Civic bodies on high alert as Karachi braces for heavy rain

Updated July 28, 2019

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SHAREA Faisal seen after drizzle and (right) a nullah in Qayyumabad is choked with rubbish on Saturday, exposing the claims of the powers that be.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
SHAREA Faisal seen after drizzle and (right) a nullah in Qayyumabad is choked with rubbish on Saturday, exposing the claims of the powers that be.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Civic bodies were put on high alert on Saturday and vacations of all employees cancelled ahead of forecast of heavy rains in the metropolis.

While many city areas received traces of rain, with the exception of Saddar where 4mm rain was recorded, on Saturday, a Met official said that some factors had delayed the arrival of a weather system that was supposed to cause heavy rain from Sunday. Now, there were chances of moderate to heavy rain in the city on Monday, he said.

Also, two people died of electrocution in SITE and Superhighway areas and rescue officials described them as rain-related incidents.

Met Office forecasts moderate to heavy rains from tomorrow

LG minister inspects drains’ cleaning

Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani told Dawn that he had directed the authorities of all districts to immediately initiate the cleanliness work on an emergency basis and get it done before the rain.

The minister, who also visited some of the major storm-water drains in the city and inspected the cleaning work, requested the media and citizens not to panic and let the authorities do their work.

During his visit to Clifton, he became irked to find piles of garbage on the drains and asked the officials concerned to clear the garbage today or face strict action.

He said that he and Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani were monitoring the removal of garbage from the storm-water drains.

The minister said that the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board had been directed to cover all manholes.

“The KWSB and the district municipal corporations (DMCs) have been tasked to install pumps in the low-lying areas to drain out the rainwater,” he said, adding that the Pakistan Navy was also ready to meet any eventuality in the city.

Mr Ghani said that as many as 45 machines were on stand-by with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority for the DMCs if they would face a shortage. “The water board has also been directed to keep their machineries and pumps on standby with sufficient fuel,” he added.

KMC to assist Sindh govt during rain

Mayor Wasim Akhtar declared a state of emergency in the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation ahead of forecast of rains, directing the officers and staff concerned to remain alert.

Talking to Dawn, he said that cleaning of major storm-water drains had started on an emergency basis in the city.

He said that all staff of mandatory services departments including medical and health services, fire brigade, municipal services and parks and horticulture had been called on duty immediately.

The mayor said that all machinery and staff had been put on alert to meet any emergency and start work immediately.

He said that the KMC would assist the provincial government in rain-related operations.

The mayor said that 90 per cent of drains of the KMC and DMCs had been cleaned and work on the remaining 10pc was under way.

He said that the officials concerned had been directed to ensure drainage of water in all underpasses during rains through the staff and machinery required for this work.

The mayor also appealed to people to avoid dumping garbage in city drains and remove encroachments on them voluntarily.

Meanwhile, the K-Electric advised people to take extra precautions during the rains and not to touch electrical appliances barefoot or with wet hands. It further advised people to stay away from electric poles and other electric installations including transformers.

‘Moderate to heavy rain from Monday’

The maximum and minimum temperature in the city on Saturday was 27°C and 31°C, respectively. Humidity ranged between 89 and 73 per cent.

Met official Sardar Sarfaraz said: “Some factors have delayed the arrival of the system we were earlier expecting to cause intense rain in Karachi on Sunday. Now, there are chances of moderate to heavy rain in the city on Monday.”

According to him, there are two systems currently circulating in the region; one in the Arabian Sea and the other in the Bay of Bengal. Besides, there is also the affect of the monsoon weather conditions coming from the upper parts of the country.

The director general of the Pakistan Meteorological Department said that it would rain in the city till July 30 afternoon.

“This [the rain system] is expected to get cleared by July 31 and the city weather would return to what it historically experiences in the July-August months; cloudy weather with light sea breeze especially in the morning and evening hours,” he said.

The department has forecast rain in Hyderabad, Tandojam, Tando Allahyar and Dadu on Sunday (today).

Two electrocuted

A teenage boy and a young man died apparently in rain-related incidents in the city on Saturday, according to rescue services.

A 17-year-old unidentified male died when he touched an electric police in Jamali Goth off Superhighway.

In another incident, 27-year-old Syed Abdul Ghaffar suffered an electric shock when he tried to switch on motor pump in his home in Pathan Colony, SITE.—Faiza Ilyas & Imtiaz Ali contributed to this report.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2019