Constant downpour kills eight, causes widespread damage

RAWALPINDI: As rain poured down for the second consecutive day, a building collapsed in Wah Cantt on Monday killing eight and leaving four others, who were trapped under the rubble, injured.

54f515d89e942Those killed include four children and an elderly man, not yet identified.

The two-storey residential building was constructed next to a drainage line which overflowed in the two-day downpour that began on Sunday. Rescue teams from Taxila, Wah and Attock were called to cut through the mangled heap of concrete and steel. They had pulled out two bodies and rescued four injured children by the time this report was filed.

The building is located in a narrow alley, inaccessible to heavy machinery.

Report:Amjad Yousuf Zai
Report:Amjad Yousuf Zai
Report:Tauqeer Riaz Khan

Darkness and heavy rainfall slowed down rescue work.According to sources, the rescue operation to extricate those trapped under the rubble was carried out with the help of Pakistan Army personnel.

Meanwhile, heavy rainfall wrecked havoc in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, inundating low-lying areas and causing widespread damage to buildings in various parts of the city.

Local administration issued flood warnings as Leh Nullah rose to 15 feet at Gawalmandi Bridge and 12 feet at Kattarian Bridge. Sirens were sounded to alert people around the nullah to move to higher grounds.Flood warnings issued as water level at Leh Nullah rises

The Pakistan Army was alerted to deal with feared emergencies. The City District Government Rawalpindi, Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), Rescue 1122, Civil Defence Department and health department also told their officials to remain alert.

The Met Department recorded 72 millimetres of rain at Saidpur, 67mm at Zero Point and 87mm at Golra in Islamabad and 67mm at Shamsabad, 72mm at Chaklala and 89mm at Bokra in Rawalpindi. Showers are predicted to continue until Tuesday evening.

Residents of the twin cities, especially those living near nullahs, spent a sleepless Sunday night as rain lashed down all night and all day. Two to three feet of water accumulated on roads and in alleys in many areas of the garrison city as drains became choked.

In the federal capital, water accumulated on roads and streets in sectors I-10, I-9, G-8, G-7, Karachi Company, Peshawar Mor and even Margalla Road.

Water entered the Officers Ward of the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) and the basement of Holy Family Hospital (HFH) housing the blood bank and pathological department.

“Water entered five rooms of the Officers Ward and patients were shifted to other wards. Rainwater also entered the Telephone Exchange at the hospital,” BBH Medical Superintendent Dr Asif Qadir Mir told Media.

An official at the HFH told NNP the staff was busy shifting machinery from the pathology department to the upper storey of the hospital building.

A Rescue 1122 official said rainwater entered the Twin Cities Plaza at Faizabad and damaged the building.

“The road was dug up for construction work and the rainwater entered the plaza through the ditch next to the building,” he said.

A City District Government Rawalpindi official, on condition of anonymity, said water levels in Leh Nullah had risen because the bridge at Moti Mahal is closed for the construction of a new bridge.

Electricity and natural gas supply was suspended in low-lying areas to prevent loss of life. Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) Managing Director Raja Shaukat Mehmood said sirens were sounded in the localities adjacent to Leh Nullah as the Nullah rose to pre-alert level of 15 feet.

“More rain has been forecast but there is little chance of the banks bursting,” he said.

Talking to NNP at the site, Assistant Commissioner Taxila Shahid Imran said that Rescue officials by cutting the collapsed roof had success in reaching a trapped old lady who also had a baby in her lap. He said that according to lady there were at least eight children and one woman trapped in the debris. He said that due to no proper light arrangements and rain the rescue operation could not be launched at full swing.

He said that due care was also taken in removing the debris to rescue the people safely who were trapped in the debris. He said that the woman talking in Pushto language was in stable condition. He said that as the building was constructed on an encroached area near a drain, therefore its week foundations could not bear the pressure of rainy water and collapsed.