to provide relief goods to areas where damages occurred,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Monday. People living in open, rural areas are more at risk of being struck by lightning during thunderstorms.

At least eight people were killed in Balochistan, including seven struck by lightning, where 25 districts were battered by rain and some areas were flooded. Meanwhile, PMD said that Karachi could be hit by thunderstorm on Wednesday.

Schools in Sindh province were ordered shut on Monday and Tuesday, delaying the return of students after Eid-ul-Fitr holidays in Sindh. Four people were killed in road accidents linked to flooded roads in southern Sindh province.

Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, speaking to local media, blamed climate change for the surge in lightning incidents. Pakistan is increasingly vulnerable to unpredictable weather patterns, as well as often destructive monsoon rains that usually arrive in July.

Meanwhile, at least 22 people, mostly women and children, were killed and scores injured in roof and wall collapse incidents in various parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) as rains continued to lash the province on Monday.

In the provincial capital, many localities came under water when rainwater accumulated due to the blockage of the drainage system. Many low-lying areas got submerged in Peshawar. The Budhni Nullah flowing near Peshawar also overflowed due to the heavy rains.

TIMERGARA: Seven people, including women and children, were killed and many others injured as heavy rains battered all parts of Lower Dir district for the third consecutive day on Sunday, Rescue 1122 officials said. They said that four people were killed in Luqman Banda and two others in Skhawoono village in Asbarn area when the roofs of their houses caved in in rain-related incidents. One Saleem, a driver, was washed away by gushing water in Shamshi Khan Khwar in Talash.

In Maidan, rocks and mudslide hit the house of one Ibrahim, however, no casualties were reported. The rainwater inundated shops in Timergara Bazaar. The Rescue officials launched efforts to help the affected people.

BARA: Four members of a family were killed and seven others sustained injuries when the roof of a house collapsed due to rain in Bara tehsil in Khyber tribal district. It was learnt that the roof of a house collapsed in Akhakhel area in Bara when the family members were asleep.

Soon after the incident, the local people and Rescue 1122 officials rushed to the spot and launched the rescue efforts. They pulled out the bodies of a woman, a girl, a man identified as Roman Khan and 14-year-old Ibrar Khan. Seven people sustained injuries in the incident. The injured were taken to a hospital in Peshawar.

In another incident, a woman sustained injuries when a house caved in in the Sipah area in Bara. Member Provincial Assembly Abdul Ghani Afridi and officials of the district administration visited the affected areas and provided tents to the affected people.

BATKHELA: Three people were killed and four others injured in separate rain-related incidents in the Malakand district. Officials said that four people got trapped when the roof of a house collapsed in Alla Dhand Dheri in Batkhela tehsil in Malakand. Rescue 1122 officials rushed to the spot after learning about the incident. The head of the family, Munawwar Khan and his son Anees Khan were killed while his wife and another son were injured in the incident. The injured were taken to a hospital in Batkhela.

In another roof collapse incident in Sakha Kot area, a man identified as Gul Mohammad Khan was killed and his two children Maryam Bibi and Bilal sustained injuries. The wounded were taken to a hospital in Dargai.

The rains also caused flash flooding in the low-lying areas. The Swat River was in mid-level flood in Jalawanan area in Malakand. The local people were asked to relocate to safer places.

MINGORA: Two minor brothers were killed in a roof collapse incident in Manglawar area in Swat as heavy rains lashed the scenic valley over the last two days.

The deceased brothers were identified as Junaid, 10, and Waqas, 13. The local people and police rushed to the spot and pulled out the bodies from the rubble.

Separately, around 40 sheep were trapped when their shade collapsed due to heavy rains in Matta tehsil in Swat. The district has received snowfall and rain over the last three days, which brought the mercury down.

The Kalam-Bahrain road was blocked due to land-sliding at various places due to which the local people and tourists faced problems. The waste from the River Swat inundated fruit orchards in the district.

The district administration asked the people to avoid unnecessary travel. The tourists were directed to use the helpline 1422 to get updates and information about the weather conditions. Deputy Commissioner Qasim Ali Khan visited various areas in Swat district to assess the situation. He directed all the line departments to stay alert to cope with any eventuality. The district administration imposed Section 144 to prevent the people and tourists from going near the rivers.

PESHAWAR: A girl was swept away by flash floods as heavy rains caused drainage channels to overflow, submerging several low-lying localities in the provincial capital.

The girl lost her life after being swept away by flash floods close to Budhni Nullah in Peshawar. According to eyewitnesses, she was trying to navigate the flooded streets when the incident occurred.

MANSEHRA: The continuous rains wreaked havoc in the Hazara division as the flash floods swept away a girl in Oghi tehsil in Mansehra district. The district administrations were put on high alert following the Indus River overflowed over the Dasu Hydropower Project’s protective wall.

The fresh spell of downpour, which started on Saturday night, continued sporadically the entire day and triggered floods in Indus and other rivers. The landslides blocked the Karakoram Highway at many points in Kohistan.

A 12-year-old girl stated to be the daughter of one Attaur Rehman was swept away in a stream in the Ogar-Sehri area in Oghi tehsil. Rescue 1122 officials rushed to the spot following the incident and started a search and rescue operation to fish out the body.

The stream, which according to locals mostly remained without water was flooded during recent rains and swept away a girl.

The district administrations of Mansehra, Torghar, Upper Kohistan and Lower Kohistan were put on high alert following the Indus River swelled to an alarming level. “Precautionary measures were put in place to deal with the situation,” Upper Kohistan Deputy Commissioner Irfanullah Mehsud said. He said the administration had warned the families settled along the riverbanks to move to safer places.

“The Karakoram Highway has been blocked at many places in the jurisdiction of upper and lower Kohistan districts because of landslides,” Mehsud said.

The passengers travelling between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan remained stranded following the KKH was blocked at Chuchung in Upper Kohistan and Pattan in Lower Kohistan.

The families settled on the Dubair streamside near Ranowalia left houses for safer places. The water entered settlements in Ranowalia area displacing local dwellers. The residents settled at Kunhar riversides in Balakot tehsil were also directed to move to safer places.

GHALLANAI: A child was killed and another four were injured in a wall collapse incident in Lodeen Koroona in Safi tehsil in Mohmand tribal district.

It was learnt that the wall of the house of one Nawaz Khan collapsed, killing a child and injured four others. The injured were rushed to the District Headquarters Hospital in Ghallani where from they were referred to Peshawar.

CHARSADDA: Three girls were killed and another three people, including two women, were injured in separate roof collapse incidents in Matta Mughalkhel, Dheri Zardad and Khubai areas in the district.

Two girls were killed in a roof collapse incident at the Khubari area in Shabqadar tehsil. Another 12-year-old girl was also killed in a roof collapse incident.

The rains also damaged around 15 houses in various parts of Charsadda. The rains swelled the water level in the rivers flowing in the limits of Charsadda district. All the rivers are in mid-level floods. Provincial Minister Fazal Shakoor Khan visited the affected areas and assured the people of all possible help.

Deputy Commissioner Adnan Afridi said that keeping in view the rising water level in the rivers, the district administration had made preparations to cope with any eventuality. He asked the people living near the banks of the rivers to get in touch with the Food Control Room in case of any emergency.

LANDIKOTAL: The heavy downpour and flash floods continuing for the last two days destroyed dozens of homes and killed several pet animals in various areas of Landikotal tehsil, officials said.

Assistant Commissioner of Landikotal Irshad Mohmand told The News that they have received pictures of more than 30 homes damaged by the flash floods and heavy downpour. He said the rain and flash floods damaged houses in Landikotal, Torkham, Kam Shalman and Loey Shalman, Bazaar Zakhakhel, Pasedkhel, Khyber Zakhakhel and other villages. The Hujra of legend Pashtu poet Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari was also damaged due to the rain.

The official said their teams were working along with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to assess the damage and help the affected people. He said their teams faced difficulty reaching the far-flung areas due to the non-stop rains.

He said a numbers of pet animals were also feared dead due to rain while a few vehicles were washed away by the flash floods.

The official said roughly 30 to 40 homes had been damaged so far, adding that the administration had received nine applications for compensation. He said tents were provided to some affected families in Landikotal. He said in a day or two they would issue report on total damages due to the rain and flash floods in Landikotal.

NOWSHERA: The Rescue 1122 officials launched efforts to save the people and animals who were stranded in a cattle pen near the bank of a river in the Khesghi Bala area in the Nowshera district.

The Rescue 1122 officials, including divers, swung into action after receiving information from the control room about the incident. It was learnt that Rescue 1122 rescued the stranded people and shifted them to a safer place.