Monsoon rains lash southern, upper Pakistan as 14 more deaths reported

QUETTA/KARACHI Monsoon rains lashed southern parts of the country during the past 24 hours, killing 12 people and injuring 15 others, as flash flooding disconnected many towns and settlements from the rest of the country.

Rainwater and deluge in local streams and smaller rivers submerged a vast area, damaging houses, businesses and infrastructure amid heavy downpour in Sindh and Balochistan. The desert region of Cholistan and other parts of southern Punjab also received torrential rains.

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), six deaths and injuries to 13 others have so far been reported in Balochistan.

On the other hand, three family members – a mother and two of her children – were killed and two persons injured after a landslide hit a road in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The deluge entered Basima – a town in Washuk district of Balochistan which borders Iran – and the nearby area of Patak, washing away several houses, shops and restaurants while damaging standing crops.

A similar situation was being witnessed in Awaran – a small city and district headquarter in southern Balochistan southeast of Washuk – where a dyke protecting the town from a local stream was in threat of being breached amid severe flooding.

On the other hand, the Kirthar Mountains in eastern Sindh – which runs in south-north direction along the Sindh-Balochistan border in Jamshoro and Dadu districts – too received downpour, triggering flash flood as rainwater threatened the villages in the low-lying areas east of the mountain range.

In a tragic incident, three people were swept away after flash flood hit the Kachho area which is spread over two districts of Dadu and Qambar Shahdadkot. The locals managed to recover the bodies after hectic efforts.

Separately, two persons, including a woman, lost their lives in an incident of roof collapse during heavy downpour at Miandad Khoso – a village near Sukkur’s SITE area.

Mirpur Khas, Hyderabad, Badin, Thatta, Sujawal, Khairpur, Sukkur and other parts of Sindh too were hit by downpour where rainwater accumulated in many localities because of being a plain region.

Earlier, heavy rains caused flash flooding in several parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir, forcing the administration to announce emergency in Lower Chitral and Upper Chitral – a region prone to flash flooding just like other parts of Malakand and Hazara divisions.

Extreme Weather

Both Sindh and Balochistan had received record-breaking rains during the last monsoon season and caused unprecedented floods. The most worrying factor was and still remains that the drainage system in Sindh failed to cope with the amount of water, again showing the poor planning and execution of the Left Bank Outfall Drain – a system built with the Word Bank assistance.

However, even more alarming threat for Pakistan is any shift in rains pattern during the monsoon season due to climate change – more accurately described by the term global warming – as being witnessed during the recent years.

So the upper parts of the country are receiving less monsoon rains while the amount and intensity are increasing sharply in the south where the topography, unlike in the north, can’t sustain extreme weather phenomenon.

Moreover, the infrastructure – ranging from residential and commercial structures to roads, bridges and civic amenities – isn’t designed to deal with the heavy and intensive rains.

At the same time, the extreme weather events are becoming a routine – a huge amount of rain falling in a short span of time. It happened on a large scale in Sindh and Balochistan last year. And this year, Lahore has so far witnessed three such days where more than 200mm of rain was recorded in less in six hours.

Pakistan Metrological Department

The official data shows that the heaviest rain during the last 24 hours [till 8am] in Sindh was recorded at Padidan 120, Dadu 75, Mirpur Khas 72 and Sakrand 53.

Figures for some other cities are given as: Punjab – Murree 45 and Khanpur 42; Kashmir – Muzaffarabad (Airport 31, City 18); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Balakot 16 and Kakul 14; Balochistan – Sibbi 15 and Lasbela 13.

According to the Met Office, heavy rains may cause flooding in local streams of DG Khan in Punjab and northeast south Balochistan from July 24 to 26. There is also a threat of landslides in the vulnerable areas of Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the same period.

Meanwhile, the low-lying areas in the plains of Sindh will witness waterlogging today (July 24).