August 29, 2022
ISLAMABAD – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kohistan tehsil was reeling on Sunday as officials continued to call for help in rescuing people stranded in areas “completely cut off” due to the deadly floods that have laid waste to lives and infrastructure across the country.
A day earlier, some 350,000 people were evacuated from Charsadda and Nowshera as powerful flash floods in the province caused the Kabul River to swell, sweeping away a large bridge overnight and cutting off some districts from road access.
Today’s developments – Death toll since mid-June tops 1,000 – Kandia tehsil officials seek help – Forty tourists rescued from Kumrat and shifted to Upper Dir and Swat, several still stranded – Evacuations continue – Sindh braces for fresh deluge from swollen rivers in the north – PM Shehbaz receives briefing in Balochistan; announces Rs10bn for province – COAS visits Sindh – Schools to remain closed in Balochistan from Monday (August 29) to Friday (September 2) – Bilawal hopes IMF will take economic fallout of floods into account
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said the death toll from the monsoon rains had reached 1,033 since mid-June, with 119 killed in the previous 24 hours.
The chairman of Upper Kohistan’s Kandia tehsil, Anwar Ul Haq, told Dawn.com today that Kandia has been “completely cut-off” from the rest of Kohistan’s areas and there are no mobile phone signals.
He added that locals made their way through perilous conditions on foot — with some travelling for two days — and informed him that an estimated 2,000 houses had been washed away in the floods.
Haq said there is an acute need for food and medicine in Kandia as cases of diarrhoea have surged.
Separately, Lower Kohistan Assistant Commissioner Saqib Khan told Dawn.com that the military has been requested to fly in helicopters to rescue stranded families there since “there is no road route, the communication system and electricity in the affected areas [has broken down]”.
Hours later, Saqib Khan said that the helicopter had arrived. “With the grace of God our rescue is here, and the electricity has been restored.”
There were also reports that 11 people were stranded due to flood waters in Lower Kohistan’s Kayal valley, Rescue 1122 spokesperson Farman Afridi told Dawn.com.
He said teams have been scrambled there under the supervision of District Emergency Officer Sajid Ali Yousafzai and Assistant Commissioner Saqib Khan and a rescue operation was underway.
In the evening, Assistant Commissioner Khan said 11 people were rescued in the Kayal valley, where a rescue operation, led by the district emergency officer, was completed after five house.
In a statement issued late in the evening, the military’s media affairs wing said an individual stranded in a flood in Kohistan had been rescued by the Pakistan Army and aviation pilots.
“An emergency call was made by the Kohistan administration . Responding immediately, the Mangla GOC (general officer commanding division) and Mangla commander brigade who were on a flood assessment mission near Pattan diverted from original flight to save the previous life,” the statement said, adding that had the officials not reached on time, the individual would have drowned.
“The pilots made a daring attempt, lowered the helicopter and the officers and crew lifted the individual safely,” the ISPR statement said.
Today morning, Pakistan Army aviation helicopters flew four sorties to rescue stranded people.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), 110 stranded people have been evacuated from Khawazakhela to Kanju Cantonment, Swat.
“These stranded people are being provided meals and necessary medical care,” ISPR said in a statement.
Stranded people who are struck at a mountaintop in Kumrat will be evacuated by army helicopters especially flown from Kamju cantonment Swat as soon as the weather permits, it added.
Hours later, ISPR said the first team of Pakistan Army troops had reached the Khana Bodosh site where these families were struck. “The follow-up army troops have crossed Barikot. Pakistan army aviation helicopters have flown and are on their way to the location,” it added in a statement.
ISPR also shared contact details of a Flood Relief Control Centre established by the Dir Scouts.
In case of emergency or if assistance is required, please reach out to the Dir scouts Flood Relief control room on the following numbers:
- Mobile 1: 03091311310
- Mobile 2: 03235780067
- Landline: 0945-825526
An evening update by the ISPR said the military had conducted 62 helicopter sorties in flood affected areas of the country thus far.
It said that seven army helicopters were used to conduct 20 sorties and evacuated 246 stranded individuals over the past 24 hours.
Moreover, 14.71 tons of ration tons of ration/ relief items, 7,845 ration packets and 1,600 tents were distributed in flood-affected areas during the past 24 hours, the ISPR said, adding that 29,205 patients were treated at medical camps so far.
The ISPR said that 217 relief item collection points had been established in all Formations Area of Responsibility.
Syed Aqil Shah, a tour operator, told Dawn.com that 40 Tourists stranded in Kumrat valley were rescued and shifted to Upper Dir and Swat, however, several were still stranded and waiting for rescue.
“I am in regular contact with the stranded tourists and they need urgent help,” he said, adding that roads were completely washed away and hotel owners faced a shortage of food items.
“I spoke to a family there [in Kumrat]. They all gathered in one hotel and hotels [have] run out of food and other items. A tourist informed me that they are hungry and ate nothing,” he added.
Shah appealed to the government to arrange food items for the stranded tourists.
Meanwhile, eight people trapped by the Swat River at Khawazakhela were evacuated to safety in overnight rescue efforts, Rescue 1122 Swat spokesperson Shafiqa Gul told Dawn.com.
She added that at least 50 people including women and children were shifted to safe places over the past night.
In Bisham, one of two boys stranded in the middle of Bisham Khan Khwar river was rescued after a two-hour rescue effort, Sheraz Khan, station in-charge of Rescue 1122 Bisham told Dawn.com.
Later, Rescue 1122 personnel rescued 32 individuals in Swat’s Takhtaband area, Rescue 1122 official Shafiqa Gul told Dawn.com.
Separately in Shangla, three children were injured when the roof of a house collapsed due to heavy rain, Rescue 1122 focal person Rasool Khan told Dawn.com.
He said the children were shifted to the district headquarter hospital in Alpuri.
A Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) report issued after 9pm on Sunday said one person was killed as a result of rain-induced flooding in Charsadda over the past 12 hours.
The report said 21 houses were completely damaged in the district during this period while a total of 1,860 people were rescued in Charsadda and Babuzai.
Meanwhile, 60 people were rescued in Upper Dir via helicopters, the report added.
The PDMA said 36 relief camps had been set up in four districts of KP, where 745 tents were distributed, among other relief items and food packages.
River water levels remain high at Nowshera, Warsak
Separately, the provincial government’s flood cell said the Kabul River’s water levels at Nowshera and Warsak were “very high” and “high”, respectively.
“Floodwater of 336,461 cusecs is currently passing through Nowshera, while floodwater of 109,000 cusecs is passing through Warsak,” an evening update by the flood cell said.