Saturday May 18, 2024

Rains sinks Karachi's 90-year-old record

By M Waqar Bhatti
August 26, 2020

Rains sinks Karachi's 90-year-old record

KARACHI: Unprecedented torrential rains wreaked havoc once again in Karachi on Tuesday, which was battered already by the last week’s heavy rains, overwhelming the city and plunging its main thoroughfares and practically most of the city under knee-deep water. It resulted into the loss of at least four lives, large scale property losses and triggered massive electricity failures. The crisis-like situation prompted the provincial government to declare an emergency in the province. The COAS, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, also directed the troops to undertake rescue and relief efforts in the city.

Announcing an emergency in the wake of heavy damage to human lives, property and livestock in the province due to heavy rains, the Sindh government cancelled leaves of government employees and directed the relief agencies, including the Provincial Disaster Management Authority and Relief Commissioner, to immediately start relief and rehabilitation work.

The heavy rain began pounding the city early Tuesday morning and continued till evening as the storm drains and dozens of other choked drains overflowed, flooding almost all the main roads and streets in the city, preventing people from reaching workplaces, drowning parked cars and motorcycles, flooding houses with sewage-mixed rainwater in low-lying areas of Karachi, including PECHS, Liaquatabad and old city areas. North Karachi and Surjani Town particularly bore the brunt as they were already reeling from the water accumulated from the last week's rains.

“The areas adjoining the PAF Faisal and Gulshan-e-Hadeed received the heaviest showers under the strong monsoon system hanging over the vast areas of Sindh and Balochistan. This system would persist till Thursday and continue to generate moderate to heavy rains in Karachi and other cities of Sindh till Thursday,” said Sardar Sarfraz, Chief Meteorological Officer (CMO) of Pakistan Meteorological Department, on Tuesday night.

The PMD officials said Karachi had received record-breaking rains in the current month so far and after Tuesday’s unprecedented spell, now 345 millimetres of rain was recorded at the PAF Faisal Base, while previously 298.4mm of rain was recorded there in 1984, adding that the Masroor Base received 271mm and Karachi Airport 241mm rain this year, which is 300 to 400 times more than average rainfall in Karachi in August.

At least four people lost their lives while several others were left injured in rain-related incidents including electrocution, drowning and other incidents in Karachi, police and health officials said. Strong currents in Malir River near Mansehra Colony and nullahs flowing to the brim also washed away several people who were fortunately rescued by the volunteers of welfare organizations.

Two persons were electrocuted in SITE and Pakistan Chowk area, a 13-year-old boy drowned in Musharraf Colony, a 10-year-old boy was killed and his mother injured seriously when the roof of their house collapsed in the Jogi Morr area.

Meanwhile, the police and other law enforcing agencies blocked several roads after they came under waist-deep water to prevent people from any untoward incidents, including the Korangi Causeway, after the Malir River overflowed. Both Malir and Lyari rivers overflowed and inundated roads on their either banks in various parts of the city. The overflowing Lyari river caused heavy damage in Lyari and adjoining areas.

Traffic police said the traffic remained suspended or disturbed on the II Chandrigar Road, Uncle Sariya to Garden, Aiwan-e-Saddar, Regent Plaza to Aisha Bawani, Sea View, Star Gate, Natha Khan to Drigh Road, Karsaz, Airport, PAF Faisal, Gurumandir Chowrangi, Jahangir Road to Teen Hatti, Liaquatabad, Shafique Morr, Nagan Chowrangi, KDA Chowrangi, Five Star Chowrangi, Nazimabad, NIPA to Safari Park, Ancholi to Sohrab Goth, Jinnah Bridge, Hino Chowrangi, Qayyumabad Chowrangi, and Kala Board towards Quaidabad. Similarly, several others including MA Jinnah Road, Khajoor Chowk, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Paracha Chowk, Hub River Road, Haroonabad, SITE area, Ghani Chowrangi, University Road, C Area to Hino Chowrangi, CNG Crossing to Allah Wali, Chamra Chowrangi to Bilal Colony and Vita Chowrangi also remained inundated.

At least 20 cars and several motorcycles were destroyed when a landslide buried vehicles near the Munawar Chowrangi area of Gulistan-e-Jauhar on Tuesday noon. Several other cars and vehicles were damaged in North Nazimbad, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulshan-e-Hadeed and some other parts of the city when walls and heavy objects fell on them during the rains while hundreds of vehicles were badly damaged when they were submerged in the rainwater.

Sewage-mixed rainwater entered hundreds of homes and buildings in different areas of Karachi including Surjani Town which was already flooded in the last week's heavy showers. Properties were badly damaged in Liaquatabad, old city areas, furniture market at Garden and Aram Bagh and other low-lying localities after knee-deep water entered shops and homes as the nearby nullahs overflowed.

Almost 90 percent areas of the city faced prolonged power breakdown in the wake of the rain for over 12 hours across most of the city. People from all districts of Karachi from Surjani Town to Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, North Karachi, various areas of District Central, old city areas, vast areas of district Malir, Korangi, Landhi, Keamari and adjoining areas complained of hours long power breakdown. They complained that due to absence of power, they faced water shortages, they could not run their electrical appliances and the children could not attend online classes. The power utility said their teams were working to restore power while in many areas, electricity had already been restored.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah visited different city areas along with Minister for Local Bodies Syed Nasir Hussain Shah and Information and Law Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab and after assessing the situation, declared rain emergency in the province, including Karachi, cancelled leaves and directed authorities to assess the losses to compensate people.

The chief minister earlier held a meeting with the local government department, which was attended by minister local government, law adviser, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, new Local Government Secretary Iftikhar Shahalwani. The meeting was told that heavy rains had seriously affected the day-to-day life business and activities. Keeping in view the gravity of the situation, the chief minister declared rain emergency all over Sindh. He directed the chief secretary to issue a notification and cancel leaves of all the government employees. The CM also directed relief commissioners, provincial Disaster Management Authority to start relief work immediately and start survey of the losses once the ongoing spell was over. “We will not leave our people alone and serve them to the best of our abilities,” he said.

The COAS, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, directed to troops to undertake rescue and relief efforts in the city.

Islamabad News Desk adds: The Met Office has confirmed that the 90-year record of monsoon downpour was broken after the most amount of rainfall in Karachi in August this year. The 90-year record was broken after a 345mm downpour recorded at Karachi’s PAF Faisal Base in August this year, making it the wettest month since 1931, which was previously recorded up to 298.4 in 1984.

Moreover, the most amount of rainfall up to 272mm hit the Masroor Base in 2007, whereas, the August 2020’s downpour was recorded up to 228.5mm so far and it is still accumulating. In 1979, 262.5mm rain had been recorded in MOS Old Airport while the recent downpour was 168.9 in the same area.

According to the Met Office, 114mm rain was recorded in Gulshan-e-Hadeed, 83mm in Sadar, 81mm in Landhi, 77.8mm at University Road, 76.6mm in Nazimabad, 70.8mm in Saadi Town, 65.8mm at Jinnah Terminal, 49.8mm in North Karachi, 42.8 in Surjani and the lowest amount of downpour was 21.9mm in Keamari.

The PMD had on Monday said heavy rainfall will continue in Karachi till Thursday, warning that urban flooding could take place in the city.