What Is Cloudburst, How Did It Wreak Havoc In Neelum Valley?

Aizbah KhanWeb Editor

13th Jul, 2021. 02:34 pm
What Is cloudburst, How Did It Wreak Havoc In Neelum Valley?

A cloudburst wreaked havoc in the village of Salkhala in Azad Kashmir’s Neelum district on Monday evening.

According to initial reports, a woman and a girl were injured in the flash flood while two persons Qari Akram Zia and his wife are still missing.

The flash floods completely destroyed 16 houses and caused partial damage to 12 houses. Numerous livestock, vehicles and fruit trees have also been affected by the floods.

The rescue operation could not be started immediately after the incident due to continuous rains, darkness and flash floods in the area.

The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) of  Azad Kashmir had issued a letter on July 8 warning of heavy rains from Saturday evening to Wednesday and warning the public and tourists. They had to plan their trip based on the weather.

Last year, at least 22 people were killed and about 150 houses were destroyed in a major cloudburst in the Lesva area of the Neelum Valley.

District Disaster Management Officer Akhtar Ayub said that it had been raining heavily in and around the district headquarters since 9 pm last night.

“We heard noise from Salkhla across the river and when we got there with the volunteers, we saw that the houses along the drain had been destroyed by the flood,” he said.

He said that Salkhla Nala, like all other rivers in the valley, merges with the Neelum river flowing in the middle of the valley.

Photos shared on social media show that many houses have collapsed and their rubble is visible, but many houses have been completely washed away.

According to Akhtar Ayub, about 30 residential houses, including household goods and livestock, a timber factory and a motorcycle have been washed away.

On the other hand, an eyewitness Hayat Awan said that about 20 houses, two vehicles and a motorbike were completely washed away while about 15 houses were uninhabitable and their lower floors were completely destroyed.

“About 25 livestock, including cows and goats, have been swept away in the floods and the infrastructure in the area has been severely damaged,” he said.

According to Akhtar Ayub, it was exactly like the Lesva Nalla flood in the valley, which two years ago in July, in addition to damaging private property, killed about 20 people.

However, the death toll in Salkhla was reduced because people had already evacuated their homes after hearing the unusual noise of the drain.

Akhtar Ayub said that a couple identified as Akram Zia and Salma Bibi were missing from a house and their search was on.

Akram Zia’s daughter Ayesha and widow Bhabhi Khairul Nisa were injured in the night and shifted to a local hospital.

The victim’s family was evacuated overnight, he said.

What is Cloudburst?

A sudden heavy downpour in a particular area for a short period of time that causes a major storm or flood is called a cloud burst or ‘cloud burst’. Before the cloud burst, the warm air at the bottom of the atmosphere begins to move rapidly upwards, causing the vapours in the clouds to turn into water droplets.

This process is so rapid that the cloud cannot withstand the load of newly formed water and it explodes with an explosion which results in heavy rains.
Cloudbursts usually occur in mountainous areas. Cloudbursts have wreaked havoc in northern Pakistan and Azad Kashmir in recent years.

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