Brief, heavy rainfall causes flooding in garrison cityArchive
RAWALPINDI: Heavy rainfall in the early hours of Friday increased the water level in Leh Nullah and caused flooding at a hospital, the airport and low-lying areas.
The water level in Leh Nullah reached 17 feet, prompting the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) and the district administration to issue warning to residents living along its banks so they could shift to safer places.
Army personnel were also called into the city for emergency situations, and were stationed in Gawalmandi, on Murree Road and in other areas.
More rainfall expected in Islamabad, upper Punjab, says Met Office
Communications systems were disrupted and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) suspended the supply of electricity to several areas. Wasa sanitation workers, supervised by Managing Director Raja Shaukat Mehmood, drained water from various areas.
The walls of houses in areas such as Dhoke Hassu and Gulistan-i-Fatima Colony reportedly collapsed as well, but no casualties were reported.
Small and large roads, including the Pirwadhai, Moti Mehal and Committee Chowk underpasses, in the city resembled lakes, and the choked sewerage system and small nullahs in the city and cantonment areas exposed the poor performance of the government and cantonment boards’ civic organisations.
Rainwater entered several houses and shops in Bohar Bazaar, Moti Bazaar, Sadiqabad, Javed Colony, Arya Mohallah, Chandni Chowk, Dhoke Hassu, Dhoke Elahi Bux, Nadim Colony, Commercial Market, Adra Mohallah and Dhoke Jumma, and on Jamia Masjid Road, Murree Road, Lane 4 Peshawar Road, Adiala Road and other areas.
The Holy Family Hospital dengue ward was also flooded, and doctors kept patients from getting off their beds in the ward.
“I woke up at 2am and after the rain started, shifted the family to the upper storey fearing flooding in the nearby Leh Nullah,” said Mohammad Rahat, a Javed Colony resident.
Malik Manzoor, a Bohar Bazaar shopkeeper, said rainwater entered his shop and damaged his goods.
“Soon after the rainfall, the watchman called me and told me water had accumulated in front of the shop. I went there and tried to save my goods and drain the water in the shop,” he said.
Mohammad Hussain, a shopkeeper on Jamia Masjid Road, said his boxes and mattress were soaked with rainwater. He added that rainfall in the summer always created problems in the area, but the local administration had failed to take notice.
Raja Faiz from Shakrial said the civic authorities did not dredge nullahs properly, causing them to get choked with rainwater, which led to flooding in his home. He said his family had spent the night draining water from the house.
When contacted, Raja Shaukat Mehmood from Wasa said the organisation had brought machinery to rain-affected areas to pump water out of the roads and streets.
He said the water level recovered in Katarian was 8ft, and 12ft at Gawalmindi. Wasa teams have drained water from Sadiqabad, Murree Road, Jamia Masjid Road, Saidpur Road, the Committee Chowk underpass and Rehmanabad using heavy machinery, he said.
He added that the water was removed before the day began, and people moved around outside without any fear.
Met Office forecasts more rainfall in capital, Rawalpindi
The hot and humid environment in Rawalpindi and Islamabad invited strong monsoon winds, resulting in the highest amount of rainfall across the country on Friday morning.
It began raining early on Friday and continued until sunrise. The heavy downpour lasted a few hours, and resulted in 86mm of rainfall in Rawalpindi and 85mm in Islamabad.
Shamsabad received 86mm, Bokra received 85mm, Chaklala received 68mm, Golra received 51mm, Basin Mean received 44.4mm, Zero Point received 38mm and Saidpur received 23mm.
According to the Met Office, more rain-thunderstorms are expected at scattered locations in Islamabad and upper Punjab, including Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and the Lahore divisions, as well as in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir.
Hot, humid weather is expected in the rest of the country.
Precipitation in the region also dropped the atmospheric temperature, as rain bearing clouds arrived with winds from the northeast. Satellite imagery on the meteorological department’s website shows heavy cloud formations over central India moving towards the western Himalayas and Pakistan.
“The winds that hit mountainous areas become very cold but after hitting the mountains these winds turn south towards GB, KP, AJK and northern Punjab,” a Met Office official said, adding that the winds collide with warm winds from India bringing heavy rain.
At the same time, the presence of clouds over the mountainous region will block sunshine over the glaciers and prevent snow from melting rapidly there.
The Met Office has also issued a farmers advisory, guiding the agricultural sector to be cautious of accumulated rainwater.
Stagnant water in the fields due to heavy rain is fatal to standing crops like cotton etc, and farmers are advised to schedule irrigation plans in accordance with expected weather mentioned during the coming days, the Met Office has said.
Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2017