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New rules for boat travel issued after Tarbela tragedy.

CHITRAL -- After three days of raging waters washing away roads, bridges and houses in the remote Golen Gol area of Chitral, officials on Thursday said that water levels have subsided, allowing for 'normal' rescue work to proceed. While new rules have been issued for boats in rivers and lakes of the province.

'The water discharge level in Golen Gol has considerably decreased as compared to the first two days and rescue work has been started,' read a statement issued by the Chitral Assistant Commissioner and District Disaster Management Officer (DDMO) Alamgir Khan.

Noting that he was personally supervising ongoing rescue, rehabilitation and restoration services, Alamgir said that the Public Health Engineering and communications and works departments in Chitral were working on restoring road links and water supply schemes apart from rebuilding bridges in the affected areas.

On Tuesday, civil and military forces had combined to evacuate over 70 people from the flood-affected areas. The worst affected areas included Izghor, Bakra, and Golin Payen. Around 22 patients had to be airlifted through helicopters from Izghor.

Government helicopters had also evacuated Prime Minister Imran Khan's sister Aleema Khan.

Search for bodies continues in Tarbela boat tragedy

Apart from washing away roads and bridges, as many as 50 houses had also been destroyed by the raging waters.

The flash flood was caused by a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) - caused by an overflow of water from glacial lakes owing to faster melting of glaciers.

Water levels 'normal'

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on Thursday said that water-levels in all rivers and major storm drains of the province were normal.

The PDMA said that its provincial emergency operation centre is continuously monitoring water flow in all rivers at various locations in the wake of monsoon rains. In this regard, the main emergency centre is in touch with control rooms established in every district.

The administrations of districts located on the banks of major rivers have been directed to complete preparations for timely rescue and relief operation in case of flooding.

Water levels recorded in River Kabul at Warsak was 65,480 cusecs, River Kabul at Nowshera was 100,500 cusecs, River Indus at Khairabad was 230,900 cusecs, River Adizai was 55,991 cusecs, Kalpani Nullah at Mardan city was 1,388 and Kalpani Nullah at Raisalpur Chowki was 2,058 cusecs.

New rules for boat operators

In the wake of the Tarbela Lake tragedy, where some 24 people are believed to have died after a boat capsized there last week, the provincial chief secretary has issued directions with a new set of rules for boat travel on the river and for boat owners and operators.

In a letter to all district administrations, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) chief secretary has stated that it is imperative that all boat owners and operators are registered with the deputy commissioner of the particular area of operation and the local police stations.

Moreover, the chief secretary has deemed it critical that all boats undergo regular inspection to ensure that safety protocols are being followed.

The police have been directed to check and ensure that there is a sufficient number of lifejackets in the boat as per the number of seats available.

Further, to inform the public about safety precautions and these rules, signboards should be erected at all piers.

The district administration was directed to ensure that all boat operations are suspended when flood or storm warnings are in effect.

The chief secretary further directed that boat owners and operators must be certified swimmers.

Meanwhile, a search for bodies of the missing passengers of the boat continued for a ninth-consecutive day but it met with as much success as it had in the previous days.

Four drown as boat capsizes near Haripur

Heavy downpour and high speed of waters affected the rescue operation.

A senior member of the rescue team has told The Express Tribune that if the operation fails to retrieve bodies in the first week of the search, it becomes more and more difficult to find the bodies.

He added that the pace of glaciers melting further upstream had increased, which meant that more cold water was pouring into the lake. This meant that their divers had to deal with raging currents and freezing temperatures underground while conducting their search.

As a result, divers could stay underwater for a limited time only and they had to vacate the site repeatedly.

The rescue official said that three boats were being used to conduct the search. Two of the boats would go out into the lake to search while one boat would remain on standby.
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Publication:The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Jul 13, 2019
Words:858
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