OUR STAFF REPORTERS

JHANG/ CHINIOT/ SARGODHA - Hundreds of villages in Chiniot, Jhang, Khushab, Kabirwala, Old Chichawatni and Sargodha have been submerged whereas the floodwater has also raged into Bhawana city.

The wild waves of Chenab and Jhelum rivers are washing away everything on their way. Four to five-foot water was seen flowing in all the affected areas on Tuesday.

Some 400,000 cusecs of water reached the River Chenab at Head Trimmu Tuesday morning and the water level was rising alarmingly. Flood peak of 810,000 cusecs was likely to reach the barrage late Tuesday night. It is feared many more areas of Sargodha, Khushab, Jhang and Toba Tek Singh would get under water.

Most victims are also without food or shelter, and are forced to live under the open sky, in the scorching heat. A large number of cattle have also drowned. The population of Jhang City and Jhang Sadar is also at a great risk.

Fear of epidemic has grown in the absence of fumigation and medicines in the cut-off areas.

At least 104 villages in the Massan police precincts are completely flooded and a large number of villages of Qadirpur, Jhang city and Jhang Sadar have also been submerged. The flood has demolished a large number of houses in these areas. Large-scale casualties are feared.

According to police sources, two bodies of unidentified people had been recovered from the floodwater. Soldiers were busy rescuing victims by boats and helicopters, but still a large number of marooned people awaited help.

As evacuation continued from the flood-hit villages of Chiniot, many people refused to leave their villages without their animals.

Army helicopters and boats as well as Rescue 1122 and district administration continued to evacuate the stranded people and shift them to safer places, but many of them preferred to move to the higher places in their flooded areas to keep their cattle and belongings.

More than 3,000 people were shifted from the flood-hit areas to other parts of the district through helicopters and boats. The floodwater is still present on the highways of Chiniot-Jhang Road and Chiniot-Sargodha Road which were closed for traffic. Floodwater has also hit the low-lying areas of tehsil headquarters city of Bhowana. However, the district administration with the help of local NGOs is trying to provide food in the villages through boats.

At least 300 villages and over 300,000 people in Sargodha were affected by water from Jhelum and Chenab rivers. The floodwater of both the rivers devastated crops as well as residential areas.

In a bid to save the Trimmu barrage, decision has been made to break the Athara Hazari dyke whereas nearby villages have been evacuated. The high flood is likely to stay at Head Trimmu till September 12.

Jhang DCO Raja Khurram Shahzad said TV channels were making speculations and asked the people to remain calm. He asked the people not to visit the protective bund which is about two kilometers from Jhang city.

Vast stretches of land in Kot Momin, Kot Amir Shah, Hafizabad, Sukheki, Bhalwal, Gujrat, Sialkot, Narowal and Mandi Bahauddin are also under the floodwater.

The River Ravi also witnessed high tides after heavy downpours. Many settlements in Mari Pattan came under water. High flood in the River Sutlej engulfed Ganda Singh Wala and dozens of nearby villages.

According to the Punjab government sources, the floodwater has destroyed 700 villages throughout the province. A high alert has been issued in Sargodha and Khushab.

Reports say 700,000 cusecs water is passing through Chiniot Bridge, which is moving towards Trimmu Barrage, posing a serious threat to Jhang.  The floodwater entered South Punjab on Tuesday night, hitting many areas near Multan. Directions to evacuate dozens of villages near Vehari and Pakpattan have also been issued.