Abnormal monsoon rains have wreaked havoc in Balochistan, with massive collateral destruction and life losses due to floods in the region.
The provincial government, despite efforts, failed to provide relief and protect the masses from floods. The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had issued a warning that the country was expected to receive “above average rainfall” during the monsoon season this year.
At least 196 people, including 96 men, 45 women and 55 children, lost their lives amid the heavy rains and floods in Balochistan during the monsoon season that started on June 10 in the country. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) reported that the heavy rains caused the loss of over 500,000 livestock and damaged 198,461 acres of crops in Balochistan.
The deaths in rain-related incidents were reported from Chaman, Kachi, Barkhan, Dera Bugti, Zhob, Duki, Pishin, Panjgur, Kohlu, Harnai, Killa Saifullah, Sibi, Lasbela, Loralai, Jaffarabad, Kalat, Kach, Khuzdar and other districts. The PDMA reported that a total of 21,027 houses were damaged or demolished due to the floods in the province. Eight different highways with 960km in length and 18 bridges were damaged due to the floods, it added.
Around 25 dams have been washed away and many link roads have been destroyed in the province due to heavy rains. The train service has also been affected due to floodwater in the area. The National Highway (N-25), also known as the RCD Highway that connects Karachi to Quetta, continued to remain closed for the third straight day on Monday after suffering damage during rains and floods.
Lasbela Deputy Commissioner (DC) Murad Kasi said a recently established alternate route near the Landa area of Uthal on the National Highway was washed away by floods on Friday, leaving long queues of stranded vehicles over the past three days, including those carrying commercial goods. Kasi said that the water level in the Landa River had dropped, and thus, restoration work on the road would begin later in the day, following which the road would be operational for traffic.
Meanwhile, the Flood Forecasting Division (FFD) has said that flashfloods were expected in the tributaries of Kabul and Indus Rivers during the next 48 hours. Severe flash-flooding was also expected in hill torrents of DG Khan Division (Sori Lund, Vidore, Sakhi Sarwar, Sanghar, Vohava, Kaura & Mithawan), including rivers/ nullahs of Balochistan from 16th to 19th of August, said a daily report of the FFD.
At present Indus River is flowing in a “medium flood” at Taunsa with a water discharge of 268,000 cusecs due to heavy flows generated by the hill torrents while it is in “low flood” at Guddu and Kotri with normal flows at its remaining control structures. Also, Presiding over a meeting of the Relief Coordination Committee constituted for the flood-affected areas, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed to ensure the provision of Rs50,000 relief to each flood-affected family in the flood-hit areas through a transparent process within three days.
He said the Benazir Income Support Programme would provide Rs50,000 cash relief to every flood-affected family under the supervision of the NDMA. The prime minister further said that the disbursement should be ensured through electronic transfer so that the deserving people get relief. He directed the Flood Relief Coordination Committee to finalise the disbursement process and present its report by evening.