Lightning kills villager as rains lash several districts in southern Sindh

Published June 16, 2023
Amjad Khan, 48, a boat maker, walks with the rain clouds in the background, before the arrival of cyclonic storm, Biparjoy, over the Arabian Sea, in Karachi, Pakistan on June 15. — Reuters
Amjad Khan, 48, a boat maker, walks with the rain clouds in the background, before the arrival of cyclonic storm, Biparjoy, over the Arabian Sea, in Karachi, Pakistan on June 15. — Reuters

MIRPURKHAS/THATTA: Light-ning killed a villager as scattered spells of light to moderate spells of rain lashed parts of Mirpurkhas, Thatta, Sujawal and Badin districts on Wednesday night and Thursday under the influence of cyclone Biparjoy. Some areas of Karachi also experienced drizzle.

Most parts of Mirpurkhas district received a 30-minute spell of moderate rain coupled with a thunderstorm and strong winds. The spell was followed by intermittent showers that continued into late Thursday evening.

It was the second spell of moderate rain in the district within two days. On Wednesday, strong winds swept through the urban and rural areas of Mirpurkhas district before a 30-minute spell of rain lashed almost the entire district. The winds caused considerable damage to thatched houses in the rural areas.

In Wednesday’s rain, low-lying areas of Mirpurkhas city and towns including Digri, Mirwah Gorchani, Jhuddo, Naokot, Kot Ghulam Mohammad, Sindhri and Hingorno were flooded while roads and streets were also inundated. The fresh spell aggravated the situation forcing people to remain indoors.

All markets, bazaars and commercial areas remained closed for a second consecutive day due to urban flooding. Vehicular traffic on intercity routes and within the city and towns also remained thin.

Due to the poor drainage system, sewage flooded roads and streets of Nat Para, Mohajir Colony, Hirabad, Lalchand Abad, Gharibabad, Mir Allah Bachayo Colony, Walkart, Scheme No.II, Satellite Town, Bhansingh Abad, Rajar Colony, Pak Colony, Ghousia Colony, Nawab Colony, Al Imran Town and other localities of Mirpurkhas city.

The back-to-back spells of rains, however, turned the otherwise extremely hot weather pleasant.

A villager, Maghu Kolhi, sustained serious burns when lightning struck a spot in Ghulam Nabi Leghari village near Jhuddo town during rainfall on Thursday.

The man was working in fields when the lightning struck a nearby spot. Maghu Kolhi was being taken to a hospital near the village but he died on the way.

Coastal villages battered by downpour, flooding

In many coastal villages of Thatta and Sujawal districts, high tides triggered by cyclone Biparjoy caused damage to many thatched houses while seawater penetrated into several settlements of fishermen amid widespread downpour coupled with strong winds on Wednesday night and Thursday.

All water bodies in the region started overflowing and aggravating the flooding situation.

Although most residents of the affected villages and settlement had been evacuated, several hundred of the remaining ones were found trapped in deluges.

Army and Rangers personnel were assisting the district administrations, volunteers and staff of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority in the relief and rescue operations.

Karachi receives showers

Several parts of the city received light rain on Thursday under the influence of Biparjoy, which made a landfall in the evening.

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) data, the maximum rainfall (5mm) was recorded in Quaidabad followed by Jinnah Terminal (4.4mm), Met Office University Road (4.2mm), Airport old area (4mm), Saadi Town and Gulshan-i-Hadeed (3mm each) and PAF Base Faisal (1mm).

PAF Base Masroor, Orangi Town, DHA Phase II, Surjani Town and Keamari received only traces.

According to the department’s advisory released at 7:40pm on Thursday, the very severe cyclonic storm over northeast Arabian Sea had moved north-northeastward over the last six hours.

“It’s located at a distance of about 230km south of Karachi, 235km south of Thatta and 155km south-southwest of Keti Bundar. The maximum speed of sustained surface winds ranged between 120-140kmph gusting to 150kmph around the system centre,” said the advisory.

The department has forecast dust storm/thunderstorm and rain with a few heavy falls, accompanied by squally winds of 60-80kmph in Karachi, Hyderabad, Tando Mohammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Shaheed Benazirabad and Sanghar districts on Friday (today).

Around 78,000 shifted to relief camps: Sharjeel

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that residents of the areas affected by the influence of the cyclone have been shifted to relief camps. He advised people not to go to the coastline of the city and urged them to cooperate with government agencies by following their instructions.

Speaking at a press conference at Sindh Assembly, he said that the Rescue 1122 was prepared to handle any emergency situation. Additional machines to drain water had been procured, he said.

Tomorrow (today), heavy rainfall is expected, he said, and added that emergency contact numbers have been provided to the general public.

Mr Memon shared an update on the situation with the media, stating that over 78,000 people had been evacuated from the coastal areas of Thatta, Badin, and Sajawal; about 93 per cent of the population in these areas had been shifted to safe locations. Although water has entered some settlements in the coastal areas, government’s timely arrangements have helped minimise significant damage, according to him.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2023

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