RAWALPINDI: It was almost a repeat of 2001 flash floods for citizens of the garrison town on Thursday when the Nullah Leh swelled after daylong heavy showers and inundated several low-lying areas.
The channel became a ragging torrent and the Gowalmandi bridge was submerged by the evening when the water level rose to around 30 feet.
Two units of the Pakistan Army’s elite 111 Brigade were called in to deal with any emergency. District administration, Civil Defence department and Rescue 1122 evacuated 170 families from the low-lying areas and shifted them to flood relief centres.
“But most of the people went back to their localities soon after the rain subsided,” said District Officer (Civil Defence) Tayyamam Raza. He added that the rescue team faced difficulties as people were not willing to leave their houses.
Military and Civil Defence personnel used boats to evacuate a dozen families trapped in rainwater at Safdarabad, Nadeem Colony, Javed Colony and other adjoining areas. However, no causality was reported till filling of this report at around 11pm.
Commissioner Zahid Saeed said the district administration was put on high alert to deal with any emergency. He said emergency sirens were sounded at 6pm, adding that flood centres had been activated.
Mr Saeed said no loss of life had been reported due to high floods in Nullah Leh.
The meteorological department recorded 152 millimetre (mm) rain in Rawalpindi, and forecast heavy rain during the next 36 hours.
Meanwhile, the continuing rain exposed the tall claims of the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) and the City District Government Rawalpindi that they had cleared the hurdles in Nullah Leh and other drains to ensure smooth flow of water.
The sewerage system in Rawalpindi’s central parts and the area adjacent to Nullah Leh collapsed and rainwater mixed with sewage entered houses and shops.
The rain also caused extensive damage to roads, some of which had been recarpeted only recently. Some structures were also damaged due to rain, like the old bridge near Ganjmandi.
Nadeem Colony, Javed Colony, Muslim Colony, Dhoke Ratta, Ganjmandi, Jamia Masjid Road, Bani Chowk, Sadiqabad, Satellite Town, Commercial Market, College Road, Bohar Bazaar, Naya Mohallah, Iqbal Road, Purana Qila, Raja Bazaar, Kohati Bazaar, Mochi Bazaar, Mohanpura, Nanakpura, Arjun Nagar, Amarpura, Service Road, Khyaban Sir-i-Syed and 7th Road were covered with up to four feet water.
People had a tough time draining out water from their homes and shops, whereas authorities suspended power supply in low-lying areas fearing fatal incidents.