Six of a family among 16 killed as driving rains wreak havoc

LAHORE: Sixteen people, including six members of a family, died while 42 others were injured in different incidents in various areas of the provincial metropolis as a result of driving rains during the last 24 hours while flash floods are imminent as authorities concerned have predicted more intense rainfall in the next 72 hours.  
According to details, six members of a family died when the roof of a two-storey house owned by Arshad collapsed in Chah Miran in the Misri Shah area. Besides Arshad, Bilal, Aurangzeb, Sonia, Amna and Abeera were other victims of the incident.   
According to Rescue-1122 spokesperson, the roof of a house collapsed in GOR-II as a result of which two persons were buried alive. The rescuers retrieved the bodies from the rubble upon being informed on the emergency help-line. 
A man died after receiving electric shock while another died in a roof-collapse incident in Johar Town.
Three persons died when the roof of a house collapsed in Thokar Niaz Baig whereas another man died after the roof of a house caved in near Samanabad Roundabout. Four people received serious injuries when the roof of a dilapidated house collapsed in the Mozang area. The injured were taken to a hospital where two of them succumbed to their injuries. 
Rainwater entered houses and shops in several areas of the city, damaging home appliances and valuables worth millions of rupees. It created a lot of problems for residents of the Walled City, Samnabad, Ichhra, Mozang, Qilla Gujjar Singh, Gulberg, Muslim Town, New Muslim Town, Garhi Shahu, Shahdara, Baghbanpura, The Mall, Ferozpura Road and other areas of the city.
Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue-1122) Director General Dr Rizwan Naseer has advised citizens to remove debris and extra weight from rooftops besides strengthening plinth by putting sands or mud bags to avoid collapses. He further advised citizens to remove worn-out electric wires or cover them properly to avoid electric shocks in the monsoon season. He also urged motorists, especially motorcyclists, to avoid speeding to ward off accidents on slippery roads.
The country has been suffering worst monsoon floods during the last four years. In 2013, 178 people were killed and around 1.5 million were rendered homeless because of flooding around the country. The government was criticised for not doing enough to militate against the dangers posed by seasonal rains that wash away homes and farmlands. The 2010 floods were the worst in country’s history, with 1,800 people killed and 21 million rendered displaced in what became a major humanitarian crisis. The Met Office has warned that more heavy rains and thunderstorms were expected in Punjab and north of the country in the next 72 hours and could cause flooding in major rivers.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Naveed Akram Cheema visited various areas of the city, including Lakshmi Chowk, Outfall Road and Gulburg, to monitor the situation caused by torrential rains. The Lahore Division commissioner, district coordination officer (DCO) and the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general accompanied the chief secretary.
The chief secretary directed the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) managing director and the DCO to ensure immediate disposal of rainwater. He further directed the WASA managing director to personally supervise this operation and submit a report after every two hours. Talking to the press in Laskshmi Chowk, the chief secretary said that WASA teams were relentlessly working for disposal of rainwater and that it would soon be drained from Laskshmi Chowk in case there were no more rains. He said that 14 disposal stations were functioning at full capacity and that generators have also been arranged at these stations. 
He said that critical centres have been set up at 18 places in Lahore where WASA staffers have been deployed and were working round the clock.

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