• Karachi reports 11 deaths as fresh spells bring misery for citizens
• Four killed in Balochistan, Hub Bridge among three washed away
• Army, rescuers put on high alert in Pindi
QUETTA / KARACHI: As authorities scrambled to mitigate the impacts of a torrential spell of monsoon rains, which has inundated cities and prompted flash floods across the country, at least 18 more people became victims of the deluge which washed away bridges and submerged houses and markets.
Due to incessant rain and subsequent accumulation of water, protests against administration officials erupted in several areas of Sindh against hours-long power outages and inundation of residential areas as they complained that officials were nowhere to be found.
Like the weekend, Monday also spelt misery for the citizens of Karachi. Though the fresh spell of the current monsoon season had weakened in Karachi, it still claimed 11 more lives in a single day: five people lost their lives due to electrocution, while six persons drowned.
Though several key roads were cleared by the administration after hours-long efforts in the city by the sea, life remained miserable in several low-lying areas, residential neighbourhoods, housing societies and commercial centres which remained flooded.
The rain, which started early on Sunday continued to come down till 10am with frequent breaks and by the end of first half of the day the city had received up to 204-millimetre rain.
The Met Office said that though the system took a break on Tuesday, it was likely to persist for at least two more days.
“The system is very much there. The latest data analysis suggests that the rain will continue for another two days. We may see moderate to heavy rains in Karachi and lower Sindh areas till late July 27,” said Sardar Sarfraz of the Met Office.
Due to the heavy downpour, Monday had already been declared a holiday for the citizens of Karachi and Hyderabad.
In Hyderabad, a 20-year-old man was reported dead in village Baqar Nizamani of Tando Mohammad Khan district.
In Dadu and Khairpur Mirs, two persons were killed and 10 others were injured in rain-related incidents.
Large swathes of land came under water as rain flooded streets and inundated standing crops in villages of the coastal districts of Thatta and Sujawal. The deluge also suspended traffic between Karachi and Badin as water accumulated on the national highway passing through the Thatta district.
The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and the highway authorities managed to open one track for traffic after prolonged efforts to restore the traffic flow. According to official information, the Thatta district received 220 millimetre of rain this season.
In the coastal talukas of Ghorabari and Mirpur Sakro, hundreds of acres of agricultural land was submerged after a riverine stream started overflowing due to rain. The water level in Keenjhar Lake also witnessed an increase due to rainfall.
Due to the accumulation of water in several parts of the district, people from Thatta, Ketibandar, Ghorabari and other areas of the coastline converged on the national highway to protest the suspension of power and inundation of localities.
Dadu, with its streets submerged under 3 feet of water, presented a picture of a canal. The inundation resulted in power outages which caused a shortage of drinking water in the city. Mehar, Khairpur Nathan Shah and Johi towns of the district presented a similar picture.
Due to continuing downpours, rainwater could not be drained out in Jamshoro, Kotri, Sann and Bhan Syedabad towns where low-lying areas were inundated.
Various parts of Shaheed Benazirabad district, including Nawabshah, Daur, Daulatpur, Bandhi, Sakrand and Kazi Ahmed towns, received heavy downpour on Monday.
The third spell of monsoon rains wreaked havoc in various parts of Balochistan, washing away at least two bridges on the Quetta-Karachi National Highway – Landa Dora near Bela and Danda area of Uthal – and resulting in the death of four people in Khuzdar and Lasbela.
In addition, a section of the Hub Bridge, which connects Sindh and Balochistan, was washed away in a heavy flash flood late on Monday, cutting off Hub from Karachi.
“A 4km portion of the highway linking Quetta to Karachi is submerged due to floods,” a senior official of the local administration confirmed to Dawn. He said that one child drowned, while another man was killed in the Jam colony in the Bela area. Two more deaths were reported in Khuzdar’s Wadh tehsil in a roof collapse.
Officials in the Sibi district said that though the rain stopped for the last two days rivers passing through Sibi were still carrying high floods as their catchment areas were receiving heavy rains in Ziarat, Harnai, Loralai and Qila Saifullah districts.
Heavy rains were also reported in Bolan and Nasirabad districts.
The Bolan River in the Kachhi district was also carrying flood water that put pressure on the Quetta-Sukkur highway near the Dhadar area which suspended traffic on the highway for at least 10 hours.
“Landslides were also reported in some areas of Bolan pass due to heavy rains at the mountains,” official sources said, adding that the boulders were removed from the road and traffic was restored.
Similarly, the Hub Dam was receiving heavier torrents as the catchment areas of the dam received heavy rains over the last 24 hours. The spillway was seen overflowing as the dam was releasing over 150,000 cusecs of water into the Hub River.
Punjab has received 150 per cent more rain so far as compared to the last monsoon, according to Provincial Disaster Management Authority Director General Faisal Farid. However, he ruled out the possibility of flooding in the province.
Meanwhile, the downpour submerged parts of Rawalpindi as rainwater entered shops and houses destroying property worth millions. Leh Nullah rose to 15 feet at Gowalmandi and Kattarian bridges.
The rain varying from light to heavy forced the local administration to turn on the flood sirens as a warning sign for dwellers along the banks of the nullah to move to secure places.
The army was put on alert and the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA), Rescue 1122, Civil Defence Department and health department called their officials to deal with any emergency. “The army was not called, but put on alert to deal with any emergency,” Deputy Commissioner Tahir Farooq told Dawn.
Downtown, the rainwater submerged motorcycles and cars parked on the main roads of Mochi Bazaar, Bohar Bazaar, Sadiqabad, and Jamia Masjid Road.
In other parts of Punjab, at least 22 villages of Rajanpur and 13 in Mianwali districts were flooded due to rain in the mountainous areas of Sulaiman Range, the PDMA added.
Meanwhile, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, over 260 persons were rescued from the low-lying villages located along the River Kabul after the river overflowed and entered several localities late on Sunday and Monday.
On the other hand, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) also issued a low to medium flood alert for the districts of Haripur, Swabi and Nowshera districts in anticipation of the opening of the Tarbela Dam spillways.
Rescue 1122 spokesperson Bilal Ahmed Faizi said river water entered houses in Wazir Killay, Bela Mohmandan, Parchavay and Shah Alam Pul. He said that a total of 261 people, including 225 people from the Bela Mohmandan area, were rescued. Also on Monday, another 36 people were rescued from the Shah Alam area in light of flooding in the river.
Mohammad Hussain Khan in Hyderabad, Imtiaz Ali in Karachi, Aamir Yasin in Rawalpindi, Qurban Ali Khushik in Dadu, and Ghulam Hussain Khawaja from Thatta also contributed to this report.
Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2022