Heavy rains wreak havoc in Pakistan's capital

Published July 29, 2021, 7:03 AM

by Xinhua

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani officials said on Wednesday that heavy rains have wreaked havoc in the country’s federal capital Islamabad, killing at least two people while injuring several others.

People examine a damaged vehicle after heavy rains in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, on July 28, 2021. Pakistani officials said on Wednesday that heavy rains have wreaked havoc in the country’s federal capital Islamabad, killing at least two people while injuring several others. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)

A woman and a child were killed and several others injured when flood water due to overnight heavy rains entered the basement of their house in the Sector E-11 area of Islamabad, Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat told Xinhua, adding that at least seven others were injured in roof collapse incidents in the suburbs of the capital.

Several buildings, shops and vehicles were also damaged due to heavy downpour in the affected areas, he said, adding that continuous rains in Islamabad and its twin city Rawalpindi inundated many low-lying areas and main roads, creating immense difficulties for the residents.

He said that cloudburst has occurred in the federal capital which triggered flash floods, with 330 mm of rain recorded in some areas.

Heavy rains accompanied by strong winds also uprooted trees and destroyed makeshift shelters. Electricity supply in several areas of the twin cities remained suspended.

Muhammad Farukh, a 48-year old resident of Islamabad, said that he was sleeping when flood water entered his home in the wee hours of Wednesday as wall at the back of his house collapsed due to heavy rain.

“My parents were sleeping in the basement when the rainwater breached the wall of the house. I immediately called rescue officials who came to save my family members from the gushing water,” Farukh told Xinhua.

He said that there are many other houses in his neighborhood which got partially damaged due to flash floods, adding that rescue and relief operations are being carried out by rescuers.

Commenting on the situation in the federal capital, the country’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said that the Pakistani army and other local authorities are present in various areas to deal with any emergency condition.

“Army is alert, WASA (Water and Sanitation Agency) is alert … the whole administration is on duty,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the army’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement that “army troops are busy in assisting civil administration in rescue and relief efforts. Contingencies plans in place to meet any flood situation.” Speaking with Xinhua, Sayed Munawar Shah, a senior official of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), said that heavy machinery and trained staff have been deployed to clear major roads and restore traffic.

He said that excessive water and debris are being removed in several localities. “Most of the locations and avenues have been cleared and efforts are underway to clear the remaining areas.” Also, the spillways of Rawal Dam are being opened as the water in the reservoir increased after heavy downpour in the twin cities, the CDA official said, adding that the public have been advised to stay away from riverbanks during the ongoing rain spell.

On Monday, the Pakistan Meteorological Department said that strong monsoon currents are continuously penetrating in parts of the country and likely to continue during the on-going week.

Heavy rains may generate flash flooding in low-lying areas of several districts of the country including Islamabad and Rawalpindi, said the weather department, advising all the concerned authorities to remain alert during the forecast period.