At least 11 people were killed and six others were injured on Wednesday after a building’s wall collapsed at Islamabad’s Peshawar Road as the area faces a spell of heavy monsoon rains.
The incident, which falls within the jurisdiction of Islamabad’s Noon police station, comes as heavy rainfall has been lashing the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in the past week, leading to waterlogging in low-lying regions, causing disruptions and posing risks to residents.
According to Industrial Area I-9 Superintendent of Police (SP) Khan Zeb, the bodies of the 11 people were recovered from the rubble with the help of machinery.
The bodies of the deceased — said to be of labourers — were shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), according to Dr Mubashir Daha, who is the spokesperson for Pims Executive Director Dr Imran Sikander.
Dr Daha said that six injured were also brought to the hospital, out of which one was discharged after receiving first aid, while the rest were out of danger.
SP Zeb said that rescue teams had immediately reached the site upon receiving the incident alert.
A rescue operation was currently under way to recover more people who were suspected to still be trapped in the debris, the SP added.
Following the incident, the Pims hospital authorities put all doctors and paramedical staff on high alert.
“The Pims administration is fully alert after the intense rainfalls in the twin cities,” Dr Daha said, adding that the hospital staff was united to deal with any sudden disaster.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed “deep grief and sorrow” at the incident and prayed for the departed souls, Radio Pakistan reported.
He also directed the district administration to stay alert in view of the heavy rains, the report added.
11 ‘slightly injured’ in vehicle collisions
Separately, 11 people were “slightly injured” when a vehicle crashed into three buses that had already collided on the M-1 (Islamabad-Peshawar) motorway near the Burhan Interchange, Saqib Waheed, spokesperson for the motorway police said.
He clarified that there was no loss of life in the incident and that no one was “seriously injured”.
In a tweet today, the Islamabad Police alerted citizens that “traffic congestion may be observed” at several locations due to heavy rain and waterlogging.
The locations specified were the Main Bharakahu Road, Tramri Chowk, Captain Kernal Shair Khan Avenue, the Faizabad area and the PWD stop on the Islamabad Expressway.
The police asserted that its officers were present at the above locations to ease the congestion.
In another tweet, while sharing clips of various road accidents caused by a lack of precautions taken, the police advised citizens to remain cautious while driving.
“It is extremely important that you drive with full attention and caution during rain,” it said, adding that the drivers should ensure that their car’s windshield wipers, light indicators and tyres were functioning properly.
CM Naqvi orders completion of rainwater drainage operation
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi directed the authorities concerned with the district administration to utilise all available resources and immediately complete the rainwater drainage operation, APP reported.
Citing a district administration spokesman, the report said that Naqvi had issued special instructions to Rescue 1122, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority of Punjab and the district administration, directing them to ensure immediate drainage of water in low-lying areas of Rawalpindi following heavy rain on Tuesday night.
He had also ordered the officials concerned to remain on the field until the drainage work was completed, APP stated.
The report added that the chief minister directed that the situation of the Lai Nullah should be continuously monitored and sought a report on the operation.
According to a report released by the Pakistan Meteorological Department today, in the past 24 hours, Islamabad received 138 millimetres of rainfall at Bokra, 102mm at Golra, 98mm at Zero Point, 64mm at Aabpara and 44m at Saidpur.
Meanwhile, Rawalpindi received 188mm at Shamsabad, 110mm at Chaklala and 79mm at Kutchery in the same period.
Pakistan’s central region has been facing a flood situation for days as the northern states of India, where the catchment areas of the Sutlej and Ravi rivers are located, have witnessed torrential downpours in the past week. Consequently, India has been releasing more water towards the downstream areas in Pakistan.
On July 6, at least 17 people had lost their lives while 49 others were injured in multiple incidents of roof and wall collapses across Punjab as rains continued to batter parts of the province for a second consecutive day.
Wall collapses due to rains have been one of the main reasons behind several deaths in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab towards the end of June as well.
Around the same time, a section, including a pillar and girders, of an under-construction bridge over the Soan River near the Lahore High Court’s building collapsed. However, no loss of life had been reported.
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