Monsoon 2013: Rain calamity strikes

Published: August 4, 2013

Motorists drive their vehicles along a flooded road in Karachi. PHOTO: AFP

QUETTA / PESHAWAR / KARACHI: 

Incessant rainfall wreaked havoc across the country on Saturday, triggering flash floods up north, damaging infrastructure, submerging villages and inundating cities and towns. In all, at least 51 people were killed and many more injured, while the damage to properties was seen as colossal.

Life in Karachi, the teeming metropolis of over 16 million, came to a grinding halt as it received the first downpour of the current monsoon. At least 16 people – among them eight children – died in rain-related incidents as provincial authorities called in army troops to help drain out rainwater from different neighbourhoods. Most of the fatalities were caused by electrocution and drowning.

The rain caused dozens of feeders of the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) to trip, which resulted in power outages in almost half of the city. As most drains were clogged, rainwater and sewage flooded the busiest arteries and thoroughfares of the city, causing gridlocks at different places. Several cars and mini-buses also broke down in the middle of the roads adding to the traffic mess.

Angered by the mismanagement of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, the Sindh government sacked its administrator Syed Hashim Raza Zaidi and Municipal Services chief Masood Alam.

Although the posh and residential neighbourhoods were no exception, the worst-hit were the slums and villages on the edge of the city.

Around 250 houses of Babu Basti and Bhund Goth were partially damaged after the Thado River broke its banks in Malir area. Most residents fled their homes to seek shelter in a state-run school in nearby Soomar Kandi village.

Similarly, over a dozen houses were damaged in Badai Jokhio village while the situation in another six villages near the Sukkan River is also critical. Latt Basti and Ali Muhammad Jatt Goth were also inundated when the nearby drain overflowed.

“Army troops have started draining out the rainwater,” a military spokesperson told The Express Tribune. “The troops have been draining water from Natha Khan Goth, Sharea Faisal, Airport and its surrounding areas,” he added.

Other major cities of Sindh, including Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Sanghar also received heavy rainfall. In some areas, irrigation canals overflowed and inundated villages. In all, three fatalities were reported from rural Sindh.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and its adjoining tribal regions, at least 19 people died as flash floods damaged properties and farmlands. Fatalities were reported in Chitral,  Peshawar, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, FR Tank and tribal agencies of North Waziristan and Kurram.

As of now, Chitral is the worst-affected district where over 100 houses, three small power houses and eight small bridges have been swept away. Officials, however, say they haven’t been able to assess the damage in the remote areas of the district due to the difficult mountainous terrain.

In Tank district, the union councils of Warsponn, Pai and Gulam Imam were flooded where dozens of houses were damaged and farmlands affected. Local administrator Muhammad Ali Shah claimed that the floodwater was receding. In Peshawar,  scores of houses were inundated when Budhni stream broke its banks, forcing people in the neighbourhood to move to safer places.

According to the Flood Control Cell, most of the rivers in the province are in normal or medium- level flood except the Kurram and Gambela rivers in Bannu district which are in high flood. Landslides triggered by heavy downpour blocked the strategic Karakoram Highway at three places, suspending traffic between Rawalpindi and Gilgit-Baltistan. “The traffic between G-B and Rawalpindi is suspended due to the blockage of the KKH,” said a spokesman for the Northern Areas Transport Corporation,” a government-sponsored transport company.

Balochistan also bore the brunt of the devastating monsoon spell. At least eight people were reportedly killed and dozens of villages submerged, displacing hundreds of people in the province. Jhal Magsi is the worst-affected district where 25 villages have been virtually washed away, according to Khalid Baloch, the director general of the PDMA. Jhal Magsi is literally cut off from the rest of the province as the main highway has been flooded.

Naseerabad district received incessant rain for 15 hours. The ensuing flood devastated over half a million acres of farmlands. In the neighbouring Jaffarabad district, the whole town, including government offices, is under knee-deep water. Several villages have also been flooded.

Similarly, Sibi, Loralai and Lasbela districts have also been affected where scores of mud-houses have been swept away by flash floods.

Hill torrents unleashed by heavy rains swept through the impoverished south Punjab where at least five people were reportedly dead and 200,000 acres of farmlands ravaged by floodwater.

To deal with the calamity, the authorities have declared a state of emergency in the districts of Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur and Jampur. All officials on leave have been called back for duty. The office of the chief minister is monitoring the situation round-the-clock.

In DG Khan, the Ronghan, Raakhi Gaaj and Vahowa areas are the worst hit where more than 100 villages have been submerged, uprooting hundreds of villagers from their homes.

In Rajanpur, the house Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sher Ali Gorhacni and the farmhouse of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani have also been inundated.

According to an official tally, 100,000 people have been affected by the ongoing flash floods. Some tourists are also reported to have been trapped in the tribal belt of Rajanpur.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2013.

Reader Comments (13)

  • Raj Kafir
    Aug 4, 2013 - 5:46AM

    This weather in Pakistan is created by USA on the advise of India. If you do no believe me, please read this link.

    http://www.wanttoknow.info/war/haarpweathermodificationelectromagneticwarfare_weapons

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  • SyedPk
    Aug 4, 2013 - 7:18AM

    @ Tribune,
    The population is Karachi Metropolitan is around 20-21 Million estimated by all credential means , please use the correct statistics

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  • Aug 4, 2013 - 9:32AM

    Moonsoon comes every year, it destroys property and life but our govt has no plans to build new dams. All this water go in waste.

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  • ahmer
    Aug 4, 2013 - 10:01AM

    According to pti this was caused by droned. According to jamaat and isi it is cinspiracy if india usa israel. Other cobspiracy theorists say foreign hand involved

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  • Mirza
    Aug 4, 2013 - 10:14AM

    @Raj Kafir: I agree with you 100%. There are no floods in Afghanistan, and India where all the rivers originate. However, all the floods are only coming to Pakistan which is not possible without a huge conspiracy. This conspiracy would continue as long as Zardari is in power. We should use all our strategic resources to attack these hostile neighbors ASAP. We should do all we can to protect them and provide shelter against drone attacks.
    Thanks and regards,
    M

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  • MOZ
    Aug 4, 2013 - 12:37PM

    Calamity in Ramazan?? Why?

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  • imran
    Aug 4, 2013 - 1:01PM

    @MOZ:
    Because people watch amir liaqat hussain and have forgotten the real meaning of ramazan.

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  • expaki
    Aug 4, 2013 - 1:22PM

    @Khan: “All this water go in waste”Khan Sahib ! you talking about water wastage only? here lives are being wasted every day, young men, cream of the society and no one cares. We prefer performing UMRA and praying for Pakistani Salamati and back home who cares, if in case BEDRAA GHAARQ Ho giaa, then all these PRAYER Leaders have their homes in every corner of the world. Its yours and my children who has to face this mess.

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  • I am a Khan
    Aug 4, 2013 - 1:37PM

    @Raj Kafir:
    Forgotten Uttarakhand so quickly?

    @imran:

    100% agreed. People have forgotten the real meaning of Ramadan and watch TV shows instead of doing Ibadah.

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  • Parvez
    Aug 4, 2013 - 2:02PM

    @imran: You made my Sunday.

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  • Parvez
    Aug 4, 2013 - 2:04PM

    Don’t blame the rains……….blame years of neglect coupled with corrupt, inept governance.

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  • Mohammad
    Aug 4, 2013 - 3:19PM

    this will be happening in next 100 years if people of Pakistan did not elected the right candidates..

    this happens every year for past many years.. why don’t people ask the government of this great loss of lives and suffering..

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  • farmerdr
    Aug 4, 2013 - 6:26PM

    Not wishing to partake in the pastime of attack the victim but could individuals and citizen groups have done a bit to mitigate this disaster?
    Stopped using “shoppers”, don’t litter or at least dont allow dumping in storm drains. Stand up against construction in flood plains? Enforce zoning? Maintain flood barriers or form commitees to do so? Most people deserve the government they get specially when they do not pay tax, participate or make positive contributions to its smooth running.

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