WPK 220621 PAK RAIN 2-1655819334611
Motorcyclists cover up with polythene sheet during rain in the Peshawar. Image Credit: APP

Islamabad: After the heatwave pushed temperatures close to record highs, Pakistan is now bracing for the risk of flash floods as pre-monsoon rains continue in different parts of the country.

The torrential rains affected different parts of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, causing floods, collapsing roofs and damaging crops, leaving several people stranded and some injured, according to disaster management authorities.

In the Sonari area of Balochistan, the road connecting the locality to Quetta was swept away by floods, damaging several bridges, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said. At least five people, including women and children, died and three were injured when a flash flood triggered by heavy rains swept away a pick-up truck in Sibi, Balochistan. The tragedy befell when their vehicle was crossing the Beji river despite heavy floods. The truck was carrying about 25 people and their livestock, according to local media.

Landslides in Gilgit-Baltistan

Torrential rains also triggered landslides in the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region, blocking a major road that connects Gilgit and Skardu. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has warned the local authorities to remain alert for the rest of the week due to the threat of further landslides.

Skardu Deputy Commissioner Kareem Dad Chughtai shared pictures of the blockade of the Jaglot-Skardu road at multiple locations. This road serves as a major link between Karakoram Highway and Skardu city, the country’s most popular tourist site. The deputy commissioner said that the authorities are working on road clearance and requested everyday passengers and tourists to avoid travelling until the road is cleared. “Juglote-Skardu Road is blocked at multiple locations.

Efforts are underway on a war footing for clearance,” Chughtai said on Tuesday. He also asked people not to travel via Deosai at nighttime as “heavy downpour continues in Deosai plains,” adding that “Public safety is a priority for GB government”.

Flash flood warning

Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had cautioned all relevant departments to “remain alert” and “take precautionary measures” from June 20 to 22 and warned that heavy rains may trigger landslides and flash flooding in different regions including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and northeast Balochistan.

Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman has directed the relevant provincial departments to take all required preemptive safety measures and pursue a coordinated strategy as “above normal monsoon rains are expected to continue till August” in the country.

The minister cautioned against the threat of urban flooding in major cities including Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, and Islamabad and advised authorities to ensure timely measures. The climate change ministry has also asked the local administrations in KP and GB to prepare for and mitigate the risks of glacial lake outburst floods.

During the past days, more than 9 million people have been marooned across Bangladesh and India, and dozens have died due to heavy monsoon rains. The flooding in Bangladesh has been described as “the worst in 122 years in the Sylhet region.”