pakistan rain flood
The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has predicted more rains in Sindh, including Karachi, from August 5 to 9. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Heavy rains and subsequent floods have killed at least 502 people and destroyed thousands of homes across Pakistan since the monsoon rains began in mid-June.

The worst affected is the southwestern province of Balochistan, where the death toll has reached 150, with 15 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, according to disaster management authority officials.

The heavy downpour continued to batter several districts of Balochistan, destroying houses, roads and bridges, destroying crops and sweeping away livestock. The recent deaths were reported in Zhob, Qilla Saifullah, Kohlu, Naushki and Lasbela areas of Balochistan that endured flash floods.

On Tuesday, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) dispatched 1,000 ration bags from the Saudi relief agency King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KS Relief) for flood-hit people in Jafarabad, Naseerabad, Sahbatpur, Sibi and Kutch regions of Balochistan.

The devastating floods prompted the country’s military, navy, and air force to mobilise their personnel and assets to assist in civilian relief operations, evacuating thousands of stranded people and delivering food and relief items to families. On August 1, one Pakistani army helicopter crashed in the Lasbela region of Balochistan during the flood relief mission, killing six on board.

More rains predicted from August 5

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) on Tuesday predicted more rains in Sindh, including Karachi, from August 5 to 9. PMD advised all relevant authorities to take necessary precautions in an emergency.

Climate Minister Sherry Rehman warned that more downpours were predicted in Karachi, where torrential rains caused widespread flooding and damage in July, killing at least 39 people. “Met Office also cautioned that heavy falls may generate water-logging in low-lying areas of Karachi, Badin, Thatta, Sujawal, Tando Muhammad khan, Tando Allayar, Dadu, Jamshoro Kambar Shahdadkot”, she said.

Weather outlook for August

In its outlook for August 2022, Pakistan’s Met Office predicted “above normal precipitation over most parts of the country” this month. The advisory said that Northeastern Punjab, Kashmir, southern parts of Sindh, and coastal areas of Balochistan are expected to receive above-normal rainfall in August. Most features of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan may receive slightly above normal during August 2022

Met Office warned that heavy rainfall could trigger flash flooding in hilly areas of Punjab, AJK and KP, as well as urban flooding in major cities of Punjab, Sindh and KP, adding that riverine floods can not be ruled out. “Above normal temperatures in high altitudes are likely to increase the rate of snowmelt in the northern areas, subsequently increasing the chances of base flow in the Upper Indus basin.”