An additional 3,000 individuals were relocated to more secure areas due to ongoing high-level floods along the Sutlej River at the Sulemanki Headworks on Wednesday.
Quoting the Director General of the Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Imran Qureshi, the report indicated that approximately 3,000 people as well as livestock had been successfully relocated to safer locations. The official elaborated that non-stop rescue and relief operations persisted in the flood-affected regions of the province, with over 700 rescue personnel engaged in their duties, while 58 operational medical camps provided aid.
In a statement released earlier on the same day, the PDMA communicated that the Sulemanki Headworks was experiencing a high-level flood, with the water flow reaching 155,330 cusecs.
Furthermore, the statement revealed that the flood situation at the Ganda Singh Wala Barrage had transitioned from a high-level flood to a medium-level one, with the water flow recorded at 118,652 cusecs. Regarding the Islam Headworks, the PDMA noted the presence of a low-level flood, but they cautioned that the water level was rapidly rising, with the water flow measuring 73,559 cusecs.
A map shared by the PMD’s Lahore Flood Forecasting Division illustrated the water flow data at three different points as of 12pm on the same day. The authority forecasted a high-level flood at the Islam Headworks within the next 24 hours and issued an alert to the local administration accordingly.
While it confirmed that the flood levels at other rivers in Punjab remained “normal,” the PDMA warned of the potential for a high-level flood at Mangla in the Jhelum River over the next three days. The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) echoed this forecast, cautioning of “sharp peaks of medium to high-level floods” from August 24-25 at Mangla.
Additionally, the PMD warned, “Flows in the Sutlej river may rise again subject to releases from India.” The forecast also indicated that there would be “scattered to widespread wind-thunderstorm/rain of moderate intensity with isolated heavy falls” over the upper catchments of major rivers.
An alert issued by the Punjab PDMA earlier in the day instructed local authorities to maintain adequate staffing around the clock, remove settlements along the Sutlej River, and ensure operational readiness at breach sites. The PDMA further directed Rescue 1122 to remain on “high alert” with sufficient emergency response personnel and equipment during the projected period.
Regarding relief efforts, the PDMA DG reported that within the past 24 hours, 769 officials had been dispatched to various flood-affected districts, providing medical facilities to over 2,000 people and setting up 44 relief camps.
Additionally, around 1,200 people received emergency transport, and 2,616 individuals stranded in floods were rescued. The DG also visited flood-impacted areas in Okara to assess relief operations.
Separately, Punjab Relief Commissioner Nabeel Javed instructed local authorities to remain vigilant, emphasizing that aid efforts would persist until residents’ evacuation and rehabilitation were completed.
Farooq Ahmad, spokesman for the Punjab emergency services, stating that a total of 100,000 people had been rescued and relocated to safer areas to date. The interim Chief Minister of Punjab, Mohsin Naqvi, noted that monsoon rains had led to the release of excess reservoir water from India into the Sutlej River, causing flooding downstream on the Pakistani side of the border.
PDMA data indicated that from July 9 to August 22, a total of 16 individuals had lost their lives while 36 were injured due to floods. The rescue efforts involved 408 boats and 1,489 rescuers. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) warned of an upcoming monsoon spell likely to affect the upper parts of the country from today until August 27.
Monsoon currents from the Arabian Sea and a westerly wave entering the area are anticipated to bring rain, wind-thunderstorms, and heavy falls to various regions. This meteorological scenario is projected to raise water flows in local streams and could trigger urban flooding, landslides, and other weather-related incidents. The authorities have advised caution to residents, farmers, and travelers during this spell. Dam operators have been advised to manage reservoir levels accordingly to mitigate potential issues.