Rescue operations, evacuations under way in parts of Punjab as Sutlej continues to see high flood

According to the authorities, a total of 23,364 individuals from flood-affected areas in Kasur were rescued and shifted to safe locations on Aug 20, 2023.


Rescue personnel assist with evacuations on Sunday in Punjab areas prone to flooding from Sutlej River. PHOTO: DAWN

August 21, 2023

ISLAMABAD – Rescue and evacuation efforts continued in parts of Punjab on Sunday with high to very high level floods in Sutlej River at two points.

Sutlej surged to “extremely high levels” at Ganda Singh Wala Barrage on Saturday, resulting in the evacuation of hundreds of families from 72 villages in Kasur and Chunian, while three people drowned in floodwater in Kasur while trying to find higher ground.

The flood level in the river at Ganda Singh Wala reduced to very high today, according to 6pm update by the Flood Forecasting Division (FFD). The division also reported a high-level flood at Sulemanki Headworks, in line with the FFD’s yesterday forecast.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in Punjab said in a statement that the water level in Sutlej was decreasing in Ganda Singh Wala whereas it was increasing at Sulemanki Headworks.

The flow of water in the river at Islam Headworks was “normal”, it added.

According to the PDMA, low-lying areas of Kasur, Okara, Pakpattan, Vehari, Bahawalnagar, Multan and Lodhran are facing floods and the local administration in these areas has been put on high alert.

“Arrangements for setting up flood relief centres in these areas have been completed while evacuations are under way,” the statement said.

Earlier today, the PDMA in Punjab said 56 locations in the Okara district were expected to be affected by the flood.

According to a statement issued by Lahore Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa’s office, a total of 23,364 individuals from flood-affected areas in Kasur were rescued and shifted to safe locations on Sunday.

“Teams have rescued 15,800 animals, established 13 flood relief camps, 11 medical camps and and 4 livestock camps,” the statement said, adding that all departments were operational at Talwar Post at Ganda Singh Wala. and the flood situation was being monitored continuously.

A separate statement by his office said rescue and relief operations had been accelerated in the riverine/ flood-affected areas of Kasur.

The Kasur deputy commissioner and district police officer were monitoring relief activities in the area while the Lahore commissioner’s office was “continuously monitoring the situation in the Sutlej River”, the statement said.

It quoted Randhawa as saying that rescue teams were present in villages attached to the river and backup rescue and relief teams were on standby.

“Provincial and district authorities, along with other organisations, are actively engaged in providing assistance and relief day and night,” he added.

The commissioner said 15 villages in Kasur had been evacuated and eight police checkpoints had been established for the protection of evacuated residents.

He added that 93 rescue boats and three teams were active in flood-affected areas of Kasur while dumpers and trollies had reached the district from Lahore.

Earlier, a statement issued by Rescue 1122 authorities in Multan said its teams remained engaged in rescue services in Okara, Pakpattan and Vehari.

The teams in these three districts were conducting rescue activities under the supervision of relevant district emergency officers, the statement said, adding that three boats and 21 rescuers were participating in the operations.

“The rescue operation is under way and teams dispatched from Multan had moved several people, including women and children, to safe locations,” the statement said, adding that animals were also being shifted from the affected areas.

Separately, a statement issued by the office of Punjab Relief Commissioner Nabeel Javed said he had directed local administration officials to stay in the field.

He warned them of action in case of “negligence” and said that all relevant departments should stay alert to ensure the protection of people’s lives and properties.

The official directed the provision of food, shelter, water, medicines and other necessary items to affected citizens should be ensured.

The statement said citizens could contact the PDMA on their 1129 helpline in case of an emergency situation.

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