Flooded roads, power outages and traffic jams: Heavy rain wreaks havoc in Karachi

Updated 18 Jul 2020

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People wade through a flooded road caused by heavy rainfall in Karachi on Friday, July 17. — AP
People wade through a flooded road caused by heavy rainfall in Karachi on Friday, July 17. — AP

At least two people including a policeman lost their lives as heavy rain accompanied by strong winds battered Karachi on Friday, leaving major thoroughfares flooded and causing widespread power outages even as residents heaved a sigh of relief from the day's intense heat.

Among other damages caused to the city's infrastructure by the second rain spell of the season, a wall of the Bandookwala building located on the city's I.I. Chundrigar Road collapsed, badly damaging a number of cars parked nearby, according to police.

A man pushes a donkey cart through a flooded street caused by heavy rainfall in Karachi on Friday. — AP
A man pushes a donkey cart through a flooded street caused by heavy rainfall in Karachi on Friday. — AP

A policeman, identified as 30-year-old Arshad Ali, who was posted with the Rapid Response Force of police, lost his life when he suffered an electric shock while performing duty at Bahar-i-Madina Water Pump in Ibrahim Hyderi. The body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).

In a separate incident, a 35-year-old man, Abid Husain, died of electric shock near Abdullah Shah Ghazi's shrine in Clifton, according to Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director of the JPMC, where the body was brought.

Cars damaged in wall-collapse incident in Saddar. — Photo: Imtiaz Ali
Cars damaged in wall-collapse incident in Saddar. — Photo: Imtiaz Ali

According to the Met Office, Karachi received a maximum 63.5mm of rain at PAF Faisal Base, Saddar (41.0mm), Gulshan-i-Hadeed (40.0mm), Landhi (40.0mm), Karachi MOS (28.0mm), University Road (16.0mm), Jinnah Terminal (15.0mm), Nazimabad (9.0mm), Masroor Base (5.7mm) and North Karachi (traces).

The K-Electric (KE), which has already come under fire from all sides in recent weeks over frequent unannounced load-shedding and complaints of overbilling, took to Twitter to say that heavy rains and winds were "causing power disruption throughout the city".

It said some of its feeders were switched off for "safety reasons". "Teams are working for swift restoration of power," the power utility added.

As commuters returning from their workplaces complained of major roads such as Sharea Faisal being inundated and traffic moving at a snail's pace, Sindh Minister for Local Government Nasir Hussain Shah and Adviser to the Chief Minister Barrister Murtaza Wahab undertook a visit to various areas to review the situation.

Many netizens criticised the municipal authorities and provincial government for not having prepared adequately for the heavy rains which led to roads being flooded.

In a statement, Shah said efforts were being made to bring the situation back to normal following the heavy rain and that drainage of rainwater was continuing due to a "comprehensive strategy".

He said the administrations of all districts were fully active while the process of cleaning storm-water drains was continuing uninterrupted.

According to Shah, pumping stations of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board were functioning non-stop and dewatering machines had been installed at major choking points.

A police team drains rainwater outside JPMC. — Photo: SHO Saddar
A police team drains rainwater outside JPMC. — Photo: SHO Saddar

Special attention was being paid to maintain the flow of traffic through underpasses, he said.

The heavy rain caused flooding at the JPMC, one of the largest government-operated hospitals in the metropolis, and put patients and attendants in a "difficult situation", Saddar Station House Officer Arshad Afridi said in a statement.

He added that a police team from the Saddar Police Station "came in action and promptly ... managed to drain the water inside and [in the] parking area of JPMC".

The Met department had forecast light to moderate widespread rain in Sindh today (Friday), a day after several parts of Karachi received light rain in the evening.

On July 6, the first monsoon spell had hit Karachi and lasted for three days, wreaking havoc on the ill-maintained municipal infrastructure, disrupting electricity for hours and causing traffic jams on almost every major thoroughfare. At least seven people were killed in various rain-related incidents.

The weather system currently active is likely to persist for a shorter duration and move towards Oman soon.

Residents took to social media to share pictures and videos from the first downpour of the season.

The rain left major arteries of the city inundated, with commuters reporting being stuck in traffic jams for hours.

One resident tweeted that fish were blown into her house during the windy showers.

'Power supply remained intact'

As residents of the city's DHA, Clifton and other neighbourhoods complained of hours-long power outages, the KE in a statement claimed that "power supply remained intact in the city" during the latest spell of rain.

However, it said power supply to "a few low-lying areas including Orangi, Korangi, small pockets of DHA, Baldia, Gulshan and Bin Qasim as well as in areas with a high incidence of kundas was temporarily suspended in the interest of public safety".

"The power utility regrets inconvenience caused to customers due to inclement weather," it said, advising residents to stay away from any broken wires, electrical poles and transformers during the rains.

In an update, KE said waterlogging in areas suffering power outages was "causing disruption in restoration efforts".

"Our teams are making all necessary efforts to ensure power is normalised at [the] earliest."