KARACHI, June 24: The death toll from driving rains and gale-force winds that battered the city on Saturday evening rose to 200 on Sunday.

While the Edhi Foundation, which provided more relief to the rain victims than the local administration, insisted that more than 200 people had died in rain-related accidents since Saturday evening, high-ranking government officials gave conflicting figures of the toll.

Karachi Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal said that “till now 65 persons have been reported killed as a result of the rain.”

Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad issued a press statement on Sunday night, saying that torrential rains had claimed the lives of 66 people.

However, the Provincial Health Minister, Sardar Ahmed, told Reuters news agency that the total number of people killed because of rains was 228.

“These deaths are caused by electrocution, falling trees, house collapses and road accidents,” he said.

“Around 200 people have died from rain-related incidents while 12 bodies that we received during 12 hours are not rain-related deaths,” Rizwan Kazmi of the Edhi Foundation told Dawn.

He said that space had to be created in the morgue – which had a capacity of 300 bodies -- by carrying out burials of older corpses in order to accommodate the incoming bodies.

Mr Kazmi confirmed that Special Secretary of the Health Department Dr Abdul Majid, and a magistrate had visited the morgue.

While the city government announced a compensation package for heirs of the rain victims, few measures were taken to bring to book those whose hoardings, blown down by gale-force winds on Saturday evening, claimed lives of scores of people.

On Sunday, three cases pertaining to deaths caused by falling hoardings were registered. Two cases were registered with the Defence Police Station while one was registered with the Frere Police Station.

While Karachi was lashed by driving rains also on Sunday, Met Office announced that the ongoing rain spell would not end anytime soon.

The Director-General of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Dr Qamaruzzaman Chaudhry, said that another weather system was developing in the Arabian Sea and in the next two to three days it would intensify and might move in a north-westerly direction, causing widespread heavy to moderate rains along the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan.

The pre-monsoon rains and storm dealt a debilitating blow to fragile and ill-maintained transmission and distribution system of the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation.

The power utility, which does not work well in the best of times, had failed to restore electricity in most city areas – in some cases the outages continued for more than 30 hours.

Enraged people blocked the Super Highway in protest against prolonged blackouts. Gulshan Town Police Officer SP Noman Siddiqui told Dawn that a boy lost his life to a stray bullet when power riots spilled over to a neighbouring locality.

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