Pakistan: 27 killed in Mardan, Swabi flash floods Crops, houses destroyed, hundreds left homeless
MARDAN: In all 27 people were killed and many suffered injuries during flash floods in Mardan and Swabi suburbs after Saturday night's rains. The floods inundated Kabul river and many canals submerging several villages, damaging about 450 houses and drowning numerous cattle heads. Rural areas of Mardan district, including Rustam, Shahbaz Garhi, Bala Garhi, Kalo Khan, Ghalyara, Machi, Garhi Dawlatzai, Garhi Ismailzai and other areas were badly hit by floods submerging about 450 houses, destroying standing crops totally, and washing away several bridges. Traffic between Swabi and Mardan, Mardan-Rustam, Mardan-Shahbaz Garhi and Mardan-Dubian was totally cut off.. According to sources about 27 people died, including wife of Hazarullah, Wali Muhammad son of Mirawas Khan, Zinat wife of Wali Muhammad, Murtaza son of Wali Muhammad, Mahnoor daughter of Wali Muhammad, Dilshad daughter of Ridullah, Nazir son of Mir Saeed, Saiqa daughter of Mir Aslam, an unidentified person of 70 years resident of Gharyala and seven belonging to Garhi Kapura while several people got seriously injured. Nine persons went missing in Gharyala, two in Kaganau camp and two in Balagarhi area of Mardan. The deaths mainly occurred due to collapsing of roofs as a number of villages were inundated. Thousands of people are trapped in the flood-hit areas and efforts are underway by the locals and welfare organisations to shift them to safer places. Fields of corn, rice, sugarcane and tobacco have also been damaged in Swabi and Mardan. The heavy floods also swept away Kalu Khan Bridge in Swabi while the communication network has severely been damaged in Mardan district. Some 200 kutcha houses mostly inhabited by the Afghan refugees near Mardan were also destroyed by the heavy rains. According to police dozens of villages, including Mohib Banda, Shahbaz Garhi, Rustum, Nawan Kally, Sewa, Batgram and Karyara were badly affected by heavy rain early Sunday morning that brought flash flood in rainy nullahs. As result of which nine persons died instantly when roof of their dilapidated houses caved in suddenly. The injured were rushed to local hospital for treatment. Relief activities have been started and district administration, police and people are busy in relief operations. Debris are being removed and people are being shifted to safe places. Meanwhile, a spokesman of Emergency Response Unit (ERU) said that two truck loads of relief goods were sent to Mardan for the flood affected people. There were also reports that three children belonging to two families have disappeared. The district administration has declared emergency in union council Adina, Ismalia and Kalu Khan and the officials said they were striving to help the people. The flood water passed through houses and streets and the main Swabi-Mardan road also came under it in Adina region, causing closure of the road for all kinds of traffic for more than four hours. The Khat Kili Bridge which links densely populated Kalu Khan with its suburbs was washed away by the water. This bridge was constructed at the cost of Rs 10.3 million by the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal government. People said that substandard material was used in its construction. They appealed to the NWFP governor to order an inquiry into the poor construction work and award exemplary punishment to the officials responsible for wasting public money. People said it was the first time that the Badri Nullah has turned thousands people homeless in the area and many cattle heads were washed away. The flood in Badri Nullah started early in the morning and with the passage of time more and more areas were submerged. The perturbed people were running for saving their life while the females and males were taking their children to safer places. They said that if the flood had hit their regions at night it would have caused many deaths but early in the morning they noticed the danger and started running for safer regions. All the villages located at the brink of Badri Nullah experienced the flood. The water entered the houses which severely damaged the buildings. The most affected villages were Shewa, Sheikh Jana, Kernel Sher Khan Kili, Adina, Islamia, Asota and their surrounding regions by the flood water. A visit to the area revealed that as compared with other villages Ismalia was badly affected. The cultivated land in these regions submerged in the flood water and the maize and rice crops were completely destroyed. In addition, the valuables at homes were wiped out and the stored grains were destroyed by water. Muhammad Raiz of Sheikh Jana said there were no chances to take the valuables to the safer places and only the protection of the children was a great victory. He said that villages surrounding the Badri Nullah were always at the risk of inundation because the people crossed their own areas and encroached into the Nullah running bed. "The main road to Sheikh Jana union council completely destroyed by the flood and if the government wants its reconstruct it would cost about Rs 2 million. When asked local officials said the district government was not expecting such high flood and that was the reason that precautionary measures had not been taken to deal with the situation by them. The people have faced the food problems because their food items were completely obliterated by the water. When the officials of the district administration asked they said the food supply from the provincial government would reach very soon and all the necessary items would be provided to the people. Despite the claim of the officials no high raking official has visited the flood hit areas and there were reports that NWFP Chief Minister would visit the area but due to unknown reasons he did not visit here. However, people said that an army helicopter took the aerial view of the region and returned to his camp. The people said that they did not know how their night would be passed and how they would feed their babies. Meanwhile, the troops of Pakistan Army, along with boats, have been positioned at Mohib Banda, Bagram and Ismaila areas of district Mardan and Swabi to rescue people if any trapped in the flood, a spokesman of ISPR said on Sunday. The water in Kalpani Nullah is receding and road would soon be opened for traffic, he said. He said that Corps Flood Relief Centre has been established in Peshawar and is working round-the-clock in coordination with provincial relief commissioner and Pakistan Disaster Management Authority. In case of any emergency, the affected persons and needy can contact at these phone lines 091-2012984 and 2012362. Balakot also received the heaviest rain where it was recorded 144 millimetre followed by 85 mm in Rawalpindi, 80 mm in Muzaffarabad and 65 mm in Abbottabad. There has also been heavy rain in Azad Kashmir and two persons were killed and a number of others injured when a flooded nullah washed away their houses in Bagh district. Most of the roads in Bagh have been closed due to landslides and the city has been cut off with the rest of the country. In the surrounding areas of Bagh, several houses and shops were also washed away by the hill torrents causing losses of millions of rupees. The Meteorological department has forecast more rains during the next two days.
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