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30 rescued from flood-hit picnic spot in Harnai

30 rescued from flood-hit picnic spot in Harnai

QUETTA: Around 30 picnickers, women and children among them, have been rescued by local people and personnel of security forces in the Zardalo area of Harnai district that has been flooded by hill torrents following heavy rains.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) confirmed on Sunday that five people died in the area on Saturday evening. “The bodies of five youngsters belonging to Christian community have been recovered and shifted to Quetta,” Aslam Tareen, Director General of the PDMA, said.

Over 50 people had gone to Zardalo area on Saturday afternoon for a picnic and some of them climbed the mountains.

Suddenly a massive hill torrent came gushing down the hills and swept away dozens of picnickers and at least five vehicles.

People from a nearby village rushed to the site and launched rescue efforts. They prevented many people, including women and children, from being swept away by the raging torrent.

The villagers were later joined by personnel of the Frontier Corps in the rescue efforts.

“There was no rain in the Zardalo area and people were enjoying beautiful weather at the scenic location. All of a sudden the massive hill torrent hit the picnic spot and picnickers started running helter-skelter to save their lives,” Mohammad Aslam, a survivor, said.

His vehicle was overturned by the impact of the torrent but the villagers rescued his family and saved the vehicle from being washed away.

“Suddenly the 10- to 15-foot-high torrent descended from the mountain and played havoc at the picnic site,” Banaras Khan, a witness, said.

Two bodies were recovered by the villagers at the picnic spot and three others at a distance of 2km from there, he said.

Later, the five victims were buried in Gora Qabristan in Quetta on Sunday evening in the presence of hundreds of people.

Lasbela hit by floods

Several mud houses and animals were washed away by flash floods in Lasbela district which received heavy rain for several hours on Sunday.

The Pir Goth area of Uthal tehsil bore the brunt of the flood and Faqir Bashwani Goth, Lakhra, Lyari, Bela and Winder areas were also affected.

The showers also brought some good news. The local administration said that water level in the Hub Dam had risen to 18 feet and it was still receiving water as rains continued in its catchment areas.

The dam supplies water to parts of Karachi besides the Hub area.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri has asked the deputy commissioner of Lasbela to immediately undertake rescue and relief measures.

He also ordered monitoring of the situation caused by the heavy rainfall in Khuzdar, Harnai, Jaffarabad, Nasirabad and Zhob.

He directed officials of the affected districts and the Frontier Corps to make arrangements for dealing with the situation He said that people living near streams and in flood-affected areas should be shifted to safe places and the PDMA should provide displaced people with food, water, blankets and other required items.

The chief minister also ordered closure for public of picnic spots which might be hit by hill torrents and flash floods.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2016

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