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March 04, 2015

An Overview of Flooding in Pakistan

As of March 3, 2015, at least 25 people have been killed in separate rain related incidents in various parts of Pakistan. The worst affected areas have been reported from the cities of Rawalpindi, Lahore, Bahawalnagar and Faisalabad in Punjab province and Peshawar, Karak and Bannu districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Authorities have alerted the Pakistan Army on March 2, in the wake of possible flooding in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Media reports that on March 2 at least 89 mm (3.5 in) of rain has been recorded in Rawalpindi while the capital Islamabad recorded 88 mm (3.5 in). People residing in close proximity to Nullah Lai (a rain fed stream which flows through the city of Rawalpindi) have been asked to move to safer places as the water level reached above 4.9 meters (16 ft). Inundation of roads in various areas also paralyzed movement of traffic in Rawalpindi. Commercial establishments, shopping malls and markets were also reportedly closed due to the heavy rain. While rainwater entered Benazir Bhutto International Airport, it did not affect operations. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecast more rains in Islamabad and Rawalpindi in the next few days beginning March 4. PMD’s chief further stated that rains, which began at the end of February, are unusual and attributed to climate change.


Measures Adopted by Government

The district government has issued flood warning for residents living in the low lying parts of Rawalpindi, particularly in the areas of Gawalmandi and Arya Mohalla. Authorities have put Emergency Services staff and the Civil Defence Department on high alert. Additionally, the water and sanitation department of Rawalpindi Development Authority, Rawalpindi Waste Management Company (RWMC) and Tehsil Municipal Authority of Rawal Town have been alerted to visit low lying localities and keep the sewerage lines open.


Impact on Businesses

With the forecast of more rainfall, business operations in Islamabad and Rawalpindi likely will be affected as inundation of roads will hinder movement of people and transport services. Business activities will be thin as most people likely will stay indoors due to heavy rain. Shortage of water, power outages and disruption in telecommunication lines are highly likely during the heavy rainfall. It is also likely that taxi drivers will charge exorbitant amounts for fares to and from the airport and railway stations.


Recommendations

Pinkerton clients based in Islamabad and Rawalpindi should allow telecommuting for their personnel to avoid delays. Clients should inform their personnel to remain indoors during heavy rainfall. Clients should also check their buildings for any structural damage and plan for evacuation measures if water enters their facility. Clients should also prepare for delays in vehicular movement, including trucks carrying essential items. 

Prepared by: Rebika Devi, India

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