Floods of 2014 resulted in more of a financial and less human loss


Floods of 2014 resulted in more of
a financial and less human loss

Prof. Altaf Hussain Rathore FRCS1 & Dr. Kashif Rathore Ph.D.2

Punjab is a big Valey or you can say an inverted delta of Indus river and its four tributaries – Jehlum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlaj. I have purposely left out Bias because it does not reach Pakistan. Flooding in these rivers is a regular feature in the areas adjacent to them since centuries. That is why there were flood canals from every river which was not only a source of nuisence of inundation but was also a blessing in form of the irrigation of the fertile lands. Kushans in the distant past and  Moghal empire (speacially emporer Jahangir) about 400 years back dug irrigation canals. But real credit goes to the British who started Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS) in 1860 and constructed dams and canals on these rivers which continued up to 1939. Still the danger of flood in these rivers could not be stopped, though their frequency and intensity is less. We do get heavy floods after every 3 to 10 years like that of 1972, 1992, 2010 and recent flood. The floods in KP province are more due to Rivers Swat and Kabul (besides Indus) and its hill torrents. Likewise Baluchistan gets its share of floods from the hill torrents and rivulets. Province of Sindh is on the taking side of the surplus water from all these rivers.

Prof. Altaf Hussain Rathore

The biggest river in our country is the Indus which due to its great length and capacity overflows to a large area and causes damage from KP up to Sindh. Next is Chenab which starts from the southern slopes of great Himaliaya in Bara Locha pass of Himachal Perdesh (India) by the confluence of two rivers Chandra and Bhage. Then it enters Jammu and Kashmir and joined by river Tavi at Akhnoor. Then it flows into Pakistan near Sialkot. In Pakistan it is joined by river Jehlum at Trimu (near Jhang) then by river Ravi at Ahmedpur Sial then by Sutlaj at Punjnad and drains into Indus river at Mithankot. Its Vedic names are Chandrabhaga or Iskmati or Ashkini and greek called it Acesines. It is 960 Kms long and discharges an average 8.6 cusic of water. One cusic means the amount of water which passed though an opening of one squire foot in one second. This year the major flooding occurred in Chenab.

Many big cities settled area and agriculture lands are lying near the banks of River Chenab. So when ever there is a flood in this river there is more loss of financial, human lives, life stock and agriculture crops. That is what happened in the recent flood of September 2014. Due to excessive and sudden rains in the catchment area of this river in India, Kashmir and Pakistan there was a sudden deluge in this river which caused the flash flood. Some people say that India purposely caused this flood. They released the water of their Baglihar Dam which caused havoc when it reached Pakistan. The reason being given that on 5th September 2014 the water reached at Head Marala  (Pakistan) was 350000 cusics which suddenly rose to 775000 cusics on 6th of Sep ( which reached upto 1100000 cusics later on), India did not inform Pakistan about it. A vast cultivated area of rice, sugar cane, cotton were destroyed by the flood water and at some places it was as high as 20 feet. It was so sudden that the people did not get the time to evacuate and shift their belongings to the safer places. They saved themselves by climbing their roof tops and the trees for three to five days. A little less poor rather  slightly more affluent area of Punjab like Districts of Sialkot, Shakkar Gargh, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Sarghoda, Chiniot, Jhang, Multan, Muzafar Gargh were effected. That is why so many NGO specially Al Khidmat Foundation and Fallah -i- Insaneet Foundation and other philanthrapist bodies rushed to them with boats, food, medicine, man power and money to help them. It will go without saying that Punjab Government and Pakistan Army did the commendable job in the rescue work. Still it is estimated by NDMA that 4065 villages, 3.4 million of areas of standings crops, 36000 houses were completely destroyed, 2.5 million people were effected and out of them 300 people died of this flood. Twelve Districts of Punjab were mainly effected. Thanks God that big towns, dams and  barrages were not much effected except small towns Athara Hazari and and Shershah which were drowned due to demolishing of the embankments of Chenab at Atharahazari and Shershah to save city of Jhang, head Trimu and Multan city.      

Other rivers like Jehlum, Ravi and Sutlaj had also minor flood which effected Jehlum, Mandi Bahauddin, Lahore, Shakhupura, Kamalia but damage was not so much. This year the duration of flood was for few days as compared to that of 2010 which lasted for 2 months. But due to sudden influx of water in the more settled areas the economical cost and losses were more this year than four years ago. Most of the people suffered from fever, malaria, gastroenteritis, skin diseases and eye infections but medical aid was fairly efficient. Thanks God there was no epidemic and very few cases of snake bite occurred though there were lot of snakes in the area.

1. Foundation Hospital,
    Rajana , Dist. Toba Tek Singh.
    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
2. Department of Administrative Sciences, Punjab University, 

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