A fresh monsoon spell, which wreaked havoc on other parts of the country, also caused devastation in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, claiming the lives of 16 people and injuring eight others, officials said on Friday.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), eight people died in Upper Kohistan, six in Swat and two in Shangla after heavy rainfall triggered flash floods. The authority added that five people were still missing and a rescue operation to recover them was underway.
The rains also partially damaged 25 homes while 29 others were completely wrecked, the authority said, adding that the PDMA director general and the Rescue 1122 director general were reviewing rescue and relief operations.
Relief operations were underway in affected areas and necessary aid had been distributed to those affected in Swat, Chitral and Shahgram, the PDMA said. “Work on clearing blocked roads is also underway,” it said.
The authority is in contact with all district administrations and the PDMA’s emergency operation centre is also fully functional, it added.
PDMA spokesperson Taimur Ali stated that the secretary relief and the director general, along with a team, had left for Swat to monitor relief activities, adding that food items and other essentials were being distributed among those affected by the floods.
‘Lost everything to the floods’
However, locals in flood-hit areas told a different story when relating their ordeal.
Residents of Shahgram and Teerat said that at least 45 houses had been washed away and their agricultural land had also been damaged.
“Heavy rains started at 9pm last night causing the Shahgram stream to overflow,” said Akbar Ali, a local. “At 10pm the water started entering our homes and destroyed all the houses situated along the side of the stream.”
He added that majority of the residents had managed to evacuate in time.
The residents also complained that relief activities were being carried out by local volunteers while rescue teams were only doing lip service.
Sharafat Ali, a resident of Shahgram who was busy salvaging his possessions from the wreckage of his home, said that no government department had helped him in recovering his belongings.
“Since morning, locals and my relatives have been lending me a hand. A Rescue 1122 team came but worked with us for only five minutes, took photos and left,” he said. He added that the floods had caused damage worth Rs10 million.
“We spent the whole night under an open sky on a mountain,” said Ataullah, a resident of Reshun village in Upper Chitral.
He added that the main connecting bridge and his home were completely swept away by the floods.
“We have lost everything to the floods. We are looking towards the government and the government is nowhere to be found,” he said, adding that the residents were also facing a shortage of drinking water.
7 family members drown
Meanwhile, Upper Kohistan Deputy Commissioner Arif Khan Yousufzai said that seven members of a family had drowned due to severe flooding in the area.
“Rescue 1122 teams and district administration officials are at the site,” he said, adding that more information on casualties and damages was being collected. He stated that the incident took place in a remote area.
Locals also helped in the rescue operation but only three bodies have been recovered so far, he said.
Bisham-Swat Road and other arteries linked to it were blocked at several points after landslides caused heavy boulders to fall on the thoroughfares. Mahodand-Kalam Road was also closed due to landslides caused by heavy rains.
Flash floods also destroyed parts of Bagh Dherai-Madyan Road at Teerat and Shahgram because of which traffic was transferred to Mingora-Kalam Road.
District Development Advisory Committee Chairman Fazal Hakim Khan, who visited the affected areas, said that the provincial government would give Rs500,000 to the families of the deceased and Rs100,000 to those injured.
Flash floods have been ravaging parts of KP this week after the province received monsoon rainfall. On Wednesday, floods washed away a bridge, a mosque and more than 20 houses in Chitral’s Reshun village.
The floods also submerged two villages in the Kalash valley of Rumbur, damaging 10 houses, a hotel and a government primary school on Tuesday evening.