The Government of Sindh has declared Monday (July 25) as a public holiday in Karachi and Hyderabad division after moderate to heavy rain lashed both the cities on Sunday, with more downpours expected over the next 48 hours.
The announcement was made by Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon after at least three people died in Karachi due to rain-related incidents.
Memon said the decision was taken as it had been raining since 5 in the morning. He also requested the private sector to close their offices.
Meanwhile, police surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed told Dawn.com that the body of a 40-year-old man was brought from the city's Lea Market near Memon Masjid to Civil Hospital Karachi. The cause of death was electrocution, she added.
Syed said that in another similar incident, a 17-year old died from an electric shock in Liaquatabad-5 near Sheesh Mahal.
In another incident, a 35-year-old suffered an electric shock while charging his mobile phone in Taiser Town and died, according to Surjani Town Station House Officer Haji Sanaullah.
The highest amount of rainfall received during the last 24 hours was in Quaidabad (95.9mm), followed by Surjani Town (82.3mm), Keamari (79mm), Gulshan-i-Hadeed (78mm), PAF Masroor base (77mm), DHA Phase 2 (70.5mm), Saddar (62mm), North Karachi (60mm), Orangi Town (57.5mm), PAF Faisal base (51mm), Nazimabad (50mm), Gadap Town (49.6mm), Korangi (44.4mm), Saadi Town (39.6mm), Gulshan-i-Maymar (36.9mm), University Road (36.8mm), old airport area (33mm) and Jinnah Terminal (32mm), data from the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) showed.
Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab said it had been raining "nonstop" since early morning and had recently picked up strength. He requested people to avoid unnecessary movement, adding that the entire administration was on the ground and relief operations would start as soon as the downpour stopped.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the traffic police said the Korangi Causeway was closed for traffic due to accumulated water. The spokesperson added that KPT, Submarine Chowrangi and Mehran hotel underpasses were closed for traffic as well, due to inundation of rainwater.
A day earlier, Wahab had shared images of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah visiting different parts of the metropolitan city to oversee rain preparations and work on cleaning the stormwater drains.
"The entire administration will be in [the] field to ensure that rainwater is drained out," the Karachi administrator had assured.
Meanwhile, the K-Electric (KE) spokesperson said that the power utility had received reports of rainfall in different parts of the city.
In a series of tweets, he urged citizens to be careful when using electrical appliances and to maintain a safe distance from billboards, electricity poles and under-construction buildings in case of strong wind.
He warned that the power supply in low-lying areas may be interrupted due to the accumulation of rainwater.
"KE staff is constantly monitoring the situation and on alert," he said, adding that citizens could register their complaints on 118 helpline.
Karachi police on alert
Separately, Additional Inspector General of Police Javed Odho directed all field commanders to remain within their areas during the rainfall.
Officers posted in the operations and traffic department were directed to remain in their assigned areas, a handout issued by Karachi police said.
The Special Security Unit was also instructed to remain on standby to assist the Rain Emergency Unit in helping citizens.
"Police vehicles on patrol have been instructed to carry the necessary equipment needed to help vehicles stuck in rainwater," the statement said, adding that officials had been told to remain in touch with the administration to ensure assistance.
In case of an emergency, citizens can contact the 15 helpline and get traffic updates by dialing 1915, the statement concluded.
Separately, a statement issued by the Karachi traffic police spokesperson said heavy rains were predicted in Karachi by the met department and the traffic police would remain engaged in serving the public.
It said the deputy inspector general of police had put the traffic police on high alert and personnel were present on the roads to help citizens.
"More than 30 recovery vehicles and over 30 patrol vehicles are present for public assistance and rescue operations at important roads and places," the statement said.
Widespread rain, thunderstorms expected
In the latest weather advisory issued on Sunday, the PMD said strong monsoon currents "continually penetrate in Sindh since last night" and would prevail till July 26-27.
"Under the influence of this weather system, widespread rain-wind/thunderstorms with scattered heavy/very heavy falls (extremely heavy at times) are likely in Tharparker, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Thatta, Sujawal, Tando M Khan, Tando Allayar, Hyderabad, Matiari, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Jacobabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Shikarpur, Qambar Shahdadkot, Ghotki and Kashmore districts and Karachi division from today to July 26-27," the PMD said.
The department warned that heavy rainfall could result in urban flooding/waterlogging in low-lying areas of Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Tharparker, Tando M Khan, Tando Allayar, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Dadu, Jamshoro, Kambar Shahdadkot, Larkana and Sukkur during the forecast period.
"Strong winds may damage vulnerable and loose structures. Persistent heavy spell over Khuzdar, Lasbela, Hub and along Kirthar Range may create pressure on Hub Dam and flash Flooding in Dadu and Jamshoro districts," it added.
The monsoon season in Pakistan this year has wreaked havoc in Sindh and Balochistan. Earlier, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said that rains in the provinces have broken 30-year records.