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Pakistan orders thousands to evacuate near flood-swollen rivers

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  • Many rivers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have burst their banks, demolishing scores of buildings.
  • “The house which we built with years of hard work started sinking in front of our eyes,” says Junaid Khan.
  • Officials say this year’s monsoon flooding has affected more than 33 million people.

MINGORA, PAKISTAN: Thousands of people living near flood-swollen rivers in Pakistan’s north were ordered to evacuate Saturday as the death toll from devastating monsoon rains neared 1,000 with no end in sight.

Many rivers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — a picturesque province of rugged mountains and valleys — have burst their banks, demolishing scores of buildings including a 150-room hotel that crumbled into a raging torrent.

“The house which we built with years of hard work started sinking in front of our eyes,” said Junaid Khan, 23, the owner of two fish farms in Chrasadda.

“We sat on the side of the road and watched our dream house sinking.”

The annual monsoon is essential for irrigating crops and replenishing lakes and dams across the Indian subcontinent, but each year it also brings a wave of destruction.

Officials say this year’s monsoon flooding has affected more than 33 million people — one in seven Pakistanis — destroying or badly damaging nearly a million homes.

On Saturday, authorities ordered thousands of residents in threatened areas to evacuate their homes as rivers had still not reached maximum capacity.

“Initially some people refused to leave, but when the water level increased they agreed,” Bilal Faizi, spokesman for the Rescue 1122 emergency service, told AFP.

Officials say this year’s floods are comparable to 2010 — the worst on record — when over 2,000 people died and nearly a fifth of the country was under water.

Farmer Shah Faisal, camped by the side of a road in Chrasadda with his wife and two daughters, described how he saw his riverside home swallowed by a river as the powerful current eroded the bank.

The Jindi, Swat and Kabul rivers flow through the town before joining the mighty Indus, which is also flooding downstream.

“We escaped with our lives,” Faisal told AFP.

Climate change

Officials blame the devastation on man-made climate change, saying Pakistan is unfairly bearing the consequences of irresponsible environmental practices elsewhere in the world.

Pakistan is eighth on the Global Climate Risk Index, a list compiled by the environmental NGO Germanwatch of countries deemed most vulnerable to extreme weather caused by climate change.

Still, local authorities must shoulder some of the blame for the devastation.

Corruption, poor planning and the flouting of local regulations mean thousands of buildings have been erected in areas prone to seasonal flooding — albeit not as bad as this year.

The government has declared an emergency and mobilised the military to deal with what Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman on Wednesday called “a catastrophe of epic scale”.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority, since the monsoon started in June more than two million acres of cultivated crops have been wiped out, 3,100 kilometres (1,900 miles) of roads have been destroyed and 149 bridges have been washed away.

In Sukkur, more than 1,000 kilometres south of Swat, farmlands irrigated by the Indus were under water, and tens of thousands of people were seeking shelter on elevated roads and highways as they waited for fresh torrents from the north.

“We have opened the gates fully,” dam supervisor Aziz Soomro told AFP, adding the main rush of water was expected Sunday.

The flooding could not come at a worse time for Pakistan, whose economy is in free fall and whose politics are gripped by crisis following the ousting of former prime minister Imran Khan by a parliamentary vote of no confidence in April.

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Current weather: Will Karachi see any rain today?

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There is no probability of rain in Karachi, although there may be some light rain in some areas of the city, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) on Monday.

The city will continue to see overcast weather, according to the Met Office, which also noted that the westerly winds had left Sindh.

According to the PMD, Karachi’s current temperature is 28°C, and the air’s humidity is 61%. The wind is blowing quickly out of the west.

“The maximum temperature in Karachi is likely to be 30 to 32°C,” it said. Meanwhile, there’s a chance of light rain in several areas of Sindh.

A day prior, there had been rain and thunderstorms in a number of Karachi neighborhoods, including Mauripur, North Karachi, Gulistane-e-Johar and the neighboring suburbs, Saddar, Soldier Bazar, the Airport, and Clifton.

Surjani Town reported the maximum rainfall of 34 millimeters, while Nazimabad, Gulshan-e-Hadid, Faisal Base, Sharea Faisal, and Keamari received 21.2, 20, and 19 millimeters of rain, respectively.

Subsequently, rainfall totals of 18 mm were reported at Masroor Base, 17 mm at Korangi, 15.7 mm at University Road, 15.1 mm at Old Airport, 15 mm at Saadi Town and North Karachi, 14.4 mm at Orangi Town, 13 mm at Saddar, 12 mm at Malir, 5.5 mm at Defence Housing Society (DHA), and 5 mm at Quaidabad.

The Met Office reported that Jinnah Terminal recorded the lowest amount of rain, 1.2 mm.

It rained in Karachi as predicted, according to Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz.

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Punjab sets a Rs. 16 roti price.

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On Sunday, the Punjabi government lowered the cost of rotis from Rs 20 to Rs 16.

“Thank God, the Punjabi government has lowered the cost of roti to Rs16,” stated a post on the social media site X by Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

According to Maryam Nawaz Sharif, all districts in Punjab and pertinent departments have received instructions to guarantee that this decision is strictly followed.

Previously, on Wednesday, the Punjab cabinet decided to set Rs3,900 per 40kg as the minimum support price for wheat in 2023–2024.

Leading the Punjab government is Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who has approved the Wheat Procurement Policy 2024–25.
Punjab sets the price of its heat support at Rs. 3-900 per 40 kg, according tources.

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How Can I Register Online for the Punjab E-Bike Scheme? Examine the Step-by-Step Guide.

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The Punjabi government has begun the process of registering motorcycles for students in the area on a monthly interest-free payment plan.

At least 19,000 gasoline and 1,000 E-bikes will be given away in the first phase. The Punjab government will cover the applicants’ down payment and markup in installments.

Due to the exorbitant cost of two-wheelers, the Interest-Free Bike Scheme 2024 was created to lessen the financial burden on students.

A Rs. 20,000 down payment is part of the proposal. For two years, students will pay for their bikes in convenient monthly installments. Based on the facts provided, male students will have to pay more than Rs. 11,000 per month, while female students will pay Rs. 7,325 per month.

Whereas petrol bikes would be dispersed in other districts according to population, e-bikes will be given out in Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rawalpindi, and Lahore.

Take these actions to register for the Punjab Motorcycle Scheme:

Visit the authorized website, bikes.punjab.gov.pk.
Locate the section for registration.
Fill out the registration form with the necessary personal data.
Upload any necessary files by following the given instructions.
Verify the accuracy of the information.
Send in the registration form.

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