Pakistan – Flooding Leaves Communities Isolated in Chitral

Several communities have been cut-off and tourists left stranded after flooding in remote areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province in Pakistan.

KP Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) occurred in the remote area of Golen valley in Chitral District on 07 July, 2019.

Although no fatalities were reported the flooding has wiped out roads and at least 5 bridges, leaving communities cut-off. Medical and relief supplies are being air-dropped by military helicopters. Flooding has also damaged homes, farmland and power infrastructure.

Some people in affected areas have self-evacuated and moved to safer locations. At least 65 others have been rescued or evacuated by military helicopters or teams from PDMA.

Limited accessibility, lack of earth moving equipment and the rapid flow of water are hindering relief efforts, according to PDMA.

At least 3 people died and 300,000 people were left stranded by a similar glacial lake outburst flood in Chitral in 2015. Glacial Lake Outburst Floods occur when the ice dam containing a glacial lake fails. Such floods pose an increasing threat to mountainous regions in northern Pakistan.

Chitral flood damage, July 2015, Pakistan. Photo: PDMA

Parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province were hit by flash floods last week after a heavy downpour in Upper Dir District. Local media said roads were blocked and several houses swept away in Kalkot. Two people were injured in the floods.

Meanwhile, as of 07 July emergency rescue teams were still searching for dozens of missing people after a boat carrying around 50 passengers capsized in the Tarbela Dam Lake in the Swabi District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 03 July. Local media said that flood waters were thought to have caused the boat to overturn.