Homes flooded as relentless rain batters Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of homes and businesses were flooded, some for the second time this month, as heavy rain and thunderstorms swept across parts of Islamabad early Saturday.

Residents in sector H-13 neighbourhood were forced to flee from homes after water entered the basements of several buildings.

People in affected neighbourhoods incurred heavy losses as rescue teams could not enter the areas to aid those stranded.

Later in the morning, Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz said Islamabad’s municipal authority, Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC), along with the district administration launched massive dewatering operations.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecast the weather will remain hot, humid, and partly cloudy across swathes of the country on Saturday, whereas thunder and precipitation are likely in Islamabad, and parts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan.

The agency also forecast heavy rains in upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, upper Punjab, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

In addition, rain and wind-thunderstorm is expected in lower parts of Sindh and Kashmir. Whereas, in Rawalpindi, the Water And Sanitation Agency (WASA) has issued an alert. Heavy equipment has been delivered to low-lying areas, and authorities are monitoring the water flow in the Lai drain, according to the agency’s Rawalpindi Managing Director Muhammad Tanveer.

According to Tanveer, the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have received a total of 55 millimetres of rain. He said the water level at the Katarina point of Lai drain is 12 feet, while the same at Gawalmandi Bridge is approximately nine feet.

A spokesman for WASA’s Rwalapindi office said rescue teams have been deployed at Committee Chowk Underpass, Liaquat Bagh, Sadiqabad, Satellite Town, and Jamia Masjid Road neighbourhoods.

Every year many cities in Pakistan struggle with the annual monsoon deluge, drawing criticism about poor government planning. The season runs from July to September and experts say rains are essential for irrigating crops and replenishing dams and other water reservoirs in Pakistan.

At least 77 people died in rain-related incidents across Pakistan in the past three weeks, the country’s minister for climate change said on Wednesday.

The monsoon rains have also damaged homes, roads, bridges and power stations, Sherry Rehman told a news conference.

Rehman said 39 of the 77 people died in Balochistan. TV footage showed vehicles being swept away by deluges in Balochistan.

Some of the areas in southern Pakistan have faced drought since earlier this year.

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