Three children among four dead as ‘unexpected’ downpour lashes Karachi

Published June 23, 2022
Rainfall in Karachi on Wednesday. — Photo via Twitter
Rainfall in Karachi on Wednesday. — Photo via Twitter
People returning home from the city business district find themselves stuck in a massive traffic jam on M.A. Jinnah Road at evening rush hour following the heavy rains on Wednesday. —Online
People returning home from the city business district find themselves stuck in a massive traffic jam on M.A. Jinnah Road at evening rush hour following the heavy rains on Wednesday. —Online

KARACHI: Four persons were killed in three rain-related incidents in different parts of the city on Wednesday when the ‘unexpected’ downpour of the pre-monsoon season lashed the metropolis, inundating roads and leaving many areas without electricity for hours.

The rain also broke the days-long spell of hot, humid and suffocating weather and turned the weather conditions pleasant.

The sudden and brief spell of heavy showers also took the Meteorological officials by surprise as they were not expecting the clouds to burst by evening.

“We released a long-range forecast about a week, or two, ago mentioning chances of rains in Karachi on June 22,” said Sardar Muhammad Sarfaraz, director of the Met office.

Many areas remained without electricity for hours; city receives 38mm rainfall

“But the situation changed so fast over the weekend and new models took over that the chance of any rain in Karachi today [Wednesday] almost came to an end,” he said, adding: “However, it all started little after 3pm or 4pm when a new system of pre-monsoon season developed in Bela and Sonmiani [Balochistan]. Usually such systems evaporate within short spell of time, but it moved to Karachi and turned into rain.”

The rains mostly subsided by 8pm in most parts of the city except reports of random and scattered drizzling in a few areas.

The highest count of rain, 38 millimetre, was reported in Nazimabad followed by Airport that received 22mm of rainfall.

In other observatories of the Met office, the rain count remained below 10mm. The Met office recorded winds blowing up to 49 knot per hour.

Wall, roof collapse incidents

Although the quantity of rainfall remained low to moderate, it came with thunder and strong winds that made the downpour so powerful which brought about damage to some extent.

Trees were uprooted in several parts of the city and vulnerable structures also fell down in some areas.

In Jamshed Town, the same kind of incident claimed live of two boys.

Jamshed Town SP Captain Saddam Husain said that some children were playing in a street in Ashraf Colony of Mehmoodabad when a wall, whose structure was apparently weakened due to rain, collapsed. Four children came under the debris. They were rescued and taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre where two of them pronounced dead on arrival.

The deceased were identified as Dileep Kumar, 13, and Piyosh Shambo. Two other boys namely Rahul and Gatu were injured.

A six-year-old boy, identified as Saim, also lost life when the roof his Millat Town home in Shah Faisal Colony collapsed.

A 50-year-old man, identified as Tariq, met the same fate in Gulshan-i- Ayesha near Mausamyat due to collapse of the roof of his house.

Prolonged power outages

The power supply crisis on the other hand, which was already testing the patience of Karachiites, further deepened after the rains.

Almost all parts of the city suffered the electricity breakdown minutes after the rain.

Though the power utility, K-Electric, claimed to have brought the operation almost to normal after the rains subsided, residents of dozens of areas of the city came up with complaints about power outages.

“Out of 1,900 feeders, 1,650 are operating normally,” claimed a KE spokesman.

He said that technical teams of the power utility were working round the clock to fix faults in the areas reported by the consumers.

However, till late in the night power supply to a number of areas of the metropolis could not be restored.

Earlier in the day, the power utility carried out unannounced loadshedding in several parts of the city during the hot and humid weather. Even students appearing for their intermediate exams had to take their papers without electricity in various centres.

Multiple protests were also held against the KE in different parts of the city as enraged residents and traders lit bonfires and chanted slogans against the management of the KE.

While the city administration claimed to have controlled the drainage situation to a large extent by taking immediate action, several roads and streets were submerged with rainwater till late in the night.

Meanwhile, Karachi Administrator Barrister Murtaza Wahab said the effective planning well before rains and recent development works were the key reasons that no adverse impact of the heavy rains was witnessed in the city.

“We have cleaned up almost all the drains, made new arrangements for district Central where the Green Line project had created problem and set up teams for all districts. So we have mobilised all our manpower, put in place all available resources and are trying the best possible coordination with other institutions to meet the challenge,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022

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