When(ever) it rains, it wreaks havoc

Amid urban flooding, downpour causes multiple casualties


Our Correspondent July 27, 2020

KARACHI:

When it rains, it pours.

However, in Karachi, when it rains, it wreaks havoc, it destroys and it leads to deaths.

The city saw heavy downpour during the thirds spell of monsoon on Sunday, as it drowned in misery and chaos. The deluge resulted in fatal accidents, urban flooding, inundated roads, overflowing gutters, power breakdowns and traffic jams.

And so, the city continued to crumble under seemingly pounding monsoon rains.

Deaths

At least four persons including a child died in various rain-related incidents as heavy monsoon rains lashed different areas of the metropolis.

A 10-year-old boy was electrocuted to death as a broken electricity wire fell on him in Gulshan-e-Hadeed. The deceased, identified as Arbab, was playing in the streets in the rain when the fatal accident took place. He was a resident of Sujawal and was visiting his uncle's house in Karachi. According to Steel Town Police Station SHO, K-Electric (KE) was immediately informed of the incident, following which its staff reached the spot and suspended electricity supply to the area.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Osama, a resident of Gaddafi Town in Landhi, died suddenly after steeping into a pool of standing water. According to police, it is likely that he was killed by a lightning strike as they couldn't found any broken wires at the place of the incident.

Another man, Muhammad Yousuf, was electrocuted to death while repairing a water pumping motor at his house near Fawwara Chowk in Garden. The body was handed over to the heirs after the completion of medico-legal formalities.

Separately, Muhammad Tariq, 28, fell into a drain and drowned as he was passing by Benazir Colony in Orangi Town on a motorcycle. His body was recovered by Edhi Foundation's divers after two hours and handed over to the heirs. According to eyewitnesses, the drain was flooded soon after the rain.

Still missing

Meanwhile, police was informed of an unidentified falling into a ditch and going missing near Vita Chowrangi. Following this, Edhi divers reached the spot and searched for the missing child until Sunday evening without any success. According to police, they have begun the search for the child's family.

Power woes

On the other hand, the metropolis' power woes continued as a large part of it was deprived of electricity soon after the first smattering of rain.

Areas most affected by the suspension of electricity supply include Korangi, Landhi, Malir, Surjani Town, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Orangi Town, Gulistan-e-Johar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Federal B Area, Nazimabad and Clifton, among others.

The supply remained suspended for hours, while at least 550 feeders tripped and multiple transformers caught fire.

Speaking on the matter, the KE spokesperson claimed that electricity to some areas was suspended as a precautionary measure and the power utility's staff was working to resolve other issues.

Power outages and electrocution deaths have long been associated with rains in Karachi and despite several warnings, KE fails to resolve these issues.

Flooding

Besides, long queues of vehicles choked the city's roads, already inundated by rainwater. Consequently, many hapless citizens were left with little option but to push their cars to the roadside on their own, until Rangers officials reached some of the affected thoroughfares and to help citizens.

Later, they also assisted traffic police in restoring traffic flow.

Moreover, rainwater also flooded houses in various low-lying areas of the metropolis.

Areas most affected by flooding include Old Sabzi Mandi, PECHS Block 6, Sakhi Hassan, Lyari, Pak Colony, Safoora Chowk, Shah Faisal Colony, Shaheed-e- Millat Road, Saddar and Sharae Faisal, among others.

Water inundated streets at least up to 2.5 feet to three feet in Old Sabzi Mandi, as area locals complained of a lack of drainage system.

Chen Zeb, a resident of PECHS whose house was flooded, said that this happened every time it rained as there was no proper system for drainage.

Meanwhile, many others in his neighbourhood temporarily shifted to their relatives' houses.

Much later, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation moved machinery and manpower to some areas to drain out the accumulated water.

Authorities in action?

Meanwhile, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani directed deputy commissioners to stay alert and monitor rain emergency operations and make arrangements for the speedy drainage of rainwater.

Besides, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar visited various areas to assess the situation after the rain.

Saying that the Sindh government had called for expediting the cleaning of nullahs, he insisted the problem required a "permanent solution."

He said that KMC staff had been instructed to stay alert and orders had been issued for the immediate draining of rainwater.

The mayor also put KMC hospitals on alert and instructed city wardens to help traffic police with managing the traffic flow.

However, it appeared that these measures were insufficient to end citizens' plight as they continued to struggle against the heavy downpour.

The rain spell

The high amount was rain was recorded in Gulshan-e-Hadeed, which received approximately 86.2 mm of rain, as part of the third monsoon spell this year, which is expected to end by afternoon today (Monday).

Meanwhile, winds in the city blew at 40kph, as the temperature dropped and thunderstorms were witnessed in various areas.

Besides, flight operations were affected at Jinnah International Airport as visibility reduced to 500 metres.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2020.

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