KARACHI: After a two-year hiatus, the metropolis received the first major monsoon downpour on Tuesday. Like the past, the rain turned out to be a bane for the teeming city of over 20 million as roads and streets were immediately flooded and several neighbourhoods plunged into darkness as dozens of feeders of the power utility tripped. Luckily however, no major human losses were reported in rain-related incidents, though dozens of motorcyclists were wounded when their two-wheelers slipped on the slush created by the drizzle before the heavy spell. Two deaths were also reported.
The rain proved weather forecasters wrong who had predicted hot and humid weather with no chances of rain in the city for two days. However, Met Department’s regional director Abdul Rashid said they had forecasted rain on Sunday and Monday. He insisted the Met Department never ruled out moderate rainfall in the city.
The city received an average of over 30mm of rain on Tuesday, including 32.4mm in Nazimabad, 31mm in the Airport and Pehalwan Goth areas, 12mm at Faisal Base and Landhi with forecasts of further light and moderate rain today (Wednesday). The temperature, recorded at a high of 38 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, fell to a cool 29 by late evening.
The heavy downpour that continued into the night triggered massive traffic snarl-ups on the roads inundated by rainwater and sewage. Gridlocks were seen at Shahrae Faisal, Karsaz, Hassan Square, University Road, Defence, Clifton, North Nazimabad, Teen-Hatti Chowrangi, Qalandria Chowrangi, Orangi Town, Nazimabad, Qayyumabad Chowrangi, Lanndhy and Korangi.
ADIG traffic Tahir Ahmed Noorani claimed that over 1,700 traffic cops were deployed, but they couldn’t do anything unless the rainwater was pumped out of the roads.
While the rain turned the weather pleasant, almost immediately there were reports of power breakdowns in different parts of the city with feeders of K-Electric tripping.
Areas such as Federal B Area, PIB Colony, Soldier Bazaar, Saddar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Liaquatabad, Garden, New Karachi and Shah Faisal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Malir, Defence among others reported power failures.
K-Electric’s Fakhar Ahmed said 180 feeders of the utility had tripped during the rain. “Most of the tripping of the feeders is due to safety. However, the system is working fine and there has been no major breakdown in Karachi due to the current rains,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board’s (KWSB) main pumping stations, Dhabeji, Gharo and Pipri suspended their operation due to power failure and leakage of KWSB’s 72-inch pipeline. According to a statement from the utility water supply to the city has been halted giving rise to fears of severe shortage of water in the city.
K-E has also urged residents to avoid contact with fallen cables and electricity poles, avoid using electrical appliances with wet hands or with bare feet. Similarly, they advise not operating door bells with wet hands. The utility can be contacted on 118.
Large and small storm water drains overflowed even though the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) along with six District Municipal Corporations (DMCs) had claimed that they had unclogged these drains.
According to resident Muhammad Ashraf, the Gulistan-e-Jauhar storm drain was flooded. “Garbage is out on the road,” he said fearing that an accident could take place due to broken boundaries of the drain.
Meanwhile, administrator KMC, Laeeq Ahmed along with KMC’s senior director municipal services, Masood Alam visited different areas of the city. He insisted that all the arrangements for rains were made in advance and that all the teams of the KMC were ready on standby.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2016.