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Hundreds of thousands go homeless; toll rises to 205

09 September, 2014

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LAHORE: Floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains continued to cause devastation in areas along the Chenab and Jhelum rivers, rendering thousands homeless.

The death toll from the floods rose to 205 on Monday. The floods wrecked 215 villages in Bhalwal, whereas 80 villages have been submerged due the breaking of the security barrage in Hafizabad. In order to save Trimmu Barrage, a breach was being considered in the Athara Hazari Barrage, as 750,000 cusecs of floodwater was anticipated at it Monday night. The high flood from River Chenab has caused massive destruction in the rural areas from Marala Headworks in Sialkot to Qadirabad Headworks in Hafizabad.

Many villages in Sambrial, Zafarwal, Pasrur, Chiniot, Wazirabad, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Jalalpur Jattan, Phalia and Pindi Bhattian have been submerged due to the flood in Marala, Khanki and Hafizabad. The floods have cracked roads and damaged many bridges and installations. The high water influx has also triggered landslides in Punjab and Kashmir. Floodwater has ruined crops stretched across thousands of acres, and killed cattle.

The Seem Nala Bridge snapped at Sahotra Road in Pind Dadan Khan disconnecting road link. Flood in Khushab washed away five villages along with livestock and harvest, causing irrevocable losses to the residents. Water level is constantly rising in River Ravi and high alert has been issued. Sahiwal, Harappa and Chichawatni have been evacuated, whereas a warning has been issued in 40 villages in Kabirwala. The water level is rising in Kundasang and red alert has been issued in Pakpattan and Vehari.

High flood in River Sutlej has engulfed the villages in the vicinity of Kasur. Considering the sensitivity of the situation, emergency has been called in the area and efforts are being made to transfer people to safer areas. Reports say that floodwater has destroyed more than 700 villages in Punjab. The army evacuated more than 12,000 people from the flood-affected areas.

Meanwhile, the Balochistan government has declared flood emergency in ten districts while Sindh government has issued instructions to the staff concerned to ensure that floodwater passes through the province without major losses. Commissioners, deputy commissioners and Irrigation Department officials have been directed to remain on duty and keep a close watch on the embankments of River Indus. Authorities fear outbreak of epidemics in the flooded areas.

According to the NDMA, a huge amount of floodwater has accumulated in the Qadirabad Headworks on River Chenab whereas the Trimmu Barrage is receiving 177,000 cusecs water on River Chenab. Meanwhile, according to flood alert issued by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) due to a second flood wave in River Chenab peak Exceptionally High Flood Level (above 600,000 cusecs) at Trimmu would persist for the next 24 to 48 hours with a likely peak discharge of 800,000 cusecs. Under this condition districts Multan, Muzafargarh, Khanewal, Jhang and Toba Taik Singh are likely to be inundated.

Mainly hot and humid weather is expected in most parts of the country. However, rain-thundershowers are expected at isolated places of Malakand, Hazara, Peshawar, Mirpurkhas, Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore divisions, and GB/Kashmir. Punjab Chief Secretary Naveed Cheema has ordered all of Punjab's departments to make coordinated efforts for evacuation of marooned people and provision of relief to the flood victims in the light of directions of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

He also announced Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) as focal department in this regard. While chairing a meeting to review the flood situation, relief activities and steps taken for the evacuation of marooned people, at Civil Secretariat, he also ordered ban on leave of officers/officials of government departments till further orders. Punjab Food Minister Bilal Yasin appreciated the officers and officials working in the field for providing relief to the affected people.


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