KARACHI: At least seven people were killed, four of them drowned, in rain-related incidents across the metropolis as the fifth spell of the current monsoon season lashed Karachi on Friday.

The movement of traffic came to a grinding halt due to roads being submerged by rainwater while power supply system showed no improvement as many areas were still deprived of electricity till late in the night.

The ill-maintained civic infrastructure also showed no improvement as rainwater mixed with sewage from overflowing drains flooded many localities and entered houses despite tall claims by the provincial and federal government and intervention of the army-led National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) after the last showers.

The city’s Central district emerged as one of the worst affected parts of Karachi where maximum rainfall was recorded and the poor infrastructure made the people pay the price of the fresh monsoon spell.

By Friday evening, the Met department said, maximum 185.7 millimetres, or 7.3 inches, rainfall was recorded in Surjani Town followed by North Karachi 106.4mm, North Nazimabad 106mm, Gulshan-i-Hadeed 84mm, PAF Masroor Base 54mm, Saadi Town 36.5mm, Gulistan-i-Jauhar 28.2mm, Landhi 25mm, PAF Faisal Base 22mm, Jinnah Terminal 20.8mm, Saddar 20mm and Keamari received 11.5mm of rain.

Four persons feared drowned; overflowing storm-water drains leave question mark on desilting work

A Met official said that the current wet spell was likely to stay till Monday with chances of moderate to heavy rains in different parts of the city.

Four drowned

A man, his teenage son and his brother were feared drowned in a storm-water drain in New Karachi on Friday evening, police said.

Area SHO Tahir Khan said that Bilal, 17, slipped and fell in the drain near Bismillah Chowk. His father, Nasir, and uncle, Adnan, jumped in the drain to save the teenager but strong currents swept them away.

He said that rescue workers and area people were trying to rescue them but till our going to press they were untraceable.

In another incident, a teenager drowned in the Lyari river near Teen Hatti.

Rescuers said some boys were playing along the riverbed and their football fell in the river. Ali Raza tried to recover the ball, but the heavy flow of water swept him away.

Youth electrocuted

A young man died from electrocution in Docks area.

Saifullah, 20, died when he suffered an electric shock while switching on some electric appliance in his Machhar Colony home.

The body was shifted to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital to fulfil legal formalities. Area SHO Azam Rajpar said the family didn’t want to pursue the case legally.

Lightning claims two lives

Two men were killed when lightning struck them on the city’s outskirts in Malir on Friday evening.

They added that Shah Nawaz and Sultan Mallah died when lightning struck them in a farmhouse in Haji Mehar Goth.

Central district most affected

After a stifling humid day, the heavens opened up in the afternoon to give some respite to the people.

However, relief was to be short-lived in most parts of the city as roads were inundated, traffic jams ensued and electricity was cut off for considerable periods. Though the rain caused havoc in almost every part of the city, district Central bore the brunt of the downpour.

The key Shershah Suri Road, Shahrah-i-Pakistan and other thoroughfares in the district were submerged, making vehicles unable to move very far.

Videos doing the rounds on social media showed frantic commuters storm the Green Line track and break down its fence when the roads became unusable.

The Sindh government claimed that the situation was under control. However, referring to district Central, a spokesman for the Sindh local government department said that the “areas facing issues” had been identified and efforts were under way to normalise the situation.

Earlier, addressing a press conference before the rain lashed the city, Sindh government spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab said that the rains in Karachi had made the opposition try their best to brighten up their political shop.

“The rains have wreaked havoc on Lahore but no court notice was taken and the federal government did not offer its services for drainage,” he said. “When it rains in Karachi, we are criticised and blamed even though all the ministers including our chief minister are present in the field. Despite this, Prime Minister Niazi asks the NDMA for its role in Karachi.”

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2020