Three more persons electrocuted as another downpour batters Karachi

28 Jul 2020

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PEOPLE suffered prolonged traffic jams on various roads, as here at Shafiq Mor, during and after the rain on Monday.—Shakil Adil / White Star
PEOPLE suffered prolonged traffic jams on various roads, as here at Shafiq Mor, during and after the rain on Monday.—Shakil Adil / White Star

KARACHI: Three more persons died in rain-related incidents — all electrocuted — on Monday, taking the death toll to eight during the last two days of moderate to heavy rain in the metropolis, officials said.

Two labourers were electrocuted in the Moachko area on Monday evening. Area SHO Wasim Ahmed said heavy rain had created a pond inside Al-Badar godown, dealing with crushing of stones, situated on Suparco Road. Four labourers tried to install a suction pump to drain rainwater when they suffered electric shocks. Two of them died and the other two survived the shocks.

The dead were identified as Naheed Jan, 26, and Mohammed Moosa, 45. They originally hailed from Shaheed Benazirabad and Kala Dhaka in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The bodies were taken to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi to fulfil legal formalities.

In the other incident, a 45-year-old man was electrocuted in Orangi Town, Sector 11-1/2.

Minister tries to deflect criticism of Sindh govt’s poor performance

Pakistan Bazaar SHO Iqbal Husain Tunio said that Mohammed Isa tried to run a suction pump at Ghausia Chowk when he suffered electric shocks and died. The body was taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

Two children were among the five persons who died, three of them from electrocution, on Sunday when rain lashed the city.

Weather forecast

City’s weather is likely to be partly cloudy and windy with chances of drizzle/light rain on Tuesday as the monsoon currents persisting over southeast Sindh for some days have lost their intensity, the Meteorological department stated.

“Monsoon currents of weak intensity still persist over southeast Sindh. Under its influence, light to moderate rain with isolated thunderstorms is likely to occur in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Dadu and Larkana districts in the next 24 hours,” stated the Met department website.

The maximum temperature recorded on Monday was 33.2 degrees Celsius with 82 per cent humidity.

The department recorded a maximum rainfall in Nazimabad (34mm) followed by Gulistan-i-Jauhar (10.2mm), North Karachi (8.8mm), Pehalwan Goth (1.8mm), Jinnah Terminal (0.8mm) and Surjani Town (0.4mm).

‘Natural calamities’

Facing strong criticism from opponents and different segments of society over failure of the local bodies system in Karachi in recent rains, the Sindh government defended itself with an argument that excessive downpour had emerged as “natural calamities” which to a large extent remained beyond control of the government machinery.

The fresh argument came from a key member of the Sindh cabinet and close aide to the chief minister.

He accused a particular group of fanning the “propaganda” against the Pakistan Peoples Party, mainly on social media, through posting old videos and pictures.

(CLOCKWISE) A woman along with two children wade through a flooded street after heavy rains in Karachi on Monday. Commuters cross an inundated road. A view of a market. A van is stuck in the rainwater. A man removes water from his grocery shop. —AFP/Shakeel Adil-White Star
(CLOCKWISE) A woman along with two children wade through a flooded street after heavy rains in Karachi on Monday. Commuters cross an inundated road. A view of a market. A van is stuck in the rainwater. A man removes water from his grocery shop. —AFP/Shakeel Adil-White Star

“The record rainfall in the city is a completely natural process and the Sindh government has been implementing emergency measures for the last several months under a comprehensive and integrated policy in this regard,” said Sindh Minister for Information and Local Bodies Syed Nasir Hussain Shah while talking to reporters during his visit to different areas of the city.

“Whether it was cleaning the drains or devising a strategy of collective sacrifice, the Sindh government kept the elected local body leadership of the city on board at every opportunity. In today’s torrential rain, while the ministers of the Sindh government have been continuously serving the people since last night, some evil elements are merely slandering our character on their Twitter accounts and social media pages.”

He admitted that the situation was not 100 per cent fine but at least the Sindh government was in the field with its people in this difficult time.

“All our Local Government Officers, including the Secretary Local Government, MD Water Board, MD Solid Waste, are in constant touch with the people and staff and are engaged in measures against the abnormal rains. We have no hesitation in saying that if the Sindh government had not taken timely steps to clean the storm drains, the situation could have been even worse,” he added.

He appealed to the people not to leave their homes unnecessarily, stay away from electricity poles and take care of themselves and their loved ones. The government of Sindh, he said, would not leave ground till the problems of the people are solved.

Mr Shah also inspected the cleaning process of all storm-water drains of the city, including those in Nazimabad, Liaquatabad, Surjani Town, Gulbahar, Orangi Town, New Karachi and North Nazimabad, and monitored the sweeping process directly.

He directed the authorities concerned to make relief activities more effective and efficient.

The minister also met and talked to the people and issued orders on the spot regarding urgent matters. Meanwhile, a statement issued by his office said that the minister had been visiting various areas of the city for the last two days, to see storm-water drains, choking points, underpasses and various important and sensitive places.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2020