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Sunday April 21, 2024

Workday to end at 2pm today in Karachi as civic agencies put on high alert

In Karachi the rains are expected to start after 2pm today, and with multiple spells they can cause urban flooding.

By Our Correspondent
March 01, 2024
In this undated photo, a road is seen submerged under rainwater in Karachi. — APP File
In this undated photo, a road is seen submerged under rainwater in Karachi. — APP File

The Sindh government on Thursday issued a notification declaring that Friday (today) would be a half-day due to the rain emergency. The notification was issued by Chief Secretary Dr Fakhre Alam.

The notification reads that the provincial government has declared that the workday would end at 2pm on March 1 at all offices, autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies, corporations and local councils in Karachi Division, except those engaged in essential services and rain emergency duties. The notification also applies to private organisations.

Meeting

Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah declared during a rain emergency meeting he chaired at the CM House that today would be a half-day at all government and private offices.

Shah also instructed all the local bodies and hospitals, the Karachi Water & Sewerage Corporation (KWSC), K-Electric and the cantonment boards to remain fully prepared to handle any emergency.

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), rains and thunderstorms are expected from the night of February 29 until the morning of March 2. The rain spell can be heavy, so residents have been advised to prepare accordingly.

Karachi

In Karachi the rains are expected to start after 2pm today, and with multiple spells they can cause urban flooding. Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Director General Salman Shah said the city should expect between 16mm and 32mm of rainfall within a 12-hour period today.

The CM expressed concerns in view of the traffic congestion issue on Sharea Faisal in last month’s rains. He also highlighted the inconvenience caused by the construction of the Red Line on University Road.

To tackle the situation, he announced that today would be a half-day at all government and private institutions, including educational institutions across the city. He also advised everyone to stay indoors and take care of their children during the rain emergency.

Karachi Mayor Barrister Murtaza Wahab told the meeting through videoconferencing that there are 28 points in the city where rainwater accumulates. Wahab said the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the KWSC have prepared their plan to de-water such areas if it rains heavily.

The CM directed all the town chairmen to remain alert in their respective areas, look after the storm water drains and sewerage systems, and take care of the people in distress. He directed Chief Secretary Dr Fakhre Alam to order the police to help the district administration in case of heavy rains.

The PDMA DG said he has provided the necessary machinery for the disposal of rainwater to all the commissioners, deputy commissioners and local bodies. He said he would provide more machinery and other materials if and when needed.

The CM directed KE to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the pumping stations of the KWSC. He said that it has been observed that the KE switches off electricity when it rains heavily. However, he stressed, this time this practice must be avoided. The CM also put Rescue 1122 on high alert.

Northern Sindh

The meeting observed that heavy rains have hit various parts of Balochistan, so there is a possibility of hill torrents causing flooding in Kambar down to Jamshoro.

At this Irrigation Secretary Niaz Abbasi said that the water level in Manchhar Lake is 110.1 feet, and it has ample space to receive more water from hill torrents. The CM directed the Larkana commissioner to personally monitor the situation and stay alert to tackle any emergency.

The CM said that while the thunderstorms forecast by the PMD may not be severe, the ongoing rain havoc in some areas of Balochistan due to climate change necessitates preparedness. He also directed the divisional commissioners of Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad to take the necessary measures to meet the requirements of the rain emergency.

The meeting was also attended by Secretary to CM Raheem Shaikh, Local Government Secretary Manzoor Shaikh, Finance Secretary Kazim Jatoi, Senior Member Board of Revenue Zahid Abbasi, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board Managing Director Imtiaz Shah, Health Secretary Mansoor Abbas, KWSC Chief Operating Officer Asadullah, Commodore Mohammad Akram, Brig Inamul Haq of V Corps and others. The divisional commissioners attended the meeting through videoconferencing.

Rain emergency cell

A rain emergency cell has been established at the Chief Minister House, given the forecast of heavy rains, thunderstorms, and gusty winds in the province in the coming days. The rain emergency cell will remain functional till March 3 on a 24-hour basis.

The cell, which will be headed by the chief of the CM Public Complaint Cell, Riaz Wassan, has been established for quick liaison with the commissioners and deputy commissioners of any affected areas. All the deputy commissioners will submit reports on the latest rain situation daily. The information contained in these reports will be promptly shared with the CM through his principal secretary. The cell will also issue warnings for the occupants of dangerous and dilapidated buildings.

Bilawal’s instructions

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has asked the Sindh government to play its complete and effective role in the preparation for the heavy rains that are likely to lash the province.

According to a press release issued by the Media Cell of the Bilawal House on Thursday, the PPP chief instructed all the Sindh Assembly members and elected representatives of his party to play an active role in addressing the rain emergency.

He emphasised that the Provincial Disaster Management Authority should actively work in collaboration with the local bodies to address the situation arising from the rains.

In his instructions he urged the need for special care, particularly for pilgrims attending the Urs celebrations of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar at Sehwan Sharif, given the possibility of heavy rains in Sindh.

He directed the authorities that advance arrangements should be made to ensure effective drainage of rainwater expected from the mountain ranges of Jhal Magsi and Khuzdar.

Traffic advisory

Deputy Inspector General Karachi Traffic Police Iqbal Dara has asked the public in view of the Meteorological Department’s prediction of rains not to venture out of their homes unnecessarily to protect their lives and those of their children.

In a statement issued on Thursday, he said the Meteorological Department had predicted rain in the Sindh province, and citizens should avoid long journeys in bad weather conditions.

DIG Dara said all SPs should make it mandatory for the staff of their traffic districts to maintain the flow of traffic while staying at their points so that there was no problem of traffic jams.

For guidance in case of any problems, citizens can call Traffic Police Helpline 1915 where representatives are there to guide them or social media unit(www.facebook.com/karachitrafficpolice WhatsApp 0a3059266907 or to keep getting the latest updates from FM Radio 88.6).