Monsoon season: When it rained, it poured

Two-hour rain leaves at least three dead; buildings, roads flooded.


Rameez Khan August 05, 2012

LAHORE:


The two-hour heavy rain on Saturday wreaked havoc around the city. At least three people died and seven were injured in rain-related accidents.


Winds up to 64 kilometres per hours were recorded, which uprooted a few trees around the city. The spell is expected to continue, with intervals, through Sunday, according to the Met Office.

Roads were inundated in most of the city, which led to traffic jams. All underpasses on the Canal Road were closed to traffic. Rain water also flooded houses and government buildings, including the MPAs Hostel. The emergency ward at Services Hospital had to be shut down for a few hours after being flooded. Several flights also had to be rescheduled.

Casualties and injuries

A rickshaw driver lost his life in Defence after the tree he was standing under to seek refuge from the rain fell on his rickshaw. He was identified as Ittefaq, 32. Injured, he was taken to the hospital but did not survive.

Rida Akram,14, died in Shalimar Town when the roof of her house gave in as a result of the rain. Neighbours informed Rescue officials who took her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Stuck in a traffic jam on The Mall, Salman,21, died en route to Ganga Ram Hospital. He was hit by a train in Dharampura while crossing the track.  Three people were injured when the roof of a factory in Badami Bagh caved in. In Johar Town’s F-Block, the roof of a house gave in, injuring a woman and her son. Two motorcyclists were injured when a billboard in Green Town fell on them.

 Roads flooded

Aziz Road and Lakshmi Chowk were the areas worst hit by the rain. According to Commissioner Jawad Rafique Malik, 48 inches of water accumulated at Aziz Road while 42 inches of water flooded Lakshmi Chowk. With water up to their waists, people waded their way through Laskhmi Chowk.

Gulberg, Allama Iqbal Road, Garhi Shahu, GPO Chowk on The Mall and Davis Road were also submerged. Many vehicles broke down. Traffic on the Canal Road, The Mall, Jail Road, Ferozepur Road, Queens Road and Circular Road moved at snail’s pace for hours after the rain.

Govt agencies

Mian Abdullah, the Water and Sanitation Agency’s (Wasa) managing director, told The Express Tribune the agency would drain standing water  in all areas, including Lakshmi Chowk, by 9pm “Draining water in real time is not possible,” he said, “but we will ensure quick drainage.”

Commissioner Malik claimed that about 10 inches of water had been pumped from Lakshmi Chowk in an hour after the rain stopped. He identified Centre Point in Gulberg as another problem area where there is no drainage system. “Water in some areas of the city cannot be drained,” he said, “it needs to pumped out.” He told The Tribune that all 27 of the disposal stations were working to drain water from the areas worst affected. He hoped that it would take no more than three hours to drain the water.

Dr Usman Anwar, the chief traffic officer, said traffic was blocked on Daroghawala Road, Davis Road, Kashmir Road and Regal Chowk as a result of flooding. “Lifters are being used to remove the vehicles that broke down,” he said.

The underpasses opened for traffic at around 8pm.

Weather forecast

Sahibzada Khan, The Lahore Met Office director, told The Tribune that rain will continue on Sunday. He said that the monsoons will continue till September.

According to Met officials, 63 mm rain was recorded at Jail Road and 79 mm at the airport in two hours. A total of 90 mm was recorded at the airport, 160 mm at Nakhuda Chowk (Shadbagh) and 107 mm at Lakshmi Chowk on Saturday.

additional reporting by rana yasif

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.

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