The Sutlej River remained at sustained “high” flood levels at the Islam and Ganda Singh Wala Headworks over the weekend.
The Flood Forecasting Division (FFD) of the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) reported that by 1 p.m. on Saturday, the water flow at Islam Headworks had surged to 147,230 cusecs, nearly three times the normal rate. Similarly, Ganda Singh Wala Headworks recorded a flow of 122,326 cusecs.
During the same timeframe, the Sulemanki headworks registered a “medium” flood level with a water flow of 83,720 cusecs. A previous river situation forecast indicated that the Indus River had reached a “low” flood level at Kalabagh, Chashma, and Guddu headworks.
Within the same period, the forecast projected “scattered wind thunderstorms/rain of moderate intensity with isolated heavy falls” over the upper catchments of major rivers in the next 24 hours. In a separate weekly weather outlook by the FFD, it was highlighted that, except for the Sutlej River, no significant high flood situation was expected in major rivers.
In the latest update, the Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) spokesperson expressed concerns about the affected areas, particularly along the Indus River and its tributaries. Significant flooding was reported at the Head Islam dam and the Ganda Singh area, with Head Islam experiencing an inflow of 151,000 cusecs and Ganda Singh recording a flow of 122,000 cusecs.
Additionally, Sulemanki saw a mid-level flood, while lower-level flooding was observed at Kalabagh and Chashma along the Indus River. The spokesperson highlighted effective management in maintaining normal flow levels for the Chenab, Ravi, and Jhelum rivers.
The spokesperson cautioned against engaging in recreational activities in urban rivers and streams to prevent accidents. The PDMA monitored the situation closely, including river dynamics, dams, and watercourses. Residents were urged to utilize the PDMA’s emergency helplines for updates.
Furthermore, the spokesperson warned of a potential increase in water influx from India due to ongoing rainfall. Heightened vigilance was advised, especially in districts like Kasur, Okara, Pakpattan, Vehari, Bahawalnagar, Lodhran, and Multan.
In a related development, Nabeel Javed, the former Relief Commissioner for Punjab, expressed concerns about Indian dams’ condition. He urged relevant agencies to maintain a state of high alert and take immediate action to prevent encroachments along river routes. Sharing critical information with local communities was stressed to ensure preparedness.
Punjab’s Minister of Livestock, Ibrahim Murad, visited the Vehari district to provide assistance to flood-affected individuals. He directed officials to utilize available resources to aid those affected by the floods. The combined capacity of Headworks Islam and Headworks Mailsi Saifan, as noted in a statement from his office, could accommodate water passage exceeding 700,000 cubic feet.
Minister Murad reported that the flooding situation at Islam Headworks had reached a critical level, while Headworks Mailsi Saifan was experiencing moderate flooding. He noted the submersion of 77 villages in the Vehari district, with over 99 percent of the population safely relocated. Additionally, 105 rescuers were engaged in 13 rescue operations, relocating 29,680 individuals to safety and establishing 20 flood relief camps.
Earlier, about 8,500 people and 350 animals were evacuated within 24 hours from various flood-affected districts of Punjab. Punjab’s interim Chief Minister, Mohsin Naqvi, observed the water situation in the Sutlej River near Attari and noted an unusually high inflow of 278,000 cusecs, the highest in 35 years.