KARACHI: Strong dust-laden winds battered the city almost the entire day on Friday, significantly reducing visibility, causing accidents, damaging several structures that led to the death of at least three persons and breaking down electricity supplies in many localities.
Fallen trees, poles and signboards were seen in many parts of the city that remained covered in blowing dust and garbage.
Considering the city’s weather situation, Karachi University postponed its annual convocation scheduled for Saturday (today).
A Met official said that occasional gusty winds were likely to continue in the city, though with less intensity and mercury dropping to the single digit on Saturday (today).
Met office says occasional winds with less intensity to continue today; KU postpones convocation
Visibility dropped to 3 metre due to strong dusty winds that blew almost the entire day. The maximum wind speed at 35-40 nautical miles, or 64 to 74 kilometres, per hour was recorded at the Masroor Air Base.
“The winds were triggered by a steep pressure gradient prevailing in western Balochistan and Iran. The phenomenon developed due to a westerly low pressure weather system prevailing in the eastern parts of Balochistan and adjoining south and upper Sindh,” explained Dr Sardar Sarfaraz of the Met department.
The winds started blowing around 12.30 noon and peaked between 3pm and 4pm, he added.
The maximum wind speed tomorrow is likely to range between 20-25 nautical miles (37 to 46km per hour).
Wall collapse incidents leave four dead
Four persons, including a minor boy, were killed and as many others injured in separate incidents.
Taimuria SHO Abdul Rasheed said that a wall of the Taimuria Library collapsed in North Nazimabad’s Block-L near Five-Star traffic intersection at around 1.15pm killing 60-year old Ratan Bagh. The victim used to sell flowers in the area. The wall fell on him due to strong winds. The body was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities.
In Surjani Town, seven-year-old Abdul Rehman died in a wall collapse incident in Rahim Goth near Kaneez Fatima Society. The body was shifted to the ASH from where the relatives took it without allowing doctors to complete medico-legal formalities.
In Gulshan-i-Maymar, 50-year-old Rehmatullah, a labourer by profession, died when a wall collapsed because of strong winds. He came under the debris and died. The body was shifted to the ASH.
Another 58-year-old labourer, identified as Faqir Mohammad, died in the Sher Shah area. Police said he was working near Akbar Road when a wall of a house collapsed. He suffered critical injuries and died on way to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK).
In Mochko area, three persons suffered injuries when the roof of their house caved in on Suparco Road near Qabayal Masjid.
Abdul Ghafoor, 55, and his wife, Hameeda, 50, and Hurma Rauf, 18, suffered injuries. They were shifted to the CHK for treatment.
An unidentified man also suffered injuries when a wall collapsed in Indus Town off Superhighway.
Cold wave from today
The Met department predicted that a mild cold wave is likely to prevail over Sindh including Karachi from Saturday to Thursday (Jan 27) with night temperatures dropping to 8/9 degrees Celsius and 4-6 degrees Celsius in most cities of Sindh during the period.
“During this period, weather is likely to remain cloudy and there are chances of light rain in Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Larkana, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Shikarpur and Qambar-Shahdadkot. Dry weather with cold nights with misty/foggy mornings over the plain is likely to prevail elsewhere in the province,” the Provincial Disaster Management Authority stated in a separate advisory.
Meanwhile, the KU registrar stated that another date for the convocation would be announced soon.
Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2022