Continuation of rescue operations while KP regions remain shut off by flooding

On Sunday, officials in the Kohistan tehsil of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa continued to appeal for assistance in rescuing people stranded in “totally shut off” areas owing to the devastating floods that have destroyed lives and property across the country.
A day earlier, about 350,000 people were evacuated from Charsadda and Nowshera as intense flash floods in the province forced the Kabul River to surge overnight, destroying a large bridge and cutting off road access to some districts.

Today’s occurrences

• The death toll since mid-June has surpassed 1,000.

• Kandia tehsil officials request assistance

• Forty tourists were rescued from Kumrat and relocated to Upper Dir and Swat; several visitors remain stuck.

• Evacuations continue

• Sindh prepares for a new deluge from swelling northern rivers

• Prime Minister Shehbaz is briefed in Balochistan and announces Rs10 billion for the province.

• COAS visits Sindh

• Balochistan schools will be closed from Monday (August 29) through Friday (August 31). (September 2)

• Bilawal believes the IMF would consider the economic impact of floods.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said that 1,033 people have died from monsoon rains since mid-June, including 119 in the past 24 hours.

Anwar Ul Haq, chairman of the Kandia tehsil in Upper Kohistan, told Dawn.com today that Kandia has been “totally blocked off” from the rest of Kohistan and that there are no cell phone signals.

He stated that villagers traversed treacherous terrain on foot, with some journeying for two days, and informed him that the floods destroyed an estimated 2,000 homes.

Haq stated that there is an urgent need for food and medicine in Kandia due to increased diarrhea cases.

Separately, Lower Kohistan Assistant Commissioner Saqib Khan informed Dawn.com that the military has been asked to send in helicopters to rescue stranded families because “there is no road route, the communication system and the electricity has broken down in the affected districts.”

Saqib Khan reported hours later that the helicopter had arrived. “By the grace of God, our deliverance has arrived, and power has been restored.”

Farman Afridi, a representative for Rescue 1122, informed Dawn.com that eleven persons were reportedly stranded in the Kayal valley of Lower Kohistan owing to flooding.

Under the leadership of District Emergency Officer Sajid Ali Yousafzai and Assistant Commissioner Saqib Khan, he said, teams have been dispatched, and a rescue effort has begun.

Assistant Commissioner Khan reported that eleven persons had been rescued in the Kayal valley. A rescue effort coordinated by the district’s emergency officer was concluded after five houses.

According to a statement released late evening by the military’s media affairs arm, the Pakistan Army and aviation pilots rescued a person caught in a flood in Kohistan.

“The administration of Kohistan issued a request for assistance. As a result, the Mangla GOC (general officer commanding division) and Mangla commander brigade, who were on a flood assessment mission near Pattan, diverted from their original flight to save a life”, according to a statement, adding that the individual would have drowned had the officials not arrived in time.

ISPR statement: “The pilots made a brave attempt, lowered the chopper, and the officers and crew lifted the individual safely.”

Evacuations continue

This morning, four missions were conducted by Pakistani Army aviation helicopters to rescue stranded individuals. 110 trapped individuals were evacuated from Khawazakhela to Kanju Cantonment, Swat, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

ISPR stated that meals and necessary medical attention are being provided to these stranded individuals.

As soon as the weather permits, stranded civilians on a mountainside in Kumrat will be rescued by army helicopters specially flown from the Swat cantonment of Kamju.

ISPR reported hours later that the first team of Pakistani Army soldiers had arrived at the Khana Bodosh spot where these families were attacked.

“Army reinforcements have crossed Barikot.” In addition, army aviation helicopters from Pakistan have flown and are on their route to the site,” the statement continued.

ISPR also provided contact information for a Dir Scouts-established Flood Relief Control Centre.

In the event of an emergency or for help, please contact the Dir Scouts Flood Relief control room at the following numbers:

• Mobile 1: 03091311310

• Mobile 2: 03235780067

• Landline: 0945-825526

ISPR reported in an evening update that 62 helicopter sorties had been performed in flood-affected areas of the country.

According to the report, seven army helicopters conducted 20 operations and removed 246 stranded individuals over the past 24 hours.

In addition, 14,71 tonnes of rations/relief supplies, 7,845 ration packages, and 1,600 tents have been provided in flood-affected areas during the previous 24 hours, according to the ISPR, while 29,205 people have been treated at medical camps.

The ISPR reported that 217 collection locations for relief items had been established in the area of responsibility of all formations.

Syed Aqil Shah, a tour operator, told Dawn.com that 40 stranded tourists in Kumrat valley were rescued and sent to Upper Dir and Swat, but others remained stranded and awaited rescue.

“I am in constant contact with the stranded visitors, and they require immediate assistance,” he added, adding that the roads were entirely flooded and hotel owners feared a food scarcity.

“I spoke with a family in Kumrat.” They have all collected in one hotel, which has run out of food and other supplies. “A visitor told me they are famished and have not eaten anything,” he continued.

Shah urged the administration to provide food for the tourists who were stuck.

Shafiqa Gul, a spokesman for Rescue 1122 Swat, informed Dawn.com that eight individuals who the Swat River had stranded at Khawazakhela were rescued overnight.

She noted that at least 50 individuals, including women and children, were relocated to safe locations overnight.

Sheraz Khan, station-in-charge of Rescue 1122 Bisham, reported to Dawn.com that one of two youngsters stranded in the middle of the Bisham Khan Khwar river was rescued after a two-hour struggle.

Later, Rescue 1122 workers rescued 32 civilians in the Takhtaband region of Swat, according to Rescue 1122 spokeswoman Shafiqa Gul.

Rasool Khan, the spokesperson for Rescue 1122, told Dawn.com that three children were hurt in Shangla when a house’s roof collapsed owing to heavy rain.

He stated that the youngsters were transferred to the district hospital in Alpuri.

PDMA report

A report published by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) at 9 p.m. on Sunday stated that one person was killed by rain-induced floods in Charsadda over the past 12 hours.

According to the report, 21 houses were destroyed in the district during this time, while 1,860 individuals were saved in Charsadda and Babuzai.

Meanwhile, according to the report, 60 people were rescued by helicopter in Upper Dir.

The PDMA reported that 36 relief camps had been established in four districts of KP, with 745 tents and other relief goods and food packages.

The river water level at Nowshera, Warsak, remains high.

Separately, the provincial government’s flood cell reported that the Kabul River’s water levels at Nowshera and Warsak were “extremely high” and “high.”

“Currently, 336,461 cusecs of floodwater are traveling through Nowshera, while 109,000 cusecs are passing through Warsak,” the flood cell reported in an evening update.

“58,692 cusecs of floodwater are traversing Adinzai bridge,” the cell said in a statement.

The flood cell warned that the Indus River’s water level was likewise high. As a result, 539,400 cusecs and 244,500 cusecs of floodwater were now streaming through Attock and Tarbela, according to the statement.

In addition, 60,000 cusecs of floodwater from the Swat River passed through Munda Headworks simultaneously.

According to the ISPR, mild to moderate rainfall was observed around the country on Sunday, with Malam Jabba (58mm) receiving the most precipitation.

It was also said that the water levels in the Jhelum, Ravi, Chenab, and Sutlej rivers were normal. The Prime Minister announces Rs10 billion for Balochistan.

In Balochistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif declared an Rs10 billion handout for the province while speaking to the media. He stated that the NDMA and provincial authorities would determine whether the funds would be given to people whose crops were destroyed or used to rehabilitate roads and homes.

“I am 100 percent convinced that the administration will honorably provide you your right.”

In addition, he said that each household affected by the disaster would receive Rs25,000, which would be distributed within a week.

Tomorrow, Shehbaz will preside over a conference in Islamabad where the government will deliberate on short- and medium-term flood mitigation strategies. “This [rebuilding] task cannot be accomplished with slogans and accusations, regardless of whether the flooding is precipitation-induced or riverine. Instead, we must labor day and night to emulate nations that have prevented floods through technological means.

The prime minister also addressed the devastation wrought by the floods, stating that he had “never seen this type of flooding before.”

He congratulated the chief ministers, secretaries, and personnel assisting families devastated by flooding. Last night, he reported that the presidents of Turkey, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates pledged their countries’ assistance.

“Aircraft [bringing relief supplies] have just left Turkey and are en route to Karachi. A jet will fly from UAE to Islamabad. Other friendly nations are also sending communications. The British government announced the allocation of 1.5 million pounds. We appreciate their assistance to Pakistanis during this tough period.”

He also urged the wealthy of the country to assist their fellow residents.

“I have also spoken with the army and navy chiefs, who informed me that orders have been given and their teams are on the ground. In addition, he said, “I spoke with the air chief last night, and he provided me with information about rescue helicopters.”

Later, Balochistan Education Minister Naseebullah Murree declared that schools in the province would be closed from Monday (August 29) through Friday (August 31) for an additional five days (September 2).

The minister stated that the decision was made with the destruction caused by floods and rainfall in mind.

He stated that floodwaters had invaded the majority of the province’s government schools and that the facilities of public schools and universities in numerous regions were being used to accommodate flood-displaced individuals.

Punjab

The Pakistan Army conducted a separate aerial relief operation in the Punjab district of Rajanpur today, the ISPR reported in an afternoon update.

“Aid in the form of ration bags and tents was delivered to those affected,” adding that the army conducted rescue and relief efforts in the flood-affected regions of Layyah, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Rajanpur districts.

ISPR reported that Pakistan Army personnel rescued several stranded individuals, including women and children, and relocated them to safer areas along with their valuables.

“People living in relief camps are receiving both cooked and dry foods,” the report continued.

“The Pakistan Army is utilizing all available resources to assist the flood-affected population, including providing rapid medical care at army-established medical camps.”

Sindh

Meanwhile, the province of Sindh, already inundated, braced for a further deluge from swelling rivers in the north.

Few northern mountain tributaries nourish the enormous Indus River. Still, many have overflowed their banks due to record rainfall and glacial melt.

Officials have warned that torrential rainfall will reach Sindh in the coming days, compounding the anguish of the millions already affected by the flooding.

Aziz Soomro, the superintendent of a barrage that controls the river’s flow near Sukkur, stated, “Right now, Indus is experiencing a severe flood.”

In some regions of Sindh, the only dry area is along elevated roadways and railroad tracks, where tens of thousands of destitute rural residents have taken refuge with their animals.

Near Sukkur, a two-kilometer-long line of tents housed people who were still arriving by boat with wooden charpoy beds and pots and pans – the only belongings they could recover.

“The river began to rise yesterday, flooding all the villages and forcing us to evacuate,” a 22-year-old laborer named Wakeel Ahmed told AFP.

The superintendent of the barrage, Soomro, told AFP that every sluice gate was open to accommodate a river flow of over 600,000 cubic meters per second.

Islamabad

While Islamabad and Rawalpindi have avoided the brunt of the water, its impacts are still being felt.

Muhammad Ismail, the proprietor of a food store in Rawalpindi, stated that supplies are currently highly restricted.

“Tomatoes, peas, onions, and other vegetables are unavailable as a result of the flooding,” he told AFP, adding that costs are also rising.

Visits by the civil and military leadership to Balochistan and Sindh

Prime Minister Shehbaz visited the Jaffarabad district in Balochistan to oversee flood relief efforts. Earlier, the state news agency APP posted a photo of him with Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and the message that he had arrived in Sukkur en route to Jaffarabad.

During his stay, he was briefed by the chief secretary of Balochistan about the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the flood victims at Village Haji Allah Dino, District Jaffarabad.

Separately, Army Chief of Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited flood-ravaged districts of Sindh today, according to a military release.

According to a statement issued by the ISPR, the army commander visited army forces involved in relief efforts in the far-flung districts of Khairpur and Qambar-Shahdadkot, which were impacted by flooding.

The COAS spent the entire day with flood victims in relief and medical camps in Jilani village, Khairpur, and Qambar-Shahdadkot, according to the release.

“Flood victims in Khairpur and Qambar-Shahdadkot praised the COAS for reaching out to them and discussing their difficulties and pain caused by flooding,” the statement read.

It was also stated that General Bajwa met with troops on the field and praised their efforts to bring comfort to the people awaiting their assistance.

The COAS quoted saying, “Helping the people of Pakistan in need is a noble cause, and we must be proud to assist them to the best of our abilities.”

Relief items

The administration has stated that relief supplies from the United Arab Emirates will arrive at 4:30 p.m. today.

On the request of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the plane bringing the initial shipment of relief supplies from the UAE will arrive at Noor Khan Airbase today, according to the government’s official Twitter account.

In the coming days, 15 more flights from the UAE will reach Pakistan.

According to Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, two Turkish aircraft bringing relief supplies will land in Karachi (Monday).

“The Turkish Consul General in Karachi will deliver the relief supplies to the Pakistani authorities at the airport tomorrow morning,” she tweeted in a series on Sunday.

The relief supplies consist of tents, medications, and other items.

She stated that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif notified Turkish President Recep Erdogan by telephone on Saturday about the devastation caused by the floods in the country.

Aurangzeb stated that additional humanitarian supplies were anticipated from Turkey.

Bilawal expects the IMF will consider the economic impact of floods.

In the meantime, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stated that Pakistan required financial assistance to deal with “crushing” floods. He hoped that international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund would consider the economic repercussions.

In an interview with Reuters, Bilawal stated, “I’ve never witnessed destruction on this scale; it’s tough to put into words… it’s overwhelming.” He added that the crops that provided most of the population’s livelihoods had been destroyed.

He said this would have an impact on the economy as a whole. “In the future, I anticipate that not only the IMF but also the entire society and international agencies will comprehend the extent of the disaster.”

According to Bilawal, the economic impact is still being evaluated, although some estimates have it at $4 billion. However, given the impact on infrastructure and people’s means of subsistence, he predicted that the total amount would be significantly greater.

He added that Pakistan would appeal this week, asking UN member nations to contribute to relief operations. In addition, the country must examine how it will deal with the long-term effects of climate change.

“In the following phase, when we consider rehabilitation and reconstruction, we will have discussions with the IMF, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank,” added Bilawal.

Resources: Dawn, AFP, Reuters