ISLAMABAD/KARACHI/PESHAWAR: At least nine people have been killed during five days of torrential rain and landslides in Azad Kashmir, emergency officials said on Thursday.
The deaths came as water channels swelled and people were left trapped in landslides in four mountainous districts of Kashmir.
The latest casualties bring the overall death toll from this year’s monsoon floods to at least 22, with over 200 buildings washed away in the worst affected north.
Officials said the death toll and losses could increase because communication from the remote areas had been hampered due to heavy rains.
“According to available collective figures, so far nine people have been killed and seven others were injured,” Zaheer Qureshi, director general of the disaster management authority, told AFP. “Up to 47 houses have been damaged while we are yet to get information from the cut-off remote mountainous villages,” he said.
Over in Sindh, a fresh monsoon system generated widespread rains with heavy to very heavy falls in lower parts of the province, including Karachi.
Almost all parts of Karachi received showers. Airport, Landhi and Gulistan-e-Jauhar received around 11 millimetres of rain, according to Pakistan Metrological Department.
The Flood Forecasting Division (FFD) forecast widespread rain-thundershower with scattered heavy to very heavy falls in lower Sindh, including Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and Sanghar and other adjoining areas over the next four days.
Also, water level in the country’s biggest Mirpur-based reservoir Mangla Dam was raised to the level of 1,234.90 feet against the stipulated highest level of 1,242 feet, official sources said.
Following the recent monsoon torrential rains and swift melting of glaciers at various upper reaches in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and other snow-clad top peaks, the water level in Mangla Dam is swiftly rising.
The inflow from Jhelum River into Mangla Dam was recorded as 71,273 cusecs and outflow remained at 60,000 cusecs the other day, according to official figures made available to APP on Thursday. On the other hand, the Balochistan government has declared four districts of the province “highly vulnerable to flash floods”. The districts declared vulnerable are Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Jhal Magsi and Sohbat Pur.
Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch chaired a high-level meeting on Thursday to review the current situation in the province regarding torrential rains, which have been lashing the northern and eastern parts of the province.
It was observed during the meeting that 20 districts of the province were likely to be affected by torrential rains.
“Dozens of mud houses have collapsed in Dera Bugti and Kohlu districts, while eight people lost their lives in rain related incidents,” said Tahir Munir Minhas, the director general of the PDMA. “We have cancelled holidays of government employees and are making efforts to provide relief to the people,” Minhas added.