Lahore (Web Desk): At least seven people died after spell of heavy rain on Wednesday lashed Lahore and other cities of Punjab.
The maximum rainfall was recorded as 291mm in Lahore, leaving low-lying areas of the provincial capital inundated with rainwater.
Punjab caretaker Chief Minister (CM) Mohsin Naqvi, in a post on Twitter, said that the deaths took place due to roof collapses, drowning and electrocution.
Earlier, speaking to newsmen while visiting different Lahore's different parts of the city to monitor relief work, the Punjab CM said that teams have been dispatched across the provincial capital to clear main roads and drain water from submerged areas.
He added that said areas such as Muslim Town, Garden Town and Gulberg were majorly inundated due to the overflow of water from the Lahore Canal.
Naqvi further stated that another spell of rain was expected to hit the city at 9pm and the authorities were preparing for that, adding that he himself was monitoring the situation.
According to Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA), the highest amount of rainfall (291mm) was recorded in Lakshmi Chowk, followed by 277mm in Nishter Town and 270mm in Qurtaba Chowk.
The rainfall recorded in other areas of the city was Gulshan-e-Ravi 268mm, Pani Wala Talab 268mm, Johar Town 260mm, Tajpura 249mm, Farrukhabad 237mm, Iqbal Town 232mm, Mughalpura 215mm, Wasa head office in Gulberg 208mm, Chowk Nakhuda 205mm, Upper Mall 192mm, Samanabad 178mm, Jail Road 145mm and Airport 127mm.
Taking notice of the situation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday directed the Punjab government to take urgent measures and mobilise the rescue teams amidst heavy rains in the province.
The prime minister called for coordinated efforts by the district administration, Rescue 1122, Provincial Disaster Management Authority, municipal and other departments, saying that all possible measures should be taken to protect the citizens’ lives, according to a PM Office statement.
He instructed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and other federal departments to extend maximum support to the Punjab government, if required.
"Necessary steps should be taken to aware the citizens of any emergency situation, chalk out alternate traffic plans and make arrangements for proper drainage," the premier said.
PM Shehbaz also instructed to take preventive measures in wake of the monsoon rains in other parts of the country, besides asking the NDMA and PDMAs to coordinate for necessary arrangements.
He said that the all possible steps should be taken to relocate the people from villages to safe locations besides saving their cattle.
The prime minister also directed to mobilise the respective administrations of Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and other hilly areas, besides instructing to keep the PM Office updated on all the measures taken.
Meanwhile, other cities in Punjab, including Gujranwala, Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Jhelum, Phalia, Sharaqpur, Nankana, and Sheikhupura, experienced heavy rains. The continuous downpour caused flooding in low-lying areas, leading to disruptions in traffic flow.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department has also predicted heavy rainfall for other parts of the province, including Sialkot, Narowal, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal, Toba Tek Singh, and Mandi Bahauddin.
The department highlighted the infiltration of moist currents from the Arabian Sea into the upper regions of the country. Additionally, an impact from a westerly wave is being observed in the upper and central parts of Pakistan, it added.
“Rain-wind/thundershower is expected in Kashmir Murree, Galliyat, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Jhelum, Attock, Chakwal, Sargodha, Mianwali, Faisalabad, Jhang, T T Singh, Bahawalnagar, Narowal, Sialkot, Sahiwal, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad, Lahore, Bhakkar, Layyah, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan districts,” the Met Office said.
In KP, rain and thunderstorm is expected in Chitral, Dir, Swat, Kohistan, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Malakand, Balakot, Charsadda, Mardan, Peshawar, Kohat, Kurram, Bannu, Waziristan and Dera Ismail Khan.
On Monday, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) also directed all relevant departments to remain alert in view of rain spell from July 3 to July 8.
As per the NDMA spokesperson, heavy rains with gusty winds and thunderstorms are expected in different parts of the country during this period which can trigger land sliding in hilly areas and flooding in the lowlands.
The authority asked the relevant departments to ensure the presence of emergency machinery and staff and issue advance notice to people in flood-risk areas.
The NDMA advised tourists and visitors to remain informed about weather conditions before travelling and farmers and livestock owners to take necessary precautions in view of weather conditions.