KARACHI: Four people died from electrocution in different parts of the city as moderate rain that began on Sunday evening and continued into Monday wreaked havoc on Karachi’s ill-maintained electricity and sewerage systems, causing hours-long traffic jams on major arteries.
A Pakistan Meteorological Department official said that more rain was not expected as the current system had weakened after 24 hours and fizzled out by Monday night. The minimum temperature was likely to drop to 12 degree Celsius during the next 24 hours, he added.
The maximum rainfall, 38 millimetres (1.49 inches), was recorded in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Scheme 33 areas, followed by Landhi and its surrounding areas (31mm, or 1.22 inches).
The Met Office’s observatories at Pehalwan Goth, PAF Faisal and Masroor Base recorded 29mm and 12mm rain. Gulshan-i-Hadeed and Nazimabad received 10mm rain each and 7mm rain was recorded in North Karachi.
Many areas remain without electricity for hours; Met Office says no chance of more rain
The moderate rain badly affected the traffic in the city, which witnessed hours-long jams on key roads. The traffic started slowing down late on Sunday when parts of the city received showers and took hours to normalise amid non-functioning of several traffic signals, absence of traffic officials from several intersections and blockade of some major roads due to accumulated water.
In district South, hundreds of vehicles were stuck in a traffic mess on I.I. Chundrigar Road, M.R. Kayani Road, Sarwar Shaheed Road, Abdullah Haroon Road, Napier Road, Hasrat Mohani Road, Burnes Road, Shahrah-i-Liaquat, Saddar and Sharea Faisal.
A link on Sharea Faisal near Hotel Metropole to PIDC intersection faced the same situation and traffic in a couple of phases of the Defence Housing Authority also remained disturbed for hours.
Officials said the rain badly affected two key links of East district — Korangi Causeway and Korangi Road — which link Korangi with the rest of the city, as people opted for alternative routes which further swelled number of vehicles on available arteries.
The Liaquatabad, Nazimabad and Drigh Road underpasses also turned into virtual swimming pools.
In East district, University Road remained the worst affected area where hundreds of vehicles were seen lined up after sunset due to accumulated rainwater. Similarly, in Central district construction works on key traffic intersections made the situation difficult for vehicular traffic.
Deaths from electrocution
The Nabi Bakhsh police said that Rahim Shah, 25, died when he accidently touched a live electric wire in the old city area near the Jubilee furniture market late on Sunday night.
A spokesperson for the Edhi Foundation said that 18-year-old Danish died from electrocution when he touched an electric pole near the Khwaja Ajmer Nagri police station in North Karachi.
Twenty-year-old Asif was electrocuted while working in a factory in SITE.
In the fourth incident, 26-year-old Wajahat Ali died when he suffered an electric shock inside his home in Bijli Nagar of Orangi Town.
Hours-long power failures
Apart from casualties, the thunderous rains left major parts of the city without electric supply for hours.
The affected areas included Clifton, DHA, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, North Nazimabad, F.B Area, North Karachi, Orangi Town, Korangi, Landhi and Baldia Town, etc.
According to a KE spokesperson, its teams remained alert following forecast of rain and responded swiftly to restore electricity in the affected areas.
He said that while waterlogging in a few low-lying areas caused difficulties in the restoration work, power supply to strategic installations, including key hospitals, KWSB pumping stations and airport remained unaffected.
Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2019