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Downpour disrupts civic life


LAHORE, Aug 4: Rain which people longed for so intensely for the past over a month disrupted life in the city on Saturday, killing a girl and injuring eight others.

Rain was coupled with a strong windstorm that uprooted trees, bill boards and leveled roofs of some houses. It disrupted power supply to almost the entire city and generated a worst traffic snarl that robbed people of the joy of the downpour witnessed after so many muggy days of the almost dry monsoons.

Ferozepur Road and the entire length of the under-construction path of the new bus service up to Ravi Road appeared as a trap for commuters, making movement even in adjacent streets much difficult. A number of people who stuck up in the traffic muddles had to break their fasts on the roads wondering when life would be trouble free in the city.

Rida, 14, of Shalamar Area was killed after the roof of her dilapidated house caved in during the storm.

Fazeelat Bibi and Shamim Bibi were injured when the roof of a factory in Badami Bagh collapsed.

In Jauhar Town, Ali and his mother Zainab Bibi were injured after the roof of their house fell.

Rickshaw driver Rehmat was injured as a tree under which he had taken shelter fell in Defence.

Motorcyclists Saleem and Wasim sustained injuries as a signboard was uprooted by the storm.

Major streets in the city remained inundated and choked with traffic for several hours. It was hard to spot traffic wardens direct the traffic. And where they were, clearing the muddles looked beyond their capacity.

Over 60 feeders tripped immediately after the rainstorm having a velocity of 64km per hour hit the city in the late afternoon, disrupting power supply to almost the entire city. The chain reaction was the suspension of water supply, making it difficult for people to prepare for Iftaar.

The Met office reported 79mm of rain at the airport and just 63mm at its Jail Road observatory. But this amount of rain proved too much for the monsoon preparedness of the city fathers and the government.

Almost all major roads especially in the downtown were inundated and choked with traffic. The situation worsened after people attempted to find way in the absence of wardens, or their incapacity, creating snarls that could not be cleared till after Iftaar.

Underpasses along the city canal became traps for motorists because of the accumulation of rainwater. Broken down cars and motorcycles here and elsewhere in the city added to the confusion.

Various roads and localities inundated by rain included Multan Road (Scheme Morr to Chauburji), Thoker Niaz Beg Chowk under the flyover, Canal Road (underpasses), Wahdat Road, Ferozepur Road, Lytton Road, Nisbet Road, Lakshmi Chowk, Main Boulevard (Gulberg), Shalamar Link Road, Model Town Link Road, Zahoor Elahi Road, Township, Peco Road (Kot Lakhpat), Jail Road, Peco Road (Marghazar Colony), Garden Town, Lower Mall, The Mall, Neela Gumbad, Ravi Road, Railway Road, Chowk Nakhuda, Lawrence Road.

Though brought misery, rain nevertheless made people happy, providing them relief against the prolonged spell of mugginess.

The accompanying wind was cool and soothing.

“I am happy,” said Akram who was dragging his motorcycle that broke down on the Canal Bank Road.

The Met office has in the meanwhile forecast more rain the city in the next 24 hours.