A flood in spring

April 21, 2024

Spring floods sweep across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa following torrential rains

A flood in spring


t least 32 people have been killed and 43 injured in rain and flood-related incidents in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 17 children and seven women were amongst those who lost their lives. The government has declared a rain and flood emergency in the affected districts of the province.

Rain and the flood-related incidents killed at least seven people in Lower Dir, five in Swat, four in Khyber and three in the Charsadda district. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority says that at least 1,370 houses were damaged, out of which 160 were destroyed beyond repair; 1,211 sustained partial damage. 34 schools were also damaged.

Loss of life and damage were reported from Khyber, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Lower Chitral, Swat, Bajaur, Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshehra, Malakand, Karak, Kohat, Hangu, Battagram, Mansehra, Bannu, North Waziristan, Kohat and Orakzai districts. “In each affected district at least 200 tents, 200 blankets, kitchen and hygiene kits were distributed among the affected families,” the PDMA report says.

District administration and Rescue 1122 launched relief operations in the affected areas. The chief minister directed the deputy commissioners of the affected districts to distribute compensation cheques amongst the affected families without delay.

On April 15, Mansoor Akakhel, a resident of Bara sub-division in Khyber district, lost four family members when roofs over rooms and a veranda of his house collapsed. In the tragic incident, six of his other family members were seriously injured.

MPA Abdul Ghani Afridi told The News on Sunday that six lives were saved as a result of a rescue operation conducted by Rescue 122 and local volunteer groups. “Rs 4 million has been distributed among the affected families in Bara,” Abdul Ghani Afridi says.

After Swat and Lower Dir districts, the Swat River passes many terrains and mountains to enter the vast plans of Charsadda. It was around 1 am on April 16, when floodwater entered the villages situated on the bank of the river near Nisatta M-1 interchange. The people living near the Swat River were not expecting a flood in spring. At night, the locals were left with no option but to seek shelter near the motorway. During the August 2022 floods, many flood-affected families had sought refuge at the same location. This time, dozens of affected families, women covered in traditional shuttlecock burqas, shy children, along with their buffaloes, cows and goats lined up along the motorway. Some families were seated in tents, waiting for food supplies and help.

“We left our homes without any food,” said Shahida*, who was standing with her family and domestic animals on the side of the motorway. “We ran out of what little we had. Now we need food for our children,” she said. 

“We left our homes without any food,” said Shahida*, who was standing with her family and domestic animals on the side of the motorway. “We ran out of what little we had. Now we need food for our children,” she said.

Rehman Ullah, a young bearded man standing near the tents, said, “…we have placed some of our luggage on the roof and carried only the essentials with ourselves. The water has destroyed our wheat crop. We are worried. It will take weeks for the water to recede.”

Advisor to Chief Minister Barrister Saif said that a flood control room had been established in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Peshawar. He said that it would remain functional round the clock and share developments regarding emergencies or any untoward situation anywhere in the province with the chief minister. “The control room is monitoring relief operations in the affected districts,” he said.

“On the direction of the CM, the Finance Department has released Rs 250 million for the PDMA and Rs 150 million for the restoration of the communication network. Cheques for Rs 17 million have already been distributed among the affected families in the flood and rain-hit areas of the province,” he said.

“After the completion of the survey, as per provincial government policy, a compensation package will be announced for the families whose houses have been damaged in the recent floods and rain,” he said.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is particularly vulnerable to climate-change disasters. Over the last two months, the province has suffered from two massive natural disasters in which at least 67 people have been killed. The PMDA loss and damage report says, 35 people were killed and 43 injured between February 29 and to March 4.

*The name has been changed to protect privacy.

The writer is a freelance multimedia journalist. He tweets @daudpasaney

A flood in spring