Rain emergency declared as many KP districts drown

Rain emergency as many KP districts drown

The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has declared a rain emergency in several districts of the province till August 30 after the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) warned of “high to very high floods” in the Swat River.

Key developments:

  • Emergency declared in several KP districts till Aug 30 in view of floods
  • Bridges, schools and hotels swept away by floods in Swat, neighbouring areas
  • Government and private schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa closed until further notice
  • PTI chairman Imran Khan visits flood-affected areas in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank
  • Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announces Rs15 billion grant for Sindh
  • Balochistan loses communication with rest of the country after overnight rains
  • EU announced 1.8m euros in aid for Pakistan

The decision was taken after flash floods wreaked havoc in Swat, Shangla, Mingora, Kohistan and other areas. Videos circulating on social media show hotels, link roads, suspension bridges, houses, hospitals, schools, mini power stations, and water mills being completely washed away as residents scramble to find refuge, Dawn.com reports.

According to the PDMA, 251 people have died in the floods across KP since June, while over 19,000 houses have been completely destroyed.

In a notification issued on Friday, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, KP’s Provincial Emergency Operations Centre said that water flows in River Swat at Khawazakhela point and its tributaries/nullahs had reached high to very high flood levels — 227,899 cusecs — which “may result in a dangerous situation for communities living nearby”.

It has directed the deputy commissioners of Swat, Lower Dir, Malakand, Mohmand, Charsadda, Mardan, Nowshera and Peshawar to immediately identify vulnerable points and communities at risk to devise mitigation and safety measures.

“Maintain enhanced alert level and monitor the developing situation to reduce reaction and response times,” the centre said, calling for the sensitisation of people living on the banks of the rivers about the increase in water flows.

“Make announcements for timely evacuation of the at-risk population from low-lying/flood-prone areas as per evacuation plans,” it added.

The PDMA also instructed authorities to evacuate cattle from areas at risk of flooding, as well as restrict vehicle movement there.

Earlier today, at least three people drowned in the River Indus near the Bisham area of Shangla. According to the locality’s station house officer, Abbas Khan, two other men in the Shang area were also swept away during the floods.

Separately, a Shangla health department official, Ijaz Ahmad, told Dawn.com that a rural health centre in the Karora area had been washed away by the floods in the Kana river.

In a statement today, the Frontier Works Organisation said that the Karakoram Highway was swept away by floods at Zaidkarh Dassua and was blocked at several points due to landslides.

The deputy commissioner of Swat, Junaid Khan, told Dawn.com that the provincial government has begun rescue operations across the province and was trying to reach out to stranded people.

In Nowshera, all the schools and hospitals have been declared to be under administrative control. Residents have been told to evacuate the area and move to safer locations.

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