KARACHI: Friday brought with it the first of winter rainfall and a lot more smiles on the faces of people in Karachi.
Residents can further rejoice as the wet weather will continue throughout the weekend. According to the Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD), light to moderate rain will continue through Saturday and until Sunday. The wind speed is not likely to exceed 50 knots.
Fatal consequences: Three killed in rain incidents
Soon after finishing the Friday prayers, a large number of people made their way to Sea View to enjoy the weather. Shops selling fried food items at Boat Basin, Hussainabad Food Street, Burnes Road and other popular food streets, were thronged by people.
“The joy of eating warm corn along with tea as rain drops fall over your head is priceless,” said Hassan, who stopped at Sea View on his way back home from work. “The people of Karachi seldom get to see such weather.”
Dam levels to rise
The rain was not enough to increase the water level in any of the dams but, since there is heavy rainfall expected in Balochistan, the water levels in Hub Dam - the city’s largest water supply reservoir - may rise in a few days, said the PMD spokesperson.
The rainfall recorded on Friday was measured at 0.8mm at Jinnah Terminal, 1mm at PAF Faisal Base, 1.1mm at University Road, 2.3mm at Gulistan-e-Jauhar and 6mm at PAF Base Masroor.
However, doctors fear the rainfall may lead to an increase in viral infections in the city. According to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre executive director Dr Seemin Jamali, respiratory illness and lots of other intestinal infections may arise after the rainfall as the city already has huge piles of garbage and stagnant water, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Dr Jamali advised people to use mosquito repellent sprays and body lotions, and wear warm clothes. She also stressed on using boiled water and indulging hot beverages, such as tea, coffee and soup. Cancel all your plans of dining out or consuming canned food, she said.
Despite the light rainfall, several parts of the city were submerged in rainwater, turning the roads into a nightmare for commuters. The worst traffic was seen on University Road, which is under construction. Jauhar Chowrangi, Board Office, MA Jinnah Road and a few spots on Sharae Faisal also reported bad traffic.
“The diversions [put in place for the construction] already had huge ditches that were full of water,” complained Danish Ali, who uses University Road for his daily commute. “Traffic came to a complete standstill for several hours as cars and motorcycles were stuck in the puddle.”
Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar alerted all municipal departments for rain emergency services, said Karachi Metropolitan Corporation media director Ali Hasan Sajid. The Karachi Water and Sewage Board also announced that their rain emergency centre is operational and the relevant machineries to clean sewage water have been dispatched to the districts. Meanwhile, several parts of the city reported electricity outages following the rainfall.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2017.
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