Karachiites full of dread as city sees first spell of monsoon rain

Published July 12, 2021
The first day of the week brought a brief reprieve from the heat for Karachiites as the city woke up to the year's first spell of monsoon rainfall. — DawnNewsTV
The first day of the week brought a brief reprieve from the heat for Karachiites as the city woke up to the year's first spell of monsoon rainfall. — DawnNewsTV

The first day of the week brought a brief reprieve from the heat for Karachiites as the city woke up to the year's first spell of monsoon rainfall. However, for many it brought back painful memories of last year's disastrous rains.

In pictures: Torrential rain floods Karachi, shatters records

The rain claimed the life of a young boy in Alfalah society. SHO Rashid Din said that Hammad was riding his bicycle when he encountered rainwater that had accumulated on the street. During this, he touched an electricity pole and was electrocuted, the official said.

The unexpected rainfall became the talk of the town as #Monsoon2021 and #KarachiRain started trending on Twitter.

"Thank you #KarachiRain. I think we have had enough for the season already. Please take it easy now," said one citizen.

Another prayed for everyone to stay safe.

Federal Minister for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi took the opportunity to criticise the Sindh government.

"The federal government has done and is doing all it can to help the useless and corrupt provincial Sindh government, who for years failed to clean the storm drains and pick up trash. Hope we don’t drown in our own garbage once again," he said.

Data from the meteorological department showed that during the last 24 hours, Gulshan-i-Hadeed received the highest amount of rainfall (17mm), followed by PAF Faisal Base (5.0mm), University Road Met Complex (4.3mm), North Karachi (4.2mm), Landhi (4.0mm), Sadi Town (3.6mm), Jinnah Terminal (3.2mm), MOS - Old Area Airport (3.0mm), Surjani (2.8mm), PAF Masroor Base (1.0mm) and Nazimabad (1.0mm).

People's anxiety over the rainfall was compounded by power outages across the city. The city's power utility company, K-Electric, said it had received reports of outages from multiple parts of Karachi, adding that it was "monitoring the situation".

"Power supply to city remains intact. A few parts of Baldia, Surjani, Clifton and DHA are currently facing outage with Gadap being most affected. Currently supply from approximately 500 feeders remains affected whereas 1,400 feeders are operational. Supply to Dhabeji was restored on priority," the company said in an update shared at 8:30am.

Meanwhile, the rainfall also affected traffic in the city, Traffic police urged people to drive carefully, adding that officials were monitoring the situation in order to keep citizens informed. The statement added that citizens could call the 1915 helpline for queries and concerns.

Intermittent rains till July 16

In a video statement, Pakistan Meteorological Department's Karachi head Sardar Sarfaraz said that the department had earlier predicted that the monsoon season would begin from July 15.

"However, there was a chance of [rainfall] happening before that," he said, adding that chances of light rain and drizzle had been predicted. He said most areas had received light rain, save for a few including Gulshan-i-Hadeed.

Commenting on the weather outlook for the next 24 hours, the official said it would remain cloudy in most areas with intermittent light rainfall. He said light to moderate rainfall could be expected at night as well.

Sarfaraz said this weather system, comprising light to moderate rainfall, would prevail for the next three to four days with intermittent spells.

"As per the latest weather situation, monsoon currents of moderate intensity are penetrating lower Sindh from north Arabian Sea and under its influence intermittent light/moderate rain is likely to continue till July 16 in Karachi," the official added.

Sindh govt springs into action

Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab directed the authorities concerned to ensure that water does not accumulate in low-lying areas.

"Water is being drained from busy highways," he said in a statement, adding that water had not accumulated around Wazir Mansion in Kharadar. Wahab said that efforts were under way to ensure citizens don't face any difficulties during the rainfall, adding that the local administration was on ground to assist citizens.

Taking to Twitter, Wahab said that the municipal and administrative staff was doing its best to clear rainwater. "I have travelled around the city and the situation appears to be under control and traffic is also normal so far," he said.

Sindh Minister for Local Government, Housing, Town Planning and Information Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that the Met department had not predicted any rainfall for Monday. "Traditionally, the Met department informs the provincial government and the relevant departments," he lamented.

The minister also urged all local bodies across the province to mobilise resources and to ensure water is drained from low-lying areas.

Last year, record-breaking torrential rainfall had paralysed life in the metropolis and claimed more than 20 lives across the province. The monsoon spell had laid bare the poor state of Karachi's infrastructure as several areas remained submerged under rainwater for days. The flooding also damaged vehicles and property.

Angered by the lack of preparedness and response by the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC), residents had filed a petition in the Sindh High Court against both bodies for their "abject failure to perform basic duties".

In September 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan had also unveiled a "historic" financial package worth Rs1.1 trillion for Karachi's transformation to address the chronic municipal and infrastructure issues of the country's financial hub.

Rainfall reported across country

Other parts of the country, including part of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, were also left scrambling for an umbrella due to monsoon showers.

In Punjab, the highest amount of rainfall was reported by Sialkot city (193mm), followed by Sialkot cantt (107mm), Jhelum (98mm), Gujrat (66mm), Mandi Bahauddin (50mm), Gujranwala (49mm), Lahore airport (32.6mm), Sargodha city (27.6mm), Murree (21mm), Sargodha airport (20mm), Lahore city (18.4mm), Narowal (3.8mm) and Mangla (7mm).

In KP, the provincial Met department predicted mostly hot, humid and partly cloudy weather in the province over the next 24 hours.

However, rain with thunderstorm (isolated heavy rainfall) and strong gusty winds are expected in Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Torghar, Buner, Swat, Shangla, Lower and Upper Dir, Malakand, Bajaur, Swabi, Mardan, Nowshera, Peshawar, Charsadda, Mohmand, Khyber, Kohat, Hangu, Karak, Kurram, Orakzai, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, North and South Waziristan, Tank and Dera Ismail Khan districts, the department said.

Heavy rain may generate flash flooding and may trigger landsliding in the vulnerable areas of the province, the department warned.

The highest amount of rainfall was recorded in Saidu Sharif (110mm), Malam Jabba (50mm), Balakot (39mm), Buner (33mm), Timergara (20mm), Kakul (18mm), Parachinar (8mm), Dir (6mm), Mirkhani (6mm), Besham (5mm) and Pattan (1mm).

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, two children were killed while another was injured in rain-related incidents. A house was also partially damaged in Lower Dir.


Additional input by Imran Gabol and Sirajuddin

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