Death toll hits 27 as more rain forecast for Sindh

Updated August 14, 2019

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(CLOCKWISE) People walk about on a major road in Karachi on Tuesday after rainwater renders it impassable for motorists; a Rangers man uses a sledgehammer to build a conduit for draining water; and two children use small utensils as they try to remove water from their house. — PPI
(CLOCKWISE) People walk about on a major road in Karachi on Tuesday after rainwater renders it impassable for motorists; a Rangers man uses a sledgehammer to build a conduit for draining water; and two children use small utensils as they try to remove water from their house. — PPI

KARACHI: Over two dozen people lost their lives and 46 others suffered injuries in rain-related incidents across Sindh as the monsoon showers that began on Saturday morning wreaked havoc on several areas and their residents during its three-day spell amid prolonged power outages.

Up to nine inches (200.6mm) of rainfall was recorded in Karachi’s Surjani Town as the average rainfall recorded at 12 weather stations was over six inches (158.33mm).

The Met Office has forecast yet another spell of moderate to heavy rains with thunderstorm entering Sindh from Rajasthan tomorrow (Thursday).

Most of the victims died from electrocution or when a wall or the roof of their houses collapsed, while at least one drowned when the truck he was driving fell into the Malir River.

According to police, a total of 27 people died in rain-related incidents across the province. Twenty four of them were residents of Karachi. Besides, the mayhem left around 46 others injured including 33 in the provincial capital.

Due to the collapse of roof or walls of buildings, Nasir Khan, 35, died in Keamari and Rashid Khan, 60, in Bin Qasim area, while another man died and around 15 others sustained injuries when the roof of a mosque collapsed and fell on them in Aligarh Society. A driver, Ubaid, drowned when the truck he was driving fell into the Malir River in Memon Goth area. His body was recovered. In Surjani area, a man, Mohsin Salman drowned in a pool of rainwater at Khuda Ki Basti.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has forecast that another system formed in the Bay of Bengal and adjoining eastern India was approaching the country for monsoon showers. “It is likely to move westwards and reach Rajasthan on Thursday.”

The weather advisory for Sindh said under the influence of this system rain or thunderstorm of moderate intensity with isolated heavy falls are likely in Thar, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Thatta and Badin districts during Thursday and Friday. “Light or moderate rain may also fall in Hyderabad and Karachi divisions during evening or night of Thursday [that could last] till Friday night,” it added.

Earlier, three young men died from electrocution in the Defence Housing Authority near the intersection of Khyaban-i-Seher and Khyaban-i-Shujaat, the police said. SSP (Karachi-South) Sheeraz Nazeer said Faizan Saleem, 25, Hamza Tariq, 20, and Talha Tanveer, 28, left their residences in Defence Garden to lodge a complaint against power failure on Sunday afternoon according to their family statement. Apparently they suffered an electric shock when their motorbike hit an electric pole in the knee-deep rainwater. A video of the incident that went viral on social media shows their bodies lying in the rainwater with onlookers being afraid to go close to them. “Two of them died on the spot. The third man was rescued and shifted to a hospital [Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre] but unfortunately he also died,” said SSP Nazeer.

Following the funeral prayer at Tooba mosque in Defence Garden, which was attended by leaders of different political parties and religious groups, the body of one of the deceased was taken away for burial in his native place in Gujrat.

The Darakshan police later registered an FIR (500/2019) against KE’s senior officials namely Arif Naqvi, Moonis Abdullah Alvi, Ikram Sehgal and others on a complaint of Tariq Mehmood, father of one of the deceased youths, under Sections 268, 322 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

JPMC executive director Dr Seemin Jamali said six persons who died from electrocution were brought from different areas to the hospital on Sunday, while police surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi said three persons who died from electrocution were brought at Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi. Abbasi Shaheed Hospital received one such case.

The victims were namely Jawar Khanum, 60, a resident of Pirabad; Abdul Rehman, 50, a resident of Ittehad Town; Hanif Abdullah, 48, who died from electrocution at SITE near Nadra office, Shahbaz, 25, a resident of Sukhan area, Abdul Rehman, a resident of Memon Goth, and Mohammed Omer, 33, who died from electrocution in Kharadar.

Meanwhile, K-E spokesperson said: “KE is also investigating all electrocution incidents.”

“Majority of the incidents either occurred inside homes through broken wires and water pumps or due to non-KE infrastructure such as kundas and hanging lights.”

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2019