May 2, 2023
ISLAMABAD – Heavy rains that began last week continued to batter parts of Balochistan on Monday, resulting in structural damages and crop losses.
Meanwhile, there were also reports of heavy rain and lightning in some areas of Karachi as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif issued directions for relevant departments across the country to stay alert and use all available resources to help citizens during the ongoing rain spell.
The current rain spell is a consequence of a westerly weather wave, which the Pakistan Meteorological Department predicted would cause rains and thunderstorms across Pakistan till the first week of May.
The weather system has caused heavy showers in parts of Balochistan over the past few days, with at least eight people losing their lives in rain-related incidents in the province.
On Monday, relentless rainfall continued to lash areas in the northeast and south of Balochistan.
A statement issued by Balochistan Development Authority (PDMA) Director General (DG) Naseer Ahmed in the morning said rains and floods had been reported from Kech, Duki, Barkhan, Awaran, Khuzdar, Surab, Ziarat, Harnai, Zhob, Loralai and adjoining areas.
In the evening, a Dawn.com correspondent reported that Musakhel, Qilla Abdullah, Pishin, Muslim Bagh, Makran and Koh-i-Sulaiman, among other areas, had also received rain.
Meanwhile, Lasbela Deputy Commissioner (DC) Murad Kasi said in a statement that part of the Karachi-Quetta National Highway was damaged to flooding in Wahya Rondhi.
“The thoroughfare was later repaired and is open for traffic,” he said.
Separately, several trucks travelling from Harnai to Punjab remained stuck at several spots, according to the information provided by the Levies control room.
Later, PDMA DG Nasir said in his statement that link roads were affected by floods in Kech. He added that all other roads were open for traffic in the province.
Meanwhile, National Highway Authority (NHA) official Agha Hidayatullah also confirmed that all national highways were open for traffic in Balochistan, however adding that the flow of traffic remained partially disrupted on the N-65 Highway due to Pinjra Bridge being washed away.
Due to heavy rain, the water level in Mirani Dam also reached 244 feet, following which the reservoir’s spillway was opened, according to an update by Makran Commissioner Bashir Ahmed.
Regarding rain damages, PDMA DG Nasir said today’s showers had damaged crops in Harnai.
Meanwhile, the Lasbela DC said the roofs of six houses were uprooted in his district.
Balochistan weather forecast
According to a report issued by the PDMA, a westerly weather system was approaching Balochistan, under the influence of which cloudy weather and isolated rain spells were expected in most parts of the province over the next 24 hours.
“Moderate to heavy rain-thunderstorms/hailstorms may occur in Khuzdar, Lasbela, Kech, Awaran, Kharan, Surab, Washuk, Chagai, Qilla Abdullah, Qilla Saifullah, Ziarat, Zhob Harnai, Duki, Loralai, Bolan, Mastung, Sibi, Pishin, Quetta and its surrounding areas,” the report said.
It added that heavy rain may also cause flash floods in these areas.
The report further stated that rain and thunderstorms were also expected in Barkhan, Kohlu, Dera Bugti, Sherani, Musakhel, Khuzdar and their adjoining areas over the next 48 to 72 hours.
“Heavy rains may generate flash floods in Musakhel, Barkhan and their adjoining areas” during this period, the report added.
The PDMA DG said in his statement that all district disaster management authorities (DDMA) and lines departments were advised to remain alert to avoid any untoward situation during the forecast period.
The statement added that the PDMA’s provincial emergency operation centre was working in coordination with all DDMAs.
Rain in Karachi
Rainfall was also reported in various areas of Karachi today.
According to DawnNewsTV, thunderstorm and lightning with rainfall was reported in Safoora Goth, Mosamiyat and their adjoining areas. Meanwhile, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Clifton, Malir Gadap Town, Gadap, Keamari, West Wharf and Netty Jetty were also reported to have received heavy showers at night.
While it was raining, Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz shared a radar image with Dawn.com, saying, “Latest radar echoes depict heavy rain-thunderstorm bands approaching the Karachi city from northwest.”
Taking note of the rain situation, K-Electric, the city’s sole power utility, appealed to citizens to “maintain safe distance from electrical installations”.
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It said in a statement on Twitter that citizens may register their “emergency complaints” with the power utility at helpline number 118. Moreover, KE personnel and staff could also be contacted via its social media channels, live app, through a text message to 8119 and on WhatsApp, the statement added.
کراچی کے مختلف علاقوں سے بارش کی اطلاعات موصول ہورہی ہیں۔ شہریوں سے التماس ہے کے بجلی کی تنصیبات سے محفوظ فاصلہ برقرار رکھیں۔
کے الیکٹریک سوشل میڈیا چینلز، کے ای لائیو ایپ یا 8119 ایس ایم ایس، یا کے ای واٹس ایپ کے ذریعے با آسانی رابطہ کرسکتے ہیں۔
— KE (@KElectricPk) May 1, 2023
Keeping in view the rain forecast, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) had finalised a rain emergency plan on Wednesday and cancelled the leave of all essential staff.
As part of the plan, Karachi Administrator Dr Syed Saifur Rahman had directed that all available pumps and machinery be installed for drainage at all important places in the city and that machinery should also be deployed for the drainage of rainwater from underpasses across the metropolis.
He had instructed that all the relevant personnel should be seen on the roads with specific uniforms in case of rainfall and that accumulated water should be drained immediately.
The fire department, city wardens, rescue unit and the department of municipal services should work in coordination with other services, the KMC director had said, asking citizens to register their complaints at 1339.
PM asks authorities to stay alert
Earlier today, PM Shehbaz directed the relevant federal and provincial departments to remain alert and use all resources to help citizens during the ongoing rain spell in the country, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.
The statement said the premier instructed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and provincial management authorities to closely monitor the rain situation.
He further directed federal departments to work in collaboration with the provincial governments and departments to cope with the situation, the statement said, adding that the premier also instructed that all requirements for ensuring the safety of citizens should be fulfilled.
“Wherever necessary, people should be shifted to safe areas immediately,” the statement quoted him as saying, adding that he directed the NHA and other relevant departments to monitor inter-provincial national highways.
“The prime minister said effective arrangements should be made to ensure traffic flow and public convenience on the Quetta-Karachi Highway in Lasbela and Quetta-Sibbi Highway in Bolan,” the statement read.
It added that the premier also issued instructions for keeping citizens alert and updated about the rain situation in affected areas and on highways.
According to the statement, PM Shehbaz said, “The safety of human lives and property is the top priority of the government and, therefore, all civil service departments should remain vigilant and work with national vigour and responsibility.”
He further appealed to citizens to observe precautionary measures and cooperate with government institutions.
On Saturday, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman had advised farmers to take necessary precautions and mitigation measures to minimise losses and damages in the face of an imminent spell of heavy rainfall in the country.