Flash floods wreak havoc in Chitral for second consecutive day

CHITRAL:

Flash floods wreaked havoc in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chitral district for the second consecutive day on Saturday, with villages Danin, Kari and Ayun besides Koghuzi Valley inundated as the Yarkhun River swelled due to melting glaciers and snow.

Rescue efforts were impeded as bridges in Koghuzi Valley and Kari village were damaged and rendered inaccessible by the flood water. A stretch of the Chitral-Booni Road at Nirdeth Gol near Chitral Town was also washed away, cutting off access to affected areas.

At least eight more houses and four commercial properties were damaged by the overflowing river water while four motorcycles and several farm animals were swept away by the current, among other possessions.

Moreover, the flood uprooted four giant poplar trees that had stood tall in the Chitral Fort for centuries besides causing damage to the fort itself.

A day prior, the flood had left Government Primary School Pewar and 18 other houses submerged.

Thousands of acres of land, meadows and standing crops were reduced to mush while the canal system and roads were affected as the flood left infrastructural damage in its wake.

The dire situation has forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes in low-lying areas, leaving behind their belongings and seeking refuge elsewhere.

Read Glacial outburst threatens Chitral villages

With the immediate need for aid and support in the flood-hit areas, local residents implored the district administration and provincial government to step in and provide emergency assistance, including tents and food supplies, to those stranded and affected by the disaster.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) had, on its part, issued alerts following forecasts from the regional meteorological department of heavy rains between July 13 and 17 across most parts of the province.

To mitigate the potential impact of the predicted rainfall, the PDMA directed all relevant authorities to take precautionary safety measures to protect lives, infrastructure, crops, and cattle.

Areas such as Abbottabad, Chitral Upper and Lower, Dir Upper and Lower, Kohistan, and Torghar were expected to receive significant downpours, prompting the need for proactive preparations.

Tourists were also made aware of the weather forecasts, and emergency services staff and resources were put on standby to respond promptly to any emergencies.

Yet, these measures fell short when it came to safeguarding the life and property of local residents as the economic and infrastructural impact of the devastation caused by the floods is likely to be felt acutely in the days to come.


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