Not all local governments have prepared for, or responded to monsoon flooding equally. After the devastating 2010 floods, authorities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have taken some measures to alleviate the affects of current floods, but not all local spheres of government have performed as well. Corruption, poor planning and disregard for building regulations mean thousands more than necessary suffer multiple losses.
K-P overwhelmed by deluge
Rescue operations underway across the country flood ravages continue
NNOWSHERA—Thousands of people living near swollen rivers in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were ordered to evacuate on Saturday, as deadly rain-induced floods cause devastation across the country.
According to the latest reports, a deluge of 315,000 cusecs was passing through Nowshera in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa because of continuous stormy rains in upper parts of the country. Meanwhile, 464,000 cusecs of storm water is expected to enter Attock in Punjab from Khairabad in K-P late at night.
The district administration in affected areas, taking swift action, has shifted the residents living along Kabul River to safe places, including schools, colleges and camps 24 hours earlier and provided them with food and shelter.
The deluge has destroyed the areas and crops along Kabul River in Nowshera. It washed away the protective embankments set up in Nowshera alongside Kabul River and entered the town’s Kalan area, with four feet of floodwater accumulated there.
Nowshera Deputy Commissioner Mir Reza Ozgen contacted the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to reduce the outflow of Tarbela and Warsak dams that reduced the intensity of the deluge. However, on Saturday, the deluge reached 390,000 cusecs at Nowshera, while the flow of water at Khairabad reached 545,300 cusecs.
Downstream, fears of flooding around riverbanks prompted around 180,000 people in the district of Charsadda to flee their homes, according to disaster officials, with some spending the night on highways with their livestock.
The house which we built with years of hard work started sinking in front of our eyes, said Junaid Khan, 23, the owner of two fish farms in Chrasadda. We sat on the side of the road and watched our dream house sinking.” He added.
Bilal Faizi, spokesman for the Rescue 1122 emergency service, said initially some people had refused to leave, but when the water level increased they agreed.
Farmer Shah Faisal, camped by the side of a road in Chrasadda with his wife and two daughters, described how he saw his riverside home swallowed by a river as the powerful current eroded the bank.
The Jindi, Swat and Kabul rivers flow through the town before joining the mighty Indus, which is also flooding downstream. “We escaped with our lives,” Faisal narrated.
It should be noted that former defence minister Pervez Khattak had built protective embankments on the banks of Kabul River at a cost of billions of rupees to save Nowshera district from floods.
Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Hasan Azhar Hayat and K-P Chief Secretary Dr Shahzad Khan Bangash visited the flood-affected areas of Nowshera.
Shaukat Yousafzai, who along with another provincial member Kamran Bangash, has been nominated as a focal person, will be sharing updates and responding to media queries.
According to Yousafzai, 230 people including women and children had lost their lives, whereas some 34,000 houses were swept away by the floods.
“The federal government is not paying any attention to what is happening in K-P. The K-P government has decided to divert development budget for rehabilitation of flood victims,” read a statement issued by Yousafzai on Saturday evening.
He expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in rescuing five friends who had lost their lives, adding that action would be taken against all those found guilty of negligence in saving the five youngsters.
The torrential monsoon rains across the country on Saturday inflicted further lives and property losses as the total death count in various incidents reached 982 and 1,456 individuals were injured since the onset of the downpours.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) issued a 24-hour situation report released on routine basis that accounted overall life, property, and infrastructure losses incurred by the heavy rains lashing out various parts of the country.
The heavy rains caused a roof collapse incident in Balochistan and caused the death of a woman.
In K-P, some 10 perished due to flash floods in various districts including one man each in Upper Dir and Swat and also a child in Kurram. In roof collapses in various districts, a man and woman died in Lakki Marwat, a male and child in Dera Ismail Khan, a man in Upper Kohistan, a woman and child died in South Waziristan.
Thirteen individuals were injured including a man in Upper Chitral in a landslide, and two women in Upper Dir due to flash flood. Six men and a woman were injured in Dera Ismail Khan and a woman and two children suffered injuries in South Waziristan.
In Punjab’s Rajanpur district, a man drowned in floodwater. Another man drowned in Dera Ghazi Khan.
In Sindh, 33 people perished as per the data added by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) bringing the total to 339 deaths.
In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, a man was reported injured due to torrential rains in Neelum.
According to the NDMA, since the monsoon started in June more than two million acres of cultivated crops have been wiped out, 3,100 kilometres (1,900 miles) of roads have been destroyed and 149 bridges have been washed away.
Separately, the Federal Flood Commission (FFC) has said Kabul, Swat and Indus rivers would still run furious with water discharge of 263,000 cusecs, 89,000 cusecs and 586,000 cusecs respectively.
According to a daily FFC report on Saturday, because of the continuous heavy rainfall in the upper catchment areas on August 25 and 26, Swat River had experienced a very high flood situation. At present the flood flows in Swat River is receding.
Kabul River was flowing in “very high flood” at Nowshera with a discharge of 263,000 cusecs. It is presently discharging a maximum flow of 315,000 cusecs. Also it is in “high flood” upstream Nowshera i.e. at Warsak with 139,000 cusecs.
Indus River at Khairabad (junction point after merging Kabul River in Indus) was flowing in “high flood” of 586,000 cusecs. The flow has now receded to 555,000 cusecs as reported by the Tarbela Dam Management.
Indus River is flowing in high flood at Taunsa and Sukkur, and “medium flood” at Chashma, Guddu and Kotri.
It is in “low flood” at Tarbela and Kalabagh (the upstream two stations on Indus).
Other main rivers of the Indus River System including Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej are flowing in normal range.
Very high and above level flooding is likely to continue in Kabul River at Nowshera during the next 24 hours.
Indus River at Kalabagh and Chashma is likely to attain high to very high-level flooding during the next 24 to 48 hours.
Historic monsoon rains and flooding in Pakistan have affected more than 30 million people over the last few weeks, the climate change minister said, calling the situation a “climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions”.
The military has joined the country’s national and provincial authorities in responding to the floods and the army chief on Saturday visited the province pf Balochistan, which has been hit heavily by the rains. “The people of Pakistan are our priority and we won’t spare any effort to assist them in this difficult time,” said Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Pakistani leaders have appealed to the international community for help and plan to launch an international appeal fund. The foreign affairs ministry said Turkey had sent a team to help with rescue efforts. “The magnitude of the calamity is bigger than estimated,” said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in a tweet, after visiting flooded areas.
Pakistan is eighth on the Global Climate Risk Index, a list compiled by the environmental NGO Germanwatch of countries deemed most vulnerable to extreme weather caused by climate change.
Still, the authorities must shoulder some of the blame for the devastation.
Corruption, poor planning and the flouting of local regulations mean thousands of buildings have been erected in areas prone to seasonal flooding, albeit not as bad as this year.
Photo: The swollen Kabul River at Nowshera. Source:
PMD predicts more rain across country, warns of urban flooding
Pakistan Floods, Govt. Neglect Charged
From the Violation Database:
Floods, govt. inaction 17/08/2010 Pakistan
|• Climate change|
• Destruction of habitat
• Environment (Sustainable)
• Local Governance
• Low income
• Project management
• Public policies
• Public programs and budgets