Floods play havoc, 36 die in Chitral

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Dead include 15 Namazis, six of a family; Troops engaged in rescue operation

Tariq Saeed

Peshawar—Torrential rains causing heavy floods in parts of Chitral District Saturday late evening re-portedly swept away more than three dozen people including women and children and seriously in-jured over 50 others.
The death toll is likely to go higher as around two dozen people are missing.
Those killed include a large number of Namazis as the angry waters swept away a mosque when the Tarahwi prayers were in progress while six of a family including four children and their parents also died in the devastating flood.
Besides, a security check post was washed away and the local sources say eight of the security per-sonals present in the post are missing while four others sustained injuries. A large number of houses and other buildings were damaged by the gushing waters that inundated vast area of Darosh Tehsil of Chitral.
The Government of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa has de-clared emergency in the region and issued red alert as more floods are feared in the days to come. The provincial government has immediately kicked off relief activities in village Arsoon of Darosh Tehsil, District Chitral, which was badly devastated by torrential rains and floods.
Pakistan Army and Chitral levies have also launched relief and rescue operation and assisting the district administration that has requested the Federal Government for the provision of a Helicop-ter to effectively conduct rescue and relief activi-ties.
The communication links of the area have been damaged badly cutting it off from the rest of the country. The Provincial Disaster Management Au-thority (PDMA) also said that severe floods were creating difficulties in the rescue activities.
Deputy Commissioner Chitral has said at least 28 people have been reported as missing while 37 houses have been damaged completely by the flood waters. Forty-seven houses were partially damaged due to floods and rain in the area. Officials said 10 bodies were recovered from across the border in Afghanistan side.
Reports said the heavy rains staring in the eve-ning led to floods in the Nullahs and streams in Ar-soon village of Darosh Tehsil late in the evening that played havoc in the area. A mosque where the faithful were offering Tarahwi prayers was washed away by the angry waters reportedly killing at least 15 Namazis due to roof collapse. Besides, six of a family including four children and their parents were reported dead when their house was washed away by the flood water.
The District Nazim said that rescue operations are undergoing difficulties as all the routes are blocked after the floods. Local people accompanied by Lev-ies and Pakistan Army are busy in rescue opera-tions.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said that they are in contact with the district administration are closely monitoring the situation. He accused federal government and KP provincial authorities for devastation in the region. Chitral Nazim said that the government allocated billions for rehabilitation of last year’s flood affec-tees in Chitral, but did not execute any project. He said the Chitral district was situated in the flood Red Zone but despite this, the governments have not set up district offices of NDMA and PDMA in Chitral.
The Chief Minister Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has issued red alert in the flood hit areas in Chitral that caused loss of precious human lives and damages to property and announced compensa-tion for the loss of precious human lives and dam-ages to property.
Expressing grief and concern over the loss of pre-cious human lives and property, he directed the dis-trict administration and PDMA for accelerated res-cue operation for evacuation of stranded people. A helicopter has been arranged for the swift rescue operation. He said rescue, relief and rehabilitation of the affectees are the top priority hence the dis-trict administration and the PDMA should carry out till the evacuation of last victim. However, there should be a joint relief and rescue operation with the NDMA and Pak Army.
The Chief Minister said that Rs50 million have been released for the provision of flood and other necessary items in order to mitigate the hardships and suffering of affectees.
He directed for accelerated efforts for distribution of relief goods and 500 tents in addition to blanket and other items among the flood affectees and the provision of relief goods should not be a problem.
The Chief Minister also asked for a detailed re-port of the loss of precious human lives, injured person and damaged property. The government, he assured will prepare an overall recovery plan for all the losses and damages in the Chitral flood. How-ever he directed the officials engaged in the rescue operation and the provincial government officials to keep on a vigilant eye on the flood situation in the vulnerable areas and take preventive measures that will reduce the level of damages, if flood con-tinued in such areas. Monitoring should be con-tinuous process, he added.
In the meanwhile The spokesman of the KP Government and the Provincial Minister for Infor-mation Mushtaq Ghani has said that the provincial Govt has released an amount of Rs15 million for relief activities in rain and flood affected areas of Chitral and more amounts will be released in due course of time. Official helicopter of Chief Minister KP has been placed at the disposal of PDMA for relief activities, he added.
In a statement Mushtaq Ghani said that relief ac-tivities in Chitral are in full swing and district ad-ministration was very much present in the affected areas. He said that so far 50 food and non-food packages has been distributed in the effected areas. He maintained that NDMA had been re-quested for the provision of a helicopter to carry out relief activities in the inaccessible areas.
Mushtaq Ghani said that joint search and rescue operation of Pakistan Army, Police and Levies was underway to recover the missing individuals. He said that emergency was declared in Tehsil HQ Hospital Darosh. He said that the provincial gov-ernment has already announced an amount of Rs0.3 million for death and Rs100,000 for injured person. Beside, Rs100,000 for fully-damaged house and Rs50,000 for partially-damaged house.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Governor Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and others have expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in flash flood. The prime minister prayed to Almighty Allah to bless the martyred souls with eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved families to bear the irrepa-rable losses. He directed the National Disaster Management Authority and other rescue and relief agencies to recover those stranded due to the floods in Chitral and speed up rescue and relief activities in the area.
The prime minister also directed the authorities concerned to keep him updated on the situation. Imran Khan expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of lives. He prayed to Almighty Allah to bless the martyred souls with eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved families to bear the irreparable losses. Imran Khan directed KP gov-ernment to recover those stranded due to the floods in Chitral and speed up rescue and relief activities in the area.
The army troops are engaged in relief and rescue operation in Chitral following the flood.

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