With many still marooned in flood-affected regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a significant number of people airlifted to safety on Sunday, the prime minister and the army chief made an attempt to bring a healing touch for a nation in grief.

PM Shehbaz Sharif announced a grant of Rs10 billion for Balochistan to cope with the destruction caused by floods and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa spent the day with troops carrying out relief operations in Sindh.

The premier announced the relief package during a day-long trip to the flood-hit areas of Nasirabad division, including Haji Allah Dine village where he interacted with the affected people and assured them that the government would help rehabilitate all the flood victims.

Talking to the media after the visit, he said he had never witnessed a destruction of this magnitude in his life.

“The devastation caused by floods and persistent rains is horrifying,” PM Shehbaz observed.

He said the impact of natural calamities could not be overcome just by sloganeering, making statements and levelling allegations.

Mir Jan Mohammad Jamali, the acting Governor of Balochistan, Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, provincial ministers, Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili and officials of the NDMA and PDMA were present on the occasion.

The premier underlined the need for working hard and shedding sweat and blood to overcome the flood havoc across the country. He regretted that “false statements” by certain political figures would not mislead the nation.

He called upon the rich to support the flood-affected people with generous donations. He said during an aerial view he had seen huge chunks of land inundated by torrents and likened the phenomenon to an overflowing ocean.

“In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, downpours led to swollen rivers and water channels in Swat and Kalam, sweeping away hotels and homes within the blink of an eye,” he said, adding that hundreds of people lost their lives and crops were damaged.

The prime minister said the federal government was providing Rs25,000 each to flood-affected families out of an allocated grant of Rs38bn through the NDMA and Benazir Income Support Programme.

In Sindh, he said, he had already announced a grant of Rs15bn.

PM Shehbaz said he had directed the federal energy minister to supervise restoration of power supply in the affected areas.

He said he would preside over a meeting in Islamabad to review the situation and take further decisions.

Earlier, the chief secretary informed the prime minister that 20 districts in Balochistan were badly affected by floods and about 1.3 million people had braced themselves for the worst.

He said that about 65,000 houses were destroyed, and the Quetta-Sukkur Road link was cut off due to collapse of bridges. “A total of 25 small dams in the province were breached and 78 others had developed cracks,” he said.

Earlier, the prime minister took an aerial view of flood-hit areas of Sindh and Balochistan and participated in the aerial relief support operation in the affected areas.

ARMY CHIEF IN SINDH: Gen Bajwa visited troops busy in relief activities in far-flung flood-affected areas of Khairpur and Qambar-Shahdadkot, in Sindh. According to the ISPR, the COAS spent the whole day with flood victims housed in relief and medical camps.

The flood victims thanked the army chief for reaching out to them and hearing their problems and discomfort caused by floods. He met troops on the ground and appreciated their efforts for comforting the people awaiting their support.

“Helping the people of Pakistan in need is a noble cause and we must take pride in serving them to the best of our abilities,” the COAS emphasised.

PRESIDENT ALVI’S APPEAL: President Dr Arif Alvi reinforced the government of Pakistan’s appeal for international assistance and relief to support the flood-affected people.

On his Twitter handle, the president also appealed to the people in the country to donate generously to help support the flood victims.

Meanwhile, the aviation minister has directed PIA to lift NDMA’s aid for relief of flood victims free of cost. Khawaja Saad Rafiq said all national institutions had to do their duty together for the relief and rehabilitation of flood victims.

RECUE MISSION: With Pakistan Army and KP’s rescue teams continuing to rescue scores of stranded people, mostly tourists, in the flood-hit areas of Swat, Dir Upper and Kohistan, still many were reported stuck up in these districts.

Three more people drowned in rivers in Dir Upper and Charsadda. Fear among the people living in low-laying areas of Charsadda and Nowshera continued as a massive flow of 336,461 cusecs was reported in Kabul River near Nowshera on Sunday evening.

Several areas of both districts remained submerged with the district administration requesting people to move shift to relief centres mostly set up in government schools and colleges.

According to the PDMA, about 21 houses were destroyed in Babozai area of Charsadda. In the same area, 1,860 people were rescued. According to the PDMA data, 60 people were rescued in Dir Upper.

Garhi Momin, Jabba Daudzai, Mohib Banda, Banda Mullah Khan, Banda Sheikh Ismail, Choki Drab, Choki Mamraiz, Pashtoon Garhi, Nowshera Kalan, Pir Sabak, Aman Garh and other areas of Nowshera district remained submerged for the third consecutive day on Sunday.

According to the Swat district administration, 172 tourists were stranded in Asrarit area and 150 others, including tourists and hotel staff, at famous tourism spot Mohodand. Similarly, 60 tourists were stuck in the Bahrain village of Swat.

In Lower Kohistan, army’s helicopter rescued a young boy stranded at a rock amid the floodwater.

In the scenic Kalam valley of Swat, the army and provincial government airlifted scores of tourists, including a Spanish couple.

In Balochistan, several families stranded in floodwater wait for relief and rehabilitation operations in Daak and Anambostan areas of Noshki district. Noshki Deputy Commissioner Khurram Khalid told Dawn that so far 133 stranded people had been rescued and the rest were given ration along with cooked food by helicopters on Sunday.

RIVERS RISING: Currently at medium to high flood levels, river flows in the Indus are still rising between Tarbela Dam and Taunsa Barrage, while Nowshera witnessed ‘very high flood’ on Sunday with further increasing trend.

The Federal Flood Commission (FFC) said flows from Guddu to Kotri barrages was receding at the moment, but would experience higher flows over the next eight-12 days as floodwaters now in the upper area flow down. The water flows in all other rivers in the Jhelum-Chenab zone are normal.

The FFC said flood flows in River Swat (Khwazakhela, Chakdara and Munda head works) were gradually receding. On Sunday afternoon, it was flowing in ‘low flood’ at Khwazakhela as flows receded from 246,000 cusecs to 32,000 cusecs, while ‘medium flood’ was reported at Chakdara where flows dropped from 275,000 to 56,000 cusecs. Flows were classified as ‘medium flood at Munda head works where the flows receded from 260,000 to 72,000 cusecs.

The FFC said river flows at Tarbela were recorded at 302,000 cusecs, 423,000 cusecs at Kalabagh, 502,000 cusecs at Chashma and 516,000 cusecs at Taunsa Barrage and all were well below the 650,000 cusecs classified as ‘very high flood’. Flood level at Chashma-Taunsa Reach was ‘high’ and at Sukkur, in ‘medium flood’ at Kalabagh, Guddu and Kotri, respectively.

River Kabul was flowing in “very high flood” at Nowshera with discharge of 309,000 cusecs on Sunday, significantly higher than 200,000 cusecs benchmark for very high flood classification for this river. At Warsak (upstream of Nowshera), River Kabul was also flowing in ‘high flood’ at 120,000 cusecs on Sunday and was receding. The Indus at Khairabad (junction point after merging River Kabul in the Indus) was flowing in ‘high flood’ with discharge of 531,000 cusecs. It had experienced a peak discharge of 602,400 cusecs on Saturday.

Other main rivers of the Indus River System — Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej — continued to flow normal.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here