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Friday, April 19, 2024

Quick relief measures save lives of locals, tourists stuck in Swat floods

Quick relief measures have saved many lives from the flood in Swat, both locals and tourists were evacuated as the situation had become dire.

Flash floods following heavy rains took the lives of five people and destroyed multiple houses in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Swat Valley.

The popular tourist destination was a scene of destruction and chaos after the floods wreaked havoc in the valley severely damaging fields, roads and connecting bridges.

Madain, Bahrain and Kalam were also cut off from the rest of the province after floods water washed away 12 bridges connecting the areas.

Tourists and visitors have been rescued

According to the province’s disaster management authority, multiple visitors stuck in Kalam and other tourist destinations are being rescued by flood relief teams formed by the army.

Hotels in the area have also been closed down after a flood alert was issued by the district management. Houses and hotels near the Swat River banks in Charsadda were evacuated after water entered there due to high floods. People are being relocated to safer areas.

Tourists visiting the area expressed their disappointment over an inability to visit the places they had planned to. “We were on our way to Mahodand but the road was blocked due to landslide,” one of the tourists said.

“I have come back to the valley after 17 years and wanted to enjoy it but the situation here is very scary,” he added.

Unprecedented destruction through floods

A similar ordeal is being faced by people across the province. Over four people drowned after Kunhar River and Siran River flooded in Mansehra and Upper Hazara Division.

In Swabi, five people were killed after the roof of a house collapsed. A low-level flood has also been recorded in the Kabul River in Nowshera. Another

The KP government has formed a flood control room and two emergency relief centres in the province. People in villages neighbouring areas with flood warnings have been evacuated. The Tehsil Municipal Administration, Irrigation Department, Rescue 1122, police and other line departments have been alerted to deal with flood-related incidents.

Further rain expected, may exacerbate Swat flood

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department more rains with thunderstorms are expected in Dir, Swat, Buner, Shangla, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Haripur, Mardan, Nowshera and Charsadda on Thursday and Friday.

“Heavy falls may trigger landslides in vulnerable areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the period,” it said, adding that precautionary measures should be taken to avoid any more human and material losses.

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Heavy flooding in the River Swat sent a raging torrent at Khyali area in Charsadda, however, the protective embankments built following the devastating 2010 floods helped save the district from destruction.

In 2010, a flood torrent with 90,000 cusecs of water had caused widespread damage to standing crops and properties in Charsadda. However, the construction of the protective embankments measuring 134 kilometer saved the district from floods.

Now the flood torrent with 180,000 cusecs of water can pass through Khyali area without causing floods in the river.

Other nearby areas also affected near Swat by flood

An official of the Irrigation Department told this scribe that the link bridge at Khyali was closed to traffic as a precautionary measure, disrupting the flow of traffic on the Peshawar-Charsadda Road. However, the motorway was open to traffic.

He added that the Swat River was in high flood at Bahrain, Madyan and Panjgora. The flooding caused some damage to crops in the catchment areas in Tangi, Shabqadar and Charsadda, he said. A survey was also ordered to assess the damage.

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Meanwhile, the district administration was put on high alert in order to cope with any untoward situation.

Deputy Commissioner, Bajaur, Fayyaz Khan Sherpao has directed all the government departments to take precautionary steps to cope with any flooding emergency in the district.

“All the government departments must be prepared for any emergency situation being created by the possible flooding to minimize losses and damage to infrastructures in the district,” said a communique issued by the deputy commissioner.

The government departments have been asked to remain alert and keep a vigil on the rivers and seasonal streams flowing in the district.

The agriculture department was directed to clean the seasonal streams and keep close liaison with the people to help them promptly in case of flooding. The official asked relevant departments to keep ready relief goods, which would be provided to the flood affectees.

GVS News Desk