Death toll rises to 11 as Karachi reels from devastating rain, urban flooding

Updated 27 Aug 2020

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Efforts to provide succour to rain-hit families seem too short of what is demanded by the city situation. Organisations feeding the poor need better organise their work — PPI/Shakil Adil/White Star
Efforts to provide succour to rain-hit families seem too short of what is demanded by the city situation. Organisations feeding the poor need better organise their work — PPI/Shakil Adil/White Star

KARACHI: The death toll from the devastation caused by Tuesday’s rain in the metropolis reached 11 as bodies of five drowning victims were found on Wednesday.

Several parts of the city received light rain as the weather system persisting since Aug 21 lost its intensity after causing widespread rain across Karachi.

On Tuesday, four people were killed and many went missing as the heaviest spell of the current monsoon season played havoc on the ill-maintained sewerage and sanitation system suspending daily life in many neighbourhoods, where rainwater could not be drained out even after 24 hours.

Five of the missing persons found dead while two more persons were killed in the city on Wednesday.

The Edhi Foundation feared that several people were still missing and chances of their survival were very thin.

Many areas receive light rain; rainwater yet to be drained from low-lying areas

The body of Noman, 18, was recovered from the Malir river on Wednesday. He drowned on Tuesday along with around 30 to 35 persons who all were rescued and saved.

The Shah Latif Town police found the body of Amjad Masih, who drowned in a “dam” in Malir on Tuesday.

Area SHO Ubaidullah Khan said 20-year old Abdul Rehman drowned while swimming in the Sukhan Nadi on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Edhi Foundation that the body of Noman Alam, 35, drowned in a stream in Shah Faisal Colony-2 on Tuesday night was recovered on Wednesday by Edhi divers.

Three children drowned in the Malir river near Samoo Goth on Tuesday. Body of five-year-old Sumera was found on Wednesday.

An 11-year-old boy drowned in a storm-water drain in SITE-B area.

A 48-year-old man died when he suffered an electric shock in Ayub Goth.

Data compiled by deputy commissioners concerned said that total 30 people died in rain-related incidents in Karachi from July 6 to Aug 25.

It said 14 persons died from electrocution, 10 died in wall/roof collapse incidents, three drowned and two died of other causes.

Faisal Edhi rescued

Fishermen rescued Faisal Edhi and five others when their boat ventured into the open sea from the Malir river near Korangi Causeway and capsized.

“We came to know about eight persons including women and children reportedly drowned in the Malir river near Korangi Causeway due to heavy rains,” Mr Edhi told Dawn. “We immediately launched a rescue operation on a boat but we mistakenly came to sea from Do Darya near Seaview. Our boat capsized due to the impact of heavy flow of water.”

EFFORTS to provide succour to rain-hit families seem too short of what is demanded by the city situation. Organisations feeding the poor need better organise their work—PPI/ Shakil Adil/White Star
EFFORTS to provide succour to rain-hit families seem too short of what is demanded by the city situation. Organisations feeding the poor need better organise their work—PPI/ Shakil Adil/White Star

He continued: “I along with [PTI] MPA Raja Azhar and four volunteers was rescued by fishermen of Ibrahim Hyderi. They brought us at Ibrahim Hyderi jetty. However, the missing persons are still untraceable.”

Army in action

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said more than 70 Army and Pakistan Rangers rescue and relief teams were assisting civil administration to provide relief to the people affected by rains.

It said besides rain in Karachi, downpour in Kirther Ranges led to the overflow of Lath and Thado dams. “Overflow from Lath dam struck Northern Bypass and also caused severe flooding in Malir river bank resulting water flow towards Quaidabad. Army engineers made a 200-metre-long and four-foot-high bund to avoid flooding of M9 [Karachi-Hyderabad motorway] and ensuring proper regulation of water.

“Three teams were deployed along Mehran drain to avoid its spill over to save KE grid station, Saadi town and Malir Cant. Relief and rescue teams are busy in shifting the people to safer places and being provided shelters.”

Key roads, markets and major city centres returned to normal life after nightlong relief operation by the local and provincial administration. Sharea Faisal, M. A. Jinnah Road, Shahrah-i-Pakisan, Shershah Suri Road, Korangi Expressway, I. I. Chundrigarh Road, University Road and Shahrah-e-Orangi were cleared of water by Wednesday morning.

However, life remained challenging in several residential blocks, low-lying areas and poor income neighbourhoods even after 24 hours of the rain as the streets remained flooded and many localities stayed submerged.

The power supply system also showed some improvement but many of those localities, where the electricity got disrupted due to some fault or snapped wires, were still waiting for its restoration.

The Sindh government, which declared rain emergency in the province after Tuesday’s spell, claimed to have met the challenge to a large extent and efforts were still underway to reach every corner of the metropolis.

“The people should not feel helpless as the Sindh government is on ground to solve their problems,” Sindh information minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said while visiting Malir and adjoining affected areas. “The recent rains in Sindh have proved to be many times more destructive than the previous rains,” he said.

Weather system losing intensity

The current weather system that caused recent heavy downpour that led to massive flooding in Karachi due to poor drainage has lost its intensity.

“It’s ending after reaching its peak on Tuesday. This happened after part of the system, which had developed intensity due to the merger of two low pressure areas, moved to the upper parts of Balochistan and the rest towards the Arabian Sea,” said met department spokesperson Sardar Sarfaraz.

The city would return to its normal cloudy weather, a hallmark of its monsoon season, by Thursday (today) afternoon, which would likely to continue till Aug 29.

On Wednesday from 8am to 5pm, the department recorded 3mm rain in Gulistan-i-Jauhar/University Road, 2.8mm in the Jinnah Terminal area, 2.1mm in the Old Airport area, 2mm Surjani town,1.2mm in Nazimabad, 0.2mm in North Karachi, 0.5mm in PAF Faisal Base and 0.6mm Saddar.

According to the met department, maximum temperature was 30.7 degrees Celsius with 78 per cent relative humidity in the morning.

The met department has forecast cloudy weather with chances of isolated thunderstorms/rain for Thursday. Temperature is likely to range between 32 degrees Celsius and 34 degrees Celsius.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2020