KARACHI: At least five people were killed, three of them electrocuted, after a heavy rain lashed the metropolis on Sunday and played havoc on the ill-maintained civic infrastructure as well as K-Electric’s transmission and distribution system, causing hours-long power breakdowns in the city.
The flight operation at Karachi airport was also affected due to the rain as many flights were either diverted to other airports or not allowed to take off until the weather situation improved.
The Met Office recorded maximum rainfall of 86.2mm, or 3.3 inches, in Gulshan-i-Hadeed and forecast that the rain would continue on Monday (today)
While all roads and highways were submerged, sewage-mixed rainwater coming from overflowing gutters and storm-water drains flooded low-lying areas, especially those close to major storm-water drains.
All government and civic institutions were conspicuous by their absence to drain out accumulated rainwater from major thoroughfares. However, police and Rangers with rescuers belonging to charity organisations helped commuters whose vehicles stuck up in knee- and waist-deep water.
Three electrocuted, two drown
Steel Town SHO Shakir Ali said that 10-year-old Arbab was playing outside his home in Gulshan-i-Hadeed when he touched a snapped electric wire and died. He said the family didn’t want to pursue the case legally.
Usman Akhter, 22, died when he suffered an electric shock due to a snapped electric wire in Qadhafi Town in Landhi. The body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for medico-legal formalities.
City experiences prolonged power failures; flight operation affected; rain likely to continue today
An Edhi Foundation spokesperson said that 18-year-old Osama Iqbal was also injured in the same incident. He suffered burn wounds.
Yousuf, 55, died when he suffered an electric shock at Fawara Chowk, Garden, said a Chippa spokesperson. No further details were available that how the incident took place. The body was shifted to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi.
A 27-year-old man drowned in a storm-water drain in Orangi Town.
Pakistan Bazaar SHO Iqbal Husain Tunio said that victim Tariq Abid was riding a motorbike and in Sector 11½ he fell into an overflowing drain. Strong waves swept him away and his body was retrieved after hectic efforts.
A five-year-old boy was feared drowned as he fell into a drain near Vita Chowrangi in Korangi. The Edhi spokesperson said that their divers were trying to recover the boy.
More rain likely today
The weather in the city is likely to remain partly cloudy and humid with chances of dust/thunderstorm rain, the Met department forecast.
The department recorded maximum rainfall in Gulshan-i-Hadeed (86.2mm) followed by University Road/Gulistan-i-Jauhar (80.8mm), North Karachi (61.9mm), Keamari (50.8mm), Jinnah Terminal (58mm), Saddar (51mm), Pehalwan Goth (49.6mm), PAF Base Faisal (49.2mm), Nazimabad (28mm), PAF Base Masroor and Landhi received 23mm rainfall.
“Monsoon currents of moderate intensity continue to penetrate in Sindh. Under the influence of this system moderate rain/thunderstorms and gusty wind with rather heavy falls at times are likely in all districts of Sindh including Karachi today [Monday],” according to the Met department website.
The Sunday downpour also caused power failures in most parts of the city.
People called Dawn office to complain that the power supply was disrupted in their respective areas immediately after the rain started.
Residents from Federal B Area, Malir, Landhi, Korangi, Shah Faisal Colony, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Saddar, Soldier Bazaar, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, New Karachi, North Karachi, Surjani Town, Baldia Town, SITE and Keamari also complained about prolonged power failures.
A KE spokesman said that due to torrential rains followed by urban flooding in parts of Karachi, power supply to low-lying areas of Orangi, Korangi, Defence, 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.
He said that KE teams remained engaged in restoring power supply to rain-affected areas as soon as safely possible in view of the accumulated rainwater caused due to drainage challenges.
He said that KE teams were available round the clock to address any localised faults and customers should register via SMS on 8119 for regular power supply updates. However, localised faults can be reported using the KE Live App or 118 helpline.
Rangers, police rescue people
As roads were flooded with rainwater, personnel of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh and Karachi police helped the people stuck up in traffic jams and rainwater.
A spokesperson for the paramilitary force said that the Rangers personnel reached rain-affected areas and joined the rescue efforts being led by rescue services.
The paramilitary force also helped the traffic police to rescue the commuters stuck up in knee-deep water on roads.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon directed the police to help rescue the motorcyclists and people travelling in four-wheelers as they were facing difficulties in reaching their destinations.
“Traffic and district police are present on ground performing their duty,” said a police spokesperson.
Motorway Police spokesperson Syed Turab Ali advised the people to avoid unnecessary travel because rainwater accumulated on the Lyari Expressway and M-9 motorway, formerly known as Superhighway, until Nooriabad.
Mayor visits parts of city
Mayor Wasim Akhtar on Sunday visited different areas of the city to review measures being taken for draining out the rainwater.
Talking to citizens during his visit to Chamman and Saddar nullahs, he said that the situation in the city might have been different had the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) not removed encroachments from Gujjar nullah, Saddar nullah, Soldier Bazaar nullah, Mehmoodabad nullah, PECHS nullah and other nullahs in 2018.
“We cleaned these nullahs properly in 2018 and they are still draining out rainwater,” he added.
The mayor said that he had requested the Sindh government to expedite cleanliness of the drains and asked it to find a permanent solution.
He said that the traffic flow in all KMC’s underpasses was normal and the staffers were deployed for draining out water on time.
“All departments of the KMC are on high alert to cope with any untoward situation and facilitate the citizens during the rains,” he added.
The mayor appealed to the people to adopt precautionary measures during rains and keep themselves away from electric poles and other electric installations.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2020