Islamabad: A mother and her son were killed on Wednesday as several areas of Islamabad city were affected by urban flooding after heavy rainfall and cloudburst.
Videos shared on social media showed cars in the E-11 neighbourhood being washed downstream amid a torrent of murky water after rainwater flooded the streets. At least 5 vehicles were damaged in the floods.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat urged the public to “cooperate and restrict unnecessary movements” as the city administration was busy clearing drains and roads in the affected areas. Army troops and rangers also joined the rescue efforts by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in the main areas as well as suburbs of Islamabad.
Talking to Gulf News on Wednesday evening, DC Islamabad said that “all the flooded areas in Islamabad have been cleared now” after the administration spearheaded swift efforts since early morning. Recalling the incident, he said “a mother and her son sadly lost their lives in a private housing society when the rainwater flooded the basement within a minute after the collapse of the wall, however, we have launched an inquiry into the accident”. Some citizens claimed that the flooding in E-11 sector was due to “poor management” of private housing schemes with no emergency preparedness.
PM asks NDMA to remain on high alert
Reacting to the news of flooding, Prime Minister Imran Khan cautioned citizens to take “special care” during the heavy monsoon rains. He also directed National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and all emergency response services to stay “on high alert with ready and rapid emergency response actions.”
Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) spokesman Dr Zaheer Babar told the media that in various parts of Islamabad record-breaking rains were witnessed in the suburbs of Saidpur village and Golra Sharif which received 128mm and 106mm rain respectively during the last 24 hours. “Islamabad and surrounding areas received a heavy downpour of monsoon rainfall during the morning hours from 0500 PST till 0630 PST” the Met Office said.
Environmentalists said that urban flooding in Islamabad should serve as a warning for government departments to take swift action and prevent disaster as Pakistan is among countries most vulnerable to climate change.
“Flooding due to unprecedented rainfall is due to climate change and it is happening around the globe but what makes Pakistan and other South Asian countries more vulnerable is the lack of preparation, mismanagement, encroachment on both sides of roads and absence of urban planning,” Maryam Shabbir Abbasi, an environmentalist at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), told Gulf News.
“There is no proper system of waste management in Pakistan and the heap of garbage is thrown in the water channels (nullahs) made for the passage of rainwater. The result is what we are witnessing now in the form of urban flooding, destruction and deaths” she said.
Last week, at least 15 people were killed and several injured during a spell of heavy rains in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.