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Massive rain batters, drowns Lahore


July 17, 2019

LAHORE: The rain that battered Lahore for well over 17 hours literally drowned every inch of the city, bringing life to a complete standstill.

Many areas suffered power outages that also affected drinking water supply. A six-year-old girl also died in a roof collapse on Defence Road. Rescue 1122 recovered the body of Urooj Fatima and rushed her injured sister to hospital.

At least 113 people received injuries in 94 road accidents and one fire case, four building collapse incidents and three electric shock incidents occurred during rain in the provincial capital on Tuesday.

Due to heavy rain, bikers were trapped in the accumulated water. A number of bikes slipped which resulted into injuries to the bikers. In a wall collapse incident in Johar Town, a person sustained injury. In Badami Bagh, two persons sustained injuries in a roof collapse. A person sustained injuries in a wall collapse in Township. Seven people received injuries near the Beijing underpass when a van hit bikes. Moreover, three persons received electric shocks in separate incidents. Long queues of vehicles were witnessed on all major and minor roads as the City turned into a large swimming pool.

The moderate-to-heavy rain that started early Tuesday morning and continued until evening forced Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to come out and visit the provincial metropolis. Wasa Managing Director Syed Zahid Aziz, Lahore Commissioner Asif Bilal, Deputy Commissioner Saleha Saeed and other district administration officials also stayed in the field.

All major roads, residential and commercial localities, graveyards, bus stands and public parks were under water. Wasa officials claimed 250mm rain was recorded in the city. Almost 300 Lesco feeders were closed down due to the continuous rain depriving more than 30 percent of the city population of electricity. People complained that most of XENs and SDOs in Lesco did not take their calls and they had to call Lesco's top management to register their complaints. Many of Wasa tube-wells did not function in the absence of electricity, adding to the problems of Lahorites. The Wasa MD said that until evening 22 sore points, including Laxami Chowk, Haji Camp, Firdos Market, Kashmir Road, GPO, Sheranwala Gate, Aik Moriya Pul, Mozang, Qartaba Chowk, Lawrance Road and Ichhra were cleared of rainwater.

Residents of several localities, including Santnagar, Sandha, Ichhra, Samanabad and Pani Wala Talab, said there was no supply of drinking water in their localities since morning. Roads inundated in ankle-deep rainwater caused massive traffic jams at major crossings. The rainwater accumulated on portions of a number of main roads as well as link and service roads due to which the residents suffered a lot. The rainwater accumulation seriously affected majority of graveyards, including Miani Sahib, Mian Mir Sahib, Township, Samsani (Johar Town), Township, Faisal Town adjacent to Kottha Pind and Pind Rajputan.

Over 250mm rainfall was recorded at Lakshmi Chowk, 213mm at Pani Wala Talab, 203mm at Farrukhabad, 192mm at Chowk Nakhuda, 168mm on Upper Mall, 166mm at Samanabad and Tajpura, respectively, 151.8mm on Jail Road, 140mm at Gulshan-e-Ravi, 136mm at Airport, 121mm at Iqbal Town, 114.5mm at Gulberg, 101mm at Nishtar Town, 92mm at Mughalpura, 74mm at Johar Town and 42mm at Punjab University. The bank of a drain in Mochi Gate also collapsed and several vehicles fell into it. Local residents took out the vehicles on a self-help basis.

Peco Road, which connects Maulana Shaukat Ali Road at Akbar Chowk and is a major artery, was submerged in rainwater at peak hours, resulting in traffic jams at Model Town Link Road, Faisal Town, Johar Town, Wapda Town and adjacent localities.

Traffic at Kalima Chowk and Canal Bank Road near Punjab University was also slowed down. Accumulation of rainwater on the Ferozepur Road at Qainchi and Kalma Chowk caused traffic jams until evening.

Met officials predicted more rains in the next 24 hours. They said seasonal low lies over north Balochistan and its trough is extending northeastwards. Moderate moist currents from the Arabian Sea are penetrating upper parts of the country.

They predicted that rain-thundershower/windstorm with isolated heavy falls is expected at scattered places in Hazara, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Lahore divisions, Islamabad and Kashmir, while at isolated places in Malakand, Peshawar, Kohat, Mardan, Bannu, Zhob, Multan and Sahiwal Divisions. Hot and humid weather is expected elsewhere in the country.

On Tuesday, rain-thundershower associated with gusty winds also occurred at scattered places in Hazara, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Islamabad and Kashmir while at isolated places in Malakand, Peshawar, Zhob and DG Khan Divisions. Weather remained hot and humid in other parts of the country.

Rainfall was also recorded at several cities, including Hafizabad 77mm, Kasur 60, MB Din 24, Attock 22, TT Singh, Chakwal 16, Gujranwala 11, Islamabad (AP 09, Bokra 02), Sialkot, Mangla 08, Murree 07, Rawalpindi (Shamsabad) 05, DG Khan 03, Jhang, Faisalabad 02, Jhelum 01, Balakot 44, Cherat 14, Malam Jabba 03, Muzaffarabad (City 36, AP 11), Rawalakot 18, Garhi Dupatta 02 and Barkhan 01.

Tuesday's maximum temperature was recorded at Naukundi where mercury reached 46°C while in Lahore it was 27.3°C and minimum was 21.5°C. Meanwhile, in view of rainy season, the Lahore district administration has put all departments on alert and directed Wasa, LWMC and MCL field staff to ensure immediate pumping out of rainwater gathered on different roads.

Lahore Deputy Commissioner Saleha Saeed has already directed all departments in a pre-monsoon meeting to follow all set procedures at the time of rain. On Tuesday, dewatering pumps began working at the start of rain and the DC directed assistant commissioners to remain in the field to monitor water drainage.

The DC also remained in the field and paid visit to Lakshmi Chowk, Baber Market, Outfall Road, Anarkali and other areas and supervised dewatering process. She appealed to the citizens not to come out of their homes unnecessarily and warned them not to sit under rundown roofs and walls. She asked them not to go near electricity wires.

On the other side, the district administration has issued a report of water removal from different roads, saying that Wasa and MCL under the supervision of the district administration drained out water from 22 important roads till 12noon.

"All the officers of the district administration are in field, ensuring the immediate pumping out of rainwater from sore points which have already been identified by Wasa before the start of monsoon. The district administration is in touch with the Met office and consistently getting information of imminent rain" Ms. Saleha said.

She also directed all the assistant commissioners to remain in the field until complete de-watering of rainwater on roads and focus on the low-lying areas in their jurisdictions.

The Model Town, City and Raiwind ACs were in the field during and after the rain.

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