No respite: Met issues urban flooding alert for Karachi as heavy rain lashes city yet again

Updated 24 Aug 2020

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Commuters cross a flooded street during heavy monsoon rains in Karachi on July 30, 2019. — AFP/File
Commuters cross a flooded street during heavy monsoon rains in Karachi on July 30, 2019. — AFP/File

Heavy rain lashed parts of Karachi yet again on Monday, claiming the lives of at least two citizens and injuring four others, as the Pakistan Meteorological Department predicted another monsoon spell and warned of urban flooding in the metropolis.

According to data from the Met department, the highest amount of rainfall, 66mm, was recorded at Gulshan-i-Hadeed. Meanwhile, Karachi (MOS) recorded 1.1mm of rainfall, Landhi 32mm and Jinnah Terminal 0.6mm.

Two people died while four others were injured in the Sukhan area of the city on Monday, according to police and hospital officials.

According to SHO Adeel, the incident occurred when the awning of a gaming zone collapsed due to heavy rainfall at KMC flats near Bhains Colony, injuring six persons.

Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali said that the injured were brought to the hospital, where doctors pronounced one of them, 25-year-old Mohammad Imran, dead on arrival.

Another patient who was injured in the incident, and brought to the facility in critical condition, also died shortly after, she added.

The remaining four, identified as 40-year-old Usman, 26-year-old Hamid, 30-year-old Kamran and 55-year-old Mohammad Akbar, were admitted to the hospital for treatment.

PMD warns of more rainfall, chances of urban flooding

Earlier today, the Met dept said that another spell of rain was expected in Karachi and parts of Sindh from August 24 (today) to August 26 (Wednesday), warning that there was danger of urban flooding yet again.

"Rain/wind thundershowers, with isolated heavy to very heavy falls, are expected in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Shaheed Benazirabad, Dadu, Tharparker, Nagarparker, Mirpurkhas, Islam Kot, Umar Kot, Sanghar, Sukkur and Larkana from Monday to Wednesday," a weather advisory by the department said.

"Heavy rainfall may generate urban flooding/water logging in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta and Badin from Monday to Tuesday. Heavy downpour may generate flash flooding in hill torrents of Kalat, Khuzdar and Lasbela during the period," it said.

The Met office also predicted rain-thundershowers with isolated heavy falls in Lasbela, Khuzdar, Awaran, Barkhan, Zhob, Musa Khel, Loralai, Kohlu and Sibi during Monday and Tuesday.

"Widespread rain/wind-thundershowers (with few heavy falls) are expected in Kashmir, Islamabad, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa and Gilgit-Baltistan from Tuesday to Thursday.

"Heavy rainfall may generate urban flooding in Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan, Haripur, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Jhelum, Sialkot, Hafizabad, Sargodha, Lahore and Faisalabad on Wednesday and Thursday and may trigger landslides in the vulnerable areas of Kashmir, GB and KP," the department said, urging all authorities concerned to remain alert.

"There is a prediction of rain because of the system present in Sindh and Rajasthan and the humidity in the Arabian Gulf," Met director Abdul Qayyum Bhutto said.

He forecast heavy winds and rain in the provincial capital, Karachi, for the next three days, adding that the metropolis, in particular, could experience thunder and heavy rains today and tomorrow.

"There is a danger of urban flooding in Sindh and Karachi," he said, adding that the province could see between 100–150mm of rain combined during this period.

Read: Monsoon floods expose blockages in Karachi's drains — and politics

Last week's monsoon spell, the fifth one of the season, brought devastation to Karachi once again, claiming the lives of at least seven citizens and inundating roads in various parts of the city.

According to the Met department, the highest amount of rainfall, 185.7mm, was recorded in Surjani Town where people had to be evacuated after the rainwater flooded their homes.

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

During the fourth spell earlier this month, at least nine people died in separate incidents in the city. Seven of the deceased lost their lives due to electrocution, while two minor boys died from drowning while swimming in accumulated rainwater, according to officials and rescue services.

Karachi has a network of 550 storm-water drains which zig-zag through the metropolis and flow out into the Arabian Sea, but many are obstructed by illegal construction, waste and sludge.

The city's infrastructure is struggling to cope with heavy monsoon rains, as seen this year.

Sardar Sarfaraz, Karachi head of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, said rainfall of as little as 50mm (two inches) could cause urban flooding in some of Karachi's low-lying areas, with the most recent downpour easily exceeding that across the city.

Meanwhile, the coordination committee comprising representatives of the federal and Sindh governments in its first formal meeting on Saturday decided to remove ‘soft encroachments’ from Karachi’s major stormwater drains.

Federal minister Asad Umar told Dawn after the meeting. “It was decided that the Karachi commissioner and NDMA [National Disaster Management Authority] will jointly launch an operation to remove all soft encroachments from storm-water drains and make it clean.”