Monsoon Monday: Lahoris struggle to cope with 12 hours of rain

600 Wasa workers with 52 suckers battle to drain flooded roads.

Express August 08, 2011


Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) workers spent all day clearing the roads after heavy monsoon showers left parts of the city up to three feet under water on Monday.

Some 600 workers and 52 pumps were deployed in the city in the morning to drain the water from the streets. Lakshmi Chowk and surrounding areas were covered by up to three feet of water after hours of heavy rain starting early morning, said Wasa workers. Two feet of standing water had accumulated in Chowk Nakhuda and Shadbagh, they said.

The standing water caused major traffic problems all over the city. The underpasses on the Canal were all closed so traffic was diverted above, causing lengthy tailbacks all along Canal Bank Road.

Major traffic jams were also seen on The Mall, Lower Mall, Circular Road, Bhati Gate, Do Moria Pul, Shadbagh, Chowk Nakhuda, City Railway Station, Allama Iqbal Road and Dharampura. Traffic in Samanabad, Sanda, Chauburji, Lakshmi Chowk, Multan Road, Wahdat Road, Kalma Chowk, Model Town, Centre Point, MM Alam Road and Defence Housing Authority was also affected for several hours.

Wasa Managing Director Dr Javed Iqbal, speaking to The Express Tribune, claimed that the agency had been able to remove most of the water from the main roads by the afternoon. “It was tough in the first half of the day, but towards noon the situation started to normalise,” he said.

Dr Iqbal said that northern Lahore had been cleared by mid-day and Lakshmi Chowk by 3:45pm. “These areas were cleared within hours. Previously it took several days to clear them,” he said. Wasa workers started draining water standing in residential areas after finishing on the main roads, he added.

The rain caused three grid stations to shut down, resulting in lengthy power outages in some areas. A Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) spokesman told The Tribune that the utility’s capacity had fallen by seven per cent after the Mughalpura, Kot Lakhpat and Bund Road grids were shut down. They were restored in a few hours, he said.

He said that the supply of electricity to Wasa disposal stations had not been disrupted. Lesco Chief Engineer Saleem Javed monitored the process personally, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2011.

For more picture of the monsoon, view a slideshow here

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