KARACHI, Aug 10: While at least 21 people were killed during the heavy rains that lashed the city on Friday with the rainfall over the two consecutive days estimated at over 159.4mm (6.27 inches), the Pakistan Meteorological Department predicts that the monsoon weather system over Sindh is weakening and the worst may be over.

Provincial health minister Sardar Ahmed confirmed that the bodies of 13 people killed in rain-related incidents were received at three government hospitals: the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Complex, the Civil Hospital Karachi and the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

However, the city’s ambulance services informed Dawn that a minimum of 17 people have been killed in the havoc wreaked by the monsoon rains. Of these, said the provincial minister, six persons were electrocuted and seven were killed as a result of collapsing roofs and walls in various parts of the city.

“The victims included five men and eight women,” he clarified. Independent investigations conducted by Dawn indicated that at least 21 people lost their lives in different incidents.

Meanwhile, 13 people who were marooned at a stone-crushing plant near the Northern Bypass were rescued by the Edhi Marine Service.

When contacted by the owner of the plant, six Edhi volunteers in two boats rescued the labourers during a four-hour long operation that was initiated at 12:30pm.

Unusually heavy rain

Despite the destruction caused by the rains, however, the citizens of Karachi were granted relief from the soaring temperatures of earlier weeks as the mercury dropped. The maximum temperature recorded on Friday was 28 degrees centigrade while the minimum was as low as 25 degrees centigrade, figures that are tempered to some extent by humidity levels of 92 per cent.

The past two days’ downpour is unusually high for August, since the city receives on the average about 60mm of rainfall in this month.

The wettest August ever experienced by the city was in 1979, when over 262mm of rain was measured. The record for the maximum rainfall within 24 hours in the eighth month was recorded the same year, when Karachi received 166mm of rain on August 7, 1979.

According to the director-general of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, the strong weather system that lay over Sindh on Thursday and Friday has now started weakening.

“It is expected to dissipate during the next 24 hours,” he informed Dawn. “Under its influence, scattered rains are still possible in southern Sindh, possibly even heavy at some places, but the worst is over for Sindh.”

He added that the monsoon weather system is unlikely to move towards Balochistan but the penetration of moist currents from Sindh may bring scattered to heavy rain in southern Balochistan, particularly along its coastal regions.

According to the met department forecast for today (Saturday), scattered rain and stormy winds are possible in southern Sindh, including Karachi.

Death toll rises

The two-day spell of rain has left tragedy in its wake. Three people were killed in Maripur when the roof of an under-construction warehouse caved in. The bodies of the victims, identified as Abdur Rehman, Munawwar and Asif, were taken to the Civil Hospital Karachi.

In a separate roof-collapse incident, two sisters – 15-year-old Shumaila and eight-year-old Muqaddas – were killed in Agra Taj Colony while their father and brother were injured.

Eight deaths were reported due to electrocution: Amjad in the Lines Area, Akber in Azizabad, a unidentified 10-year-old boy in Khawaja Ajmair Nagri, Akhtar in North Karachi, Abrar in Korangi, Binaat Bibi in Pirabad, Badshah Khan in Sohrab Goth and newspaper hawker Din Mohammed in Defence.

A 26-year-old woman, Sehar Naveed, was killed when she fell from a ladder in Malir Colony, while a man was killed when a truck overturned on the Super Highway and two people, identified as Salim Shaikh and Sharif, drowned in Hub River.

At least three people were reported killed in rain-related incidents during the late hours of Thursday night.

The monsoon rains also affected railway traffic. Trains coming from upcountry Pakistan were up to six or eight hours behind schedule while those leaving the city were delayed by anything between two and six hours. However, air traffic managed to remain on schedule.

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