ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - STAFF REPORTERS/AGENCIES - Flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains have killed at least 30 people and destroyed hundreds of houses in different parts of the country with Met office forecasting Jhelum and Chenab to attain low flood level and heavy rains to continue in next 24 hours.

Heavy rain in different cities of upper Punjab has also been predicted. Chenab was in low-level flood on Thursday at Head Marala with the inflow of over 1,26,860 cusecs of water, while inflow of water in Ravi was 54,450 cusecs.

Disaster Management Cell stated that more than 30 people had been reportedly killed since rains started early this week, dozens wounded, and more than a hundred had been rendered homeless in Khyber PK and Azad Kashmir. The Met office also predicted rain in Lahore on Friday (today). On Wednesday, a warning of flash floods was issued by the Disaster Management Cell and it had been warned that rains would continue for two days in Northern Punjab, Khyber PK and Kashmir areas.

It is worth mentioning here that the country hit by the worst flooding in its 65-year history in 2010 and floodwaters swamped one-fifth of the country. As many as 1,700 people were killed and over 20 million people were affected by the flood.

Meanwhile, there are reports that several villages had been inundated by floodwater in Punjab and KP districts. Hundreds of poor people were forced to spend days in open as their homes were destroyed by floods.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa nine people were killed and 11 others injured due to rise in river level triggered by heavy rainfall in Nowshera district.  In Mansehra district, six residents were killed and 11 others injured as several houses collapsed due to continuous raining.  The floodwater also inundated houses, washed away cattle and affected standing crops over thousands of acres of land in the province.

The provincial and district administration declared a state of emergency in the affected areas and launched rescue activities.

Meteorological office said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province had received 140 mm rain over the past 24 hours and moderate to heavy rainfall was expected in the province during the next 48 hours that could lead to flashfloods of medium to high intensity. Floodwater washed away at least four people from northwest tribal areas and two people including a kid from low-lying areas of Azad Kashmir.

In Punjab, floodwater killed two people in Sialkot district. Many villages in Sialkot and near the River Ravi and Chanab were also inundated.

At least three kids were killed as a house collapsed due to continuous downpour in Rawalpindi. The rainwater also submerged roads and entered into the houses in low-lying areas in Rawalpindi.

The MET office have said that the low-level flood in river Ravi may turn into a high-level flood if the rain continues over the next 24 hours.

In 2011, floodwater killed an estimated 270 civilians in southern Sindh province. At least 5.3 million people were displaced and 1.2 million houses were destroyed.  The MET office said Thursday that in 2012 floods were not likely to cause much destruction as monsoon season was already coming towards its end and fewer rains were likely to happen in the remaining days of the year.

Ch Abdul Majeed, Azad Kashmir’s prime minister said at least 17 people had been killed and nine others injured in six districts since Monday.

“Some 685 houses and 125 shops have been damaged and roads washed away,” Majeed said, adding that a request has been made to the federal government for financial help.

Irshad Bhatti, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority, said the extent of the damage was still being assessed.

The majority of the deaths in Kashmir came when buildings collapsed due to the rains, officials said.

Adnan Khan, an official from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said he feared the death toll there could rise.

“Dozens of families have suffered and their houses were destroyed, several people are still missing,” Khan said.

Weather officials are predicting heavy rain in the next three days and rescue teams are closely monitoring the situation, Bhatti said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has expressed his anguish and grief over the loss of lives due to flash floods caused by heavy rains in different parts of the country.

The prime minister directed the Federal Flood Commission, Ministry of Water and Power and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to closely monitor the situation across the country and keep him updated.

The prime minister directed that river’s banks must be reinforced to avert any threat in case of overflows. They must be monitored, he emphasised. He also directed all federal and provincial authorities to remain on alert and enhance coordination as well as exchange regular information for a rapid response to any emergency.

The prime minister also called for thorough checking and updating of the early warning system so that it could be utilised to warn the people living near rivers and nullas across the country well in time.

The prime minister directed the NDMA to increase the level of preparedness and review the existing stock of material required for its operations. He also directed NDMA to remain in close contact with NDMA for coordination and provision of assistance as and when required.