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Boat carrying wedding party sinks in floodwater; 17 killed

15 September, 2014

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MULTAN: At least 17 persons, including the bridegroom, women and children, drowned while 22 were rescued alive as an over-loaded boat carrying a marriage party capsized near flood-hit Shershah embankment on Sunday.

According to rescue sources, the boat carrying over 40 wedding guests overturned near Shershah embankment when it was moving from Muzaffargarh to Multan. Rescue workers managed to rescue 22 persons alive. Bodies of 12 persons have been recovered while search for others was underway. Bridegroom Zahid, a resident of Muzaffagarh, who got married just three days ago and was going with his family for walima was among the dead. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has expressed grief over the loss of lives and directed authorities to expedite relief operation.

Torrential rains causing huge floods have disrupted normal life in the villages of Punjab and Azad Kashmir. President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, MQM chief Altaf Hussain, leaders of political, religious parities and civil society have expressed deep grief over the sad incident. Heavy water flow is moving towards Panjnad Headworks after passing through Trimmu at River Chenab and is likely to inundate the areas in the vicinity of Panjnad Headworks. The water level at Panjnad was 375,000 cusecs on Sunday afternoon.

In the wake of the current situation, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has deployed teams in the flood-affected areas along the Chenab and Jhelum rivers. Brigadier Ishtiaq Ahmad, member operations NDMA, is currently stationed at the Panjnad Headworks for assessment of on-ground flood situation. These teams will also monitor rescue and relief activities in Multan and Muzaffargarh districts. A junior commissioned officer, Naib Subedar Anab Shaheed, lost his life while rescuing civilians near Multan.

The NDMA teams earlier assessed the flood situation along Marala, Khanki and Qadirabad Headworks on River Chenab and Mangla. NDMA chairman also undertook detailed reconnaissance at Trimmu Barrage on River Chenab. During this field activity, NDMA teams have coordinated with the officials of provincial disaster management authority of Punjab and local civil administration for better response and relief management.

The teams are regularly sharing necessary field data with NDMA head office for necessary strategic guidance and support on a daily basis. In order to assess the damages in the most affected districts the NDMA in collaboration with UNOCHA has already initiated work on Multi Sector Initial Rapid Assessment.

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