Flooded stream scares people in suburban Peshawar
By: Ali Hazrat Bacha
PESHAWAR: Traffic remained suspended on Charsadda-Peshawar Road for about 12 hours on Tuesday as torrential rains in parts of Khyber Agency and suburban areas of Peshawar caused heavy flood in the Budni Nullah (stream).
The delay on part of rescuers to reach the area also led to a strong protest demonstration by the local people, who chanted-anti government slogans and claimed that they had already predicted the flood but authorities didn’t pay attention to their appeals.
They said that floodwater also entered their houses and shops after midnight when they were fast asleep. They said that announcements were made through loudspeakers to save families in the affected area.
“We save our families but flood damaged our valuables and household items,” Saleem, a resident of the area, told journalists. He said that loadshedding further complicated the situation as people faced problems in carrying out rescue work.
He said that flash floods in 2010 had already scared the residents as the entire area was badly affected. People started crying for help when floodwater entered the area, he added.
Mr Saleem criticised government for its failure to send rescue teams to the area on time. Even the staff of town municipal administration could not reach till 11am to help people, he said.
The residents of the area said that main cause of the flood was encroachments on both sides of the Budni Nullah. They said that the bridge on the stream had been constructed decades ago. “It is usually inundated by floodwater because of the encroachments. It needs to be redesigned to save the local population,” they added.
Long queues of vehicles were seen on both sides of Charsadd Road. Later in the day, people either returned or left their motorcars and bikes and crossed the water in trucks and buses. They said that most of the people travelled on motorway to reach their destinations in Peshawar and Charsadda districts.
The residents of slum areas remained busy in shifting their belongings to safer places. They feared that their lives would be risk if the rain continued. They said that they had suffered heavy financial losses in 2010 but the government did not compensate them.
They demanded of the government to remove encroachments from both sides of the stream otherwise they would face the same situation whenever it rained.
However, an official of the metrological department told this correspondent that monsoon was about to end. He said that the flood was result of torrential rains in the catchment areas along the tribal regions but there was no observatory to gauge the rains.
He said that 21 millimetres rain was recorder in Peshawar, 26 millimetres in Parachinar, 32in Kohat, 19 in Balakot, 25in Chirat, 6 in Kalam, 24 in Kakol and 7 millimetres in Dir. During the next 24 hours, he said, there was no chance of rain; however, it would be cloudy in Peshawar.
Meanwhile, residents of different localities in Peshawar also complained about clogged sewerage lines, especially in Dalazak Road, Corporation Colony, Gulabad, Gharibabad and adjacent localities.
They said that most of the drains were blocked but sanitary staff of local TMA was least bothered to resolve the problem.