KARACHI: Life in Karachi almost came to a standstill on Monday because of a severe dust storm that wreaked havoc on the city’s fragile municipal infrastructure as well as the transmission and distribution system of the K-Electric.

Strong winds that swept across the city not only uprooted trees and electric poles but also destroyed houses in different parts of the city. Four people were killed and over 60 injured in different incidents.

A number of foreign and domestic flights to and from Karachi airport were either cancelled or delayed because of poor visibility.

People of Karachi had to spend a sleepless night between Sunday and Monday and during the day they also endured hours-long breakdowns.

Although the KE claimed to have fixed the faults, a large number of areas remained without power till evening.

Many areas remain without electricity for hours; rain with thunderstorm likely today

The areas affected included Malir, Landhi, Korangi, blocks of Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, North Karachi, North Nazimabad, residential blocks of Scheme 33, Federal B. Area, Defence, Clifton and several others.

“Power supply in the city remained at routine levels despite gusty winds and a severe dust storm,” said the power utility in a statement.

It claimed that despite the intensity of the storm, the KE’s rapid response teams maintained strict vigilance as the city experienced strong winds along with light rain in various areas on Sunday night and early hours of Monday morning.

“The overall power infrastructure remained intact during the inclement weather. During the windstorm, a few localised faults emerged in some parts of Malir, Korangi, Shah Faisal, a few blocks in Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Gulshan-i-Iqbal, which were swiftly attended and rectified by KE teams,” it said.

Thunderstorm likely today

Karachi is likely to have cloudy weather on Tuesday (today) with thunderstorm/rain, the Met department said.

“The system entering from Iran passed through Balochistan before reaching Karachi at night. It would be cleared by tomorrow afternoon and the hot weather conditions that lost their severity due to the dust storm would resume soon,” said Abdul Rasheed of the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

Sharing details of the dust storm, a spokesperson of the Met department said that it started on Sunday night after 11pm and reached its peak at 10.30am on Monday morning with wind speed of 64km per hour. It gradually moved towards Badin and other interior parts of Sindh.

“That was the maximum speed we recorded. Though harsh and destructive, the dust storm helped bring the temperature down,” he said, adding that a Met department observatory in Pehalwan Goth did not record any rain as it was negligible.

The maximum and minimum temperature was 31 degree Celsius and 23.5 degree Celsius, respectively. The level of humidity was 43 per cent.

The maximum and minimum temperature recorded on Sunday was 37.7 degree Celsius and 24 degree Celsius.

Mayor imposes emergency

Mayor Wasim Akhtar imposed an emergency in the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to deal with any situation ahead of forecast of heavy rains and dust storm in the city.

Talking to Dawn, he said that he had directed the municipal services, fire brigade, health and medical, parks and engineering departments to stay alert and make all arrangements ready.

The mayor said that the parks department was also directed to remove all fallen trees from main roads.

He also appealed to citizens to take all precautionary measures during the present weather and avoid going out unnecessarily or standing under hoardings or beneath trees.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2019