Massive Flood Alert in River Sutlej
As the Sutlej River continues to flood, the consequent devastation in neighbouring villages has forced some to flee, while many others face being drowned out by the merciless deluge.
Floodwaters have surpassed 175,000 cubic meters per second, bursting protecting dykes, flooding multiple settlements, and interrupting transportation lines. The impacted community, on the other hand, is taking matters into their own hands in order to avoid additional damage and safeguard their villages.
The floods have also inundated hundreds of acres of fields with standing crops. Floods are threatening villages such as Shahoo Baloch, Baqarki, Mari Amb, Kot Bakhsha, Bheni Noor Jahanian, and others.
The crisis has prompted the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to examine the damage and consider actions to protect vulnerable persons and assets.
Based on information from the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), the NDMA has issued an advisory warning that the Sutlej River at Ganda Singh Wala is at a very high flood level.
While the water level is progressively falling, the river at Sulemanki is still rising and is expected to reach very high flood levels. Furthermore, the river is predicted to reach a high flood level near Islam Headworks beginning August 22.
Kasur, Okara, Bahawalnagar, Pakpattan, Vihari, Bahawalpur, and Lodhran districts have been recognized as vulnerable or at-risk locations.
The NDMA recommended appropriate authorities to issue early warnings, conduct swift evacuations, and enhance public awareness about the dangers of the monsoon season.
Authorities are also asked to establish contingency plans for traffic and de-watering in flood-prone metropolitan areas.
The directions came as NDMA Chairman Lieutenant General Inam Haider Malik presided over a special National Emergencies Operations Centre (NEOC) conference with key stakeholders in Islamabad on the current flood and monsoon scenario.
The PMD provided an update on the previous days’ rainfall in the country.
They also informed the public about the forecast rainfall in the country’s northeastern regions from August 23 to 25. The PDMA Punjab and Rescue 1122 Punjab provided an update on the Sutlej River evacuation, rescue, and relief efforts.
According to the FFD, the Sulemanki headworks will reach a very high flood level by 22 August, and a peak in the flow of the River Jhelum will be recorded from 23 to 25 August, affecting the Mangla dam levels.
The Mangla and Tarbela Dam management have been briefed on the water level in the dams and the contingency preparations in place.
Similarly, the PCIW provided information on the framework in place for information sharing between Pakistani and Indian dam managers.
Efforts to evacuate
Despite efforts to evacuate residents from low-lying areas along the Sutlej River, there are fears that rising water levels would cause flooding in over 113 villages in Vihari district.
The district administration is preparing to deal with the disaster, and joint teams from Rescue 1122, the finance department, and the police are assisting in the evacuation and relocation of people.
A variety of flood relief camps and tented villages are being established to assist victims.
Majid Naqvi, a district administration spokeswoman, denies that the river’s headworks are under danger, emphasising that there is no chance of embankment splitting.
The district’s ongoing evacuation efforts are safeguarding the protection of inhabitants and their livestock. So far, about 1,630 individuals have been transported to safe regions, and rescue operations are still ongoing, he said.
Similarly, the flood situation in Pakpattan has worsened, prompting the district education authorities to decide to temporarily close schools in flood-affected districts.
Academic activities were scheduled to begin on August 22 following the summer holiday.
Meanwhile, for those who have been suffering from heat and humidity for the past few days, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) announced Monday that further monsoon rains will fall in various parts of the nation from August 23-27, with occasional breaks.