KARACHI, Aug 2: The city suffered worst traffic jams in almost every part of it as the roads remained submerged by rainwater for the third consecutive day on Wednesday.
Major markets and shopping centers wore a deserted look as rainwater and sewage remained stagnant in many localities.
Shopkeepers waited for customers for the day and many of them pulled down shutters much before their scheduled closing time. A number of shops in Saddar even did not open, while attendance remained thin in government and private sector offices.
The lanes and streets in several localities, including Afghan Khaima Basti, Nusrat Bhutto Colony, Gulberg, Federal B Area, North Karachi, Buffer Zone, Maulan Kausar Niazi Colony, Gulbahar, Baldia Town, Site, Manghopir Road, Malir, Model Colony, Malir City, Garden, Soldier Bazaar, Old Zabsi Mandi, remained inundated.
As traffic either stood standstill or crawled along, many people preferred to walk miles to reach their destinations.
Madiha Syed, an employee of a private firm working at an I. I. Chundrigarh Road office, said: "After being caught in a traffic jam near Habib Bank Plaza for 20 minutes, I had no option but to leave the auto-rickshaw and walk all the way from there. At least this way I managed to do my work for the day."
Rainwater could not be drained out from Sharea Faisal, I. I Chundrigarh Road, Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road, Clifton Road, Gulberg Road, Shahrah-i-Pakistan and other major arteries of the city, though the city received only 6mm rain on Wednesday. There was 1mm rain on Tuesday.
“The whole city would have been flooded and there would have been at least knee-deep water all around, if there had been more rain during the past two days,” a man who was stuck in traffic jam near Nursery, remarked.
The inundated streets and lanes also adversely affected the daily wagers. A number of labourers were seen sitting near the Fresco Chowk, Burnes Road. “I haven’t had any work for the past three days,” said one of them.
Traffic police appeared to have failed to prepare a rain emergency traffic plan in advance so that vehicular flow could be kept uninterrupted during rains.
“Perhaps, the traffic police could not just identify the areas where rainwater accumulates,” Mohammed Umer remarked while pulling his motorbike through the stagnant water in front of the Saddar Electronic Market.
Many vehicles were seen stranded as the authorities did not take any measures to retrieve them from roads. “The traffic police seem to have not chalked out a traffic diversion plan for citizens in case of traffic jams during rains,” said a motorist who was seeking help from passersby for pushing his out-of-order Suzuki FX.
Even the parts of Sharea Faisal, which has been declared as a model road with some 500 traffic police personnel deputed to ensure a smooth flow of traffic, remained clogged and the vehicles crawled bumper-to-bumper.
“Thank God, schools are closed for vacation, otherwise this situation would have taken us nowhere,” a teacher remarked.
Nonetheless, the Pakistan Meteorological Department came up with good news and said the worst was already over.
Chief weatherman Abdul Hameed told Dawn that the monsoon low pressure system which approached the region from central India two days ago was on its way out to Iran where it was expected to die out. “The system has almost passed on and it is about to head towards eastern Balochistan in the next 12 hours,” he added.
He, however, said the normal coastal clouds would remain there to drizzle in coming days.
The minimum and maximum temperatures recorded on Wednesday were 26 and 29 degrees centigrade with 92 per cent humidity. North Karachi received a maximum of 6.6mm rainfall followed by PAF Masroor Base (6mm), University Road (5.4mm), Garden (2mm), Airport (1.7mm) and PAF Faisal Base (1 mm).