Heavy and constant rainfall flooded most of streets, roads and low lying areas of the provincial metropolis on Thursday. The shower started at 12 pm and ended at 4 pm. Rainfall measuring up to 84 mm crippled routine life in the city and its suburbs. Due to restricted mobility, citizens, particularly women chose to stay at home.
Mosques had a much lower attendance than normal at the Friday prayers. The downpour forced shopkeepers to sell their goods at cheaper rates, especially vendors and flags sellers who do most of their business on the roads.
After a break of three days, the monsoon rain again turned the roads into streams and traffic moved at a snail’s pace. Security arrangements were disrupted as police officials sought refuge away from their specific place of duty.
Though WASA personnel were present at many areas they were unable to provide speedy relief. Chauburji, Riwaz Garden, New Garden Town, Model Town, Lower Mall, Gulberg’s Main Boulevard, Lakshmi Chowk, Allama Iqbal Town, Yateem Khana Chowk, Sabzazar Scheme, Mozang, Defence’s Y-Block, The Mall Road, and Kalma Chowk were the worst effected areas. The Meteorology Department has predicted clouds and thunderstorms with rain in the next 24 hours in Lahore.
Agri Forum Pakistan chairman Ibrahim Mughal described the rain as a great blessing which would save Rs15 to Rs20 billion for farmers in terms of diesel and electricity savings. He said due to the rain, a bumper rice crop was possible.
A boy died and five others were injured in several roof collapses in the city due to the colossal rain on Friday.
Rescue 1122 officials said that six roofs collapsed in the city due to rain. They said that in one incident a boy died while two others were injured when a roof of a house at Rana Town Shahdra caved in.
Officials said Imran Faisal, 11, died on the spot while Anila Javed, 13, and her father Javed, 50, were injured and moved to Mayo Hospital.
Tauqeer, 25, officials said, got injured on Out Fall Road when an under construction wall fell near the Veterinary Hospital. He was taken to Mayo Hospital. Rescue officials said two more people were injured on Out Fall Road and near the National Logistics Cell building when a dilapidated wall collapsed. They said no one was injured when roofs of houses in Main Mansoora Bazaar, near Data Darbar, Paper Mandi Chowk and Rawind Road near Peerus Cafe came down.
They said a man almost drowned at Dongi Ground near Ittefaq Hospital. He was saved by Rescue 1122 officials.
Traffic became a mess as the downpour inundated most city roads. Traffic police expressed their inability to cope with the situation.
A traffic warden, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that there were fewer vehicles on the road in the rain and almost no bikes, but the traffic was still unmanageable. He said that rainwater drainage was a big problem in the city. He said that some parts of roads were so deep under water sedans and bikes, especially those with 70cc engines found it impossible to wade through. There were traffic jams on Lower Mall, Multan Road near Yateem Khana, Gulberg Main Boulevard towards Centre Point, The Mall near GPO Square, on Allama Iqbal Road and near Bashir Fabrics and many other main and connecting roads.
Anjum Shah, a motorcyclist, said he travelled daily by The Mall to go to work. He said that the part of the road in front of the Lahore High Court was low and gathered water. He said that this problem had not been addressed over years. Shah believed that making Wasa trucks patrol the city would not resolve the problem.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2011.