Rains wreak havoc in Punjab; 40 killed

* Several injured as hundreds of houses razed to ground * Red alert issued after flood water inundates dozen of villages in several districts

LAHORE: At least forty people died in separate incidents of roof collapse, land sliding and electrocution followed by heavy downpour in Punjab on Thursday.
Heavy rains lashed Lahore where six members of a family lost their lives in a roof collapse, including an infant. In another incident of roof collapse in Government Officers Residence (GOR) Colony, two people died. Separately, a man died after getting electric shocks in Johar Town. Several deaths were also reported from Sialkot, Faisalabad and Gujranwala. According to rescue sources, a woman and two children died when a house’s wall collapsed on them in Sialkot. Two more deaths were also reported from Faisalabad, while in Monki area of Gujranwala, a child died and two other persons were injured in a roof collapse.
The government of Punjab has declared emergency in the rain-hit areas and launched full-scale rescue operations. Sialkot DCO Nadeem Sarwar said on Thursday that a high wave of flood will pass through the River Chenab midnight Thursday. He said residents of villages adjoining the river had already been evacuated and shifted to safer places. Talking to APP, he said as many as 33 relief centres had been established in the Sialkot District in addition to medical centres with sufficient medicines.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has warned all the authorities concerned to take necessary precautionary measures during the expected rains between Thursday and Friday. According to the officials of PDMA thunderstorm with isolated heavy rain at a few places is expected in Hazara, Malakand, Peshawar, Mardan and Kohat division. There is a chance of flash flooding in local nullahs and streams.
At least forty people, including women and children, died and 30 sustained injuries in different incidents of roof collapses in various districts of Punjab during current torrential rains. According to a Rescue 1122 spokesman around 13 people, including three women, succumbed to injuries when roofs of different homes caved in different localities of the provincial capital. As per reports, the roof of a double storeyed building caved in near Chah Miran area; Dhobi Ghaat, which resulted in the instant death of six people, including three women.
Similarly, the roof of a house collapsed in GOR-2. Resultantly, two people got stuck under the debris. The rescue service responded to the incident and extricated the victims’ dead bodies. A man died after he suffered an electric shock in Johar Town and another man also died due to a roof collapse. According to reports, three people died when the roof of a house caved in at Thokar Niaz Baig, whereas one man died in a house near Samanabad Roundabout. Meanwhile, one person died and six sustained multiple injuries in two incidents of roof collapses in Faisalabad; four died and two were injured in Gujranwala due to a roof collapse. 
Another five people died and two sustained multiple injuries due after receiving electric shock in Sialkot district. Moreover, one person died and two were injured in Chundowal village, whereas one died and 10 sustained multiple injuries in roof collapses in Okara and Kasur. The rescuers, who responded to the incidents in Punjab, ascertained that mostly dilapidated buildings with poor bases were to blame for the roof collapses. Expressing his concerns, Punjab Rescue DG Dr Rizwan Naseer advised citizens to remove debris and extra weight from the rooftops of the houses and strengthen their bases by putting sand and mud around the walls to avoid collapses. He said the citizens should remove electric wires or cover them properly to avoid electric shocks in monsoon season.
The overnight downpour submerged low-lying areas of Lahore, including Wasanpura, Garhi Shahu, Garden Town, Ferozepur Road, Mall Road, Gulberg and Iqbal Town. Rain emergency has been declared in the province and local administration has been put on high alert to kick off rescue efforts and prevent rain-related casualties. The Pakistan Meteorological Department has warned that all rivers in Punjab would likely be in “very high” to “exceptionally high” flood from Sept 5 to 7 because of expected intensification of the current spell of fairly widespread rains.

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