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Rains rupture Sindh, Karachi

Top Story

August 28, 2020

People wade through a flooded residential area after heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan´s port city of Karachi on August 27, 2020.-AFP 

KARACHI: Karachi faced worst urban flooding of its history on Thursday when an unprecedentedly heavy and unpredictable spell of rain wreaked havoc in Karachi yet again, killing at least 14 people, prompting Sindh chief minister to pronounce a province-wide holiday on Friday (today). The incessant rain turned almost all the major arteries into canals, filled all of the city’s underpasses and flooded residential areas and markets in scores of low lying areas.

Of the 15 people who perished, two women and four children were killed when the boundary wall of their house project caved in after being hit by lightning,” confirmed District East SSP Sajid Saduzai while talking to The News. “A protection wall of the Saima Square One Mall collapsed when the children were playing near it while the elders were walking around there.”

Besides, 45-year-old Syed Muhammad Ali, a resident of Baldia Town died when his motorcycle slipped due to the rain near Defence Morr. The body of 18-year old Imran Buksh who had drowned in Paradise River near Bahria Town was also recovered. A minor identified as five-year-old Ahmed, son of Saeed Ali Shah died after a wall of his house located near Kati Pahari area in Qasba Colony, collapsed. The other victims included a 40-year-old woman identified as Nusrat Ashiq, wife of Zahid Iqbal who drowned at Baloch Colony while 22 year-old Babar drowned in an underpass in Golimar. Besides, four more unidentified people were reported drowned in different parts of the city including Lyari River, Liaquatabad and two people died when they drowned in a nulla in Sukkan area.

Declaring the torrential rains as a ‘natural disaster’, the Sindh government announced a public holiday on Friday in the province, saying except for the offices of local government, health, PDMA and Revenue, all other public and private departments would remain closed.

The relentless showers exposed the efficiency of the cantonments, KMC and the Sindh government as rainwater inundated the KPT underpass at Clifton and another near Punjab Colony. Due to the situation at the two main underpasses, the flow of traffic came to a grinding halt as traffic officials suggested commuters to use alternate routes.

Karachi’s different areas faced worst urban flooding in decades as almost all the main roads, streets and lanes filled with sewage-mixed water which also entered homes in different low-lying areas. Boats were used to evacuate people at the I I Chundrigar Road which houses the State Bank, KSE, major bank headquarters and leads to the port. The knee deep water did not even spare the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s Karachi Registry, the Sindh High Court, the Sindh Secretariat, Passport Office

Thousands of people remained stuck in their offices till the filing of this report on Thursday night as public and private transport vanished from the streets, cars, motorcycles, buses and even trucks submerged in several feet deep water while several cars and vehicles were swept away in strong currents of water in the city.

Volunteers of various organizations including Al-Khidmat Foundation, Edhi, Chipa and others rescued hundreds of people on roads and shifted them to safer locations after they were trapped on roads. People rescued the staff of police mobile, trapped in a strong current of water on Shahrah-e-Faisal near Nursery and Sharah-e-Quaideen bridge.

People shared videos of their homes and streets where their vehicles had submerged, while in many posh localities including Defence, PECHS, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, as well other areas including F.B Area, Martin Quarters and old city areas including Garden where water entered into the ground floor of the houses.

In a video that went viral on social media, containers brought for security measures ahead of Muharram could be seen swept away by rainwater.

Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged to “not abandon people of Karachi” as a catastrophic spell of rains lay waste to the entire city’s infrastructure. The premier said his government is “fully cognisant of the suffering of our people in the wake of the heavy rains, especially the people of Karachi”. “I am personally monitoring the relief and rescue operations and am in constant contact with Chairman NDMA and Governor Sindh for regular updates,” he wrote, in a thread of messages on Twitter.

The Sindh Chief Minister urged the people to stay indoors and pledged to help those in distress in the far flung areas of Malir, Sukhan and Gadap. He directed Commissioner Karachi to evacuate school buildings in Malir so that people in affected areas could be given shelter there till the rain situation improves.

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari reacted to the “super monsoon torrential rains”, saying. As of yesterday Sindh had seen its worst monsoons in 90years. Today super monsoon torrential rains & floods continue unabated. Please keep all those in your thoughts who have already been working 24/7 to assist citizens during this record breaking unprecedented natural disaster.

Meanwhile, Chief Meteorological Officer (CMO) of Pakistan Meteorological Department Sardar Sarfraz, said “Karachi received unprecedented heavy rain due to interaction of a monsoonal system in Sindh and a westerly wave in Balochistan on Thursday and in 15 hours from Thursday morning till night, over 230 mm of rain was recorded which was never observed ever before in such a short spell of time.”The PMD’s Chief Met Officer also predicted a heavy spell of rain for Karachi on Friday morning and added that more moderate spells of rain were possible in the city till Friday afternoon.

Faisal Base recorded 223.5 mm of rain, followed by 191.1 at Surjani, 167.5 at Kemari, 166.6 at North Karachi, 159.1 a Paposh area of Nazimabad while other city areas also received between 100 to 150 mm of rain on Thursday. “Karachi never received such heavy rains before in August or even in the entire monsoon season in last 90 years. We have so far recorded 616 mm of rain at Faisal Base, followed by 592 at Masroor Base and 423 at Airport in the current month alone which is unprecedented,” Sardar Sarfraz said.

Almost 95 per cent of Karachi remained without electricity on Thursday following the start of rain and it continued till the filing of this report, most of Karachi remained without power, causing immense hardship to people.

The areas where the power supply couldn’t be restored until late in the night were Surjani Town, several Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Golimar, DHA, Clifton, PECHS, Saadi Town, Gulshan-e-Maymar, New Karachi, North Karachi, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Gulberg, Kharadar and Lyari and several other areas.

Residents of these areas complained that due to prolonged power breakdowns, even their UPS and generators could not be used for long because the batteries of their UPS were discharged and their generators ran out of petrol. Power could not be restored until late at night in several areas.

According to a press statement from the K-Electric (KE), due to heavy rains KE was forced to suspend power to over 900 feeders, while several power installations including substations, grid stations and power plants were also impacted by rising water levels. The KDA grid station, a key transmission site interconnecting with the National Grid also experienced flooding from the overflowing Lath Dam

Meanwhile, water spilled from the Hub Reservoir, WAPDA officials said adding that the dam achieved its Reservoir Level, after which water automatically started spilling out.

Pakistan army said Army Flood Emergency Control Centre was established at Karachi for assisting flood victims while medical camps were also established at Gulberg, Liaqatabad and New Karachi in district Central.

The ISPR said dewatering of more than 36 sites in the city was completed and meals were distributed to over 10,000 people flood victims in various areas. The Army Engineers strengthened the dyke along M9 near Northern Bypass and constructed a protective dyke to prevent flooding of KE Grid Station Saadi Town and Malir Cantt and also deployed water pumps. The Army Engineers also filled breach of Malir Nadi near Quaidabad.

“The Pakistan Army Engineer boats were busy in shifting people to safer places while Pakistan Navy Emergency Response teams along with Pakistan Navy divers recovered two bodies from Shah Faisal Town and Korangi crossing area,” the ISPR said adding that Pakistan Navy Sea King helicopter conducted an aerial recce of Korangi crossing, Quaidabad (Malir river), and Goth Shafi Muhammad.

ISPR further said Army Flood Control Centers have been established in Karachi and Malir Cantt, which can be approached on telephone nos. 021 34491082, 021 99247267 and 02199207795.