Met dept issues urban flooding alert for Karachi, Hyderabad during upcoming monsoon spell

Updated 03 Aug 2020

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People wade through a flooded street after heavy monsoon rains in Karachi on July 26.  — AFP/File
People wade through a flooded street after heavy monsoon rains in Karachi on July 26. — AFP/File

The Pakistan Meteorological Department on Monday issued an urban flooding warning for Karachi and Hyderabad in which it predicted a monsoon spell in Sindh and parts of Balochistan from Thursday (August 6) to Saturday (August 8).

In a notification, the Met department said that a low pressure system from the Bay of Bengal was likely to approach Sindh on Thursday. "Under the influence of this weather system, strong monsoon currents are expected to penetrate Sindh, south Punjab and eastern Balochistan from Thursday (evening/night) to Saturday."

The department added that widespread rain and thundershowers were expected in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Tando Allah Yar, Matiari, Tando Muhammad Khan, Jamshoro, Dadu and Shaheed Benazirabad during this period.

Scattered rain/thundershowers also expected in Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Kambarshahdad Kot, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Ghotki, Jaffarabad, Jhalmagsi, Khuzdar, Lasbela and Awaran on Friday and Saturday.

In addition to issuing a warning about urban flooding in Karachi and Hyderabad, the department also warned of flash flooding in the hill torrents of Khuzdar, urging authorities to remain alert during this period.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah visited different areas of Karachi to review work on cleaning the city's storm-water drains and collection of animal waste.

He stated that the provincial government has been regularly releasing funds to clean the city's drains.

"The nalas are being cleaned every year, but due to encroachment issues, some portions are always left which causes them to choke during heavy rainfall," he said.

The chief minister maintained that he would address the city's drainage and infrastructure issues in consultation with the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the Karachi Development Authority.

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman to visit Karachi and begin cleaning up the city. The premier signed a summary authorising NDMA and the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) to carry out a cleanliness drive in Karachi with “unlimited funds”.

The premier had issued the directions after three separate monsoon spells in July laid waste to the city's crumbling infrastructure as rainwater, mixed with sewage, flooded entire localities in the city and turned roads into rivers.

'Work on cleaning Karachi's storm-water drains will begin on Monday'

A day earlier, NDMA Chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal had said that work on cleaning major storm-water drains in Karachi would begin from Monday (today).

Addressing a press conference after visiting the city, he had said that Pakistan Army’s V Corps had been called in under the Disaster Management Act and the work on cleaning the city's drains would be carried out in two phases.

"During August and the first few days of September, we are looking at minimising the damage that has already been caused. But Karachi's problems can't and won't be solved by this. For that, we need to understand the problems of the city."

He had stated that encroachments had popped up on the city's drains, adding that another important aspect to troubles the city was facing was the fact that the storm-water and sewerage drainage system was not separate.

"Even if the sewerage system is separate in some areas [...] you can't put that water into the [drainage system] without treating it. If you don't treat sewerage, heavy sediments will begin to settle and that system will [collapse] in two to three years."

Until these things are mended, long-term planning can't take place, he had said.