Thursday Aug 27 2020
Web Desk

Karachi rains: 23 dead as unprecedented storms drown city of lights

Web Desk

People travel to safety on a boat in Karachi's Clifton underpass.

KARACHI: The Pakistan Meteorological Department’s (PMD) weather prediction for light to moderate rain on Thursday completely missed its mark as heavy showers pounded the metropolis for hours, leaving nearly 23 dead, besides completely submerging roads and underpasses.

According to Karachi's police chief, Ghulam Nabi Memon, at least 23 people have died from today's rains in various incidents.

Two people were killed in roof collapse accidents, four people drowned, one person died due to electrocution, while another died in a motorcycle incident, said the additional inspector general.

"So far 35 people have been killed in the latest monsoon spell," said AIGP Memon.

The latest rains marks the fifth monsoon rain spell for Karachi and sixth for Sindh.

Hub Dam fills to maximum capacity

The water level in Hub Dam, which supplies drinking water to Karachi and meets the water needs of several areas in Balochistan, crossed the 339-foot mark today and filled to its maximum capacity for the first time in 13 years.

The water level in the dam had risen due to the recent spell of torrential rains in Karachi and Sindh and has now begun to flow out from the spillways into the sea near Mubarak Village.

Read more: Hub Dam fills to maximum capacity after 13 years

The WAPDA administration had closed the Hub Dam to visitors. However, residents of the settlements around the dam, residents of the Hub Dam Residential Colony, Karachi residents and others have arrived in large numbers in the spillway area, to witness the streams overflowing which look much like waterfalls.

In the catchment area of ​​Hub Dam, which stretches up to the mountain range of Balochistan, the water level has risen to more than 9 feet in three days.

According to WAPDA sources, more rainwater relays are reaching Hub Dam from the catchment area. To deal with the emergency situation, officials of Hub Dam Management Agency, WAPDA and irrigation officials are present at Hub Dam.

The sources said that the settlements below Hub Dam have been evacuated in case of emergency.

Establishment of flood control centre

Army flood Control rooms have been established in Karachi and Malir for assisting citizens in rain emergency, according to a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations.

The following telephone numbers can be contacted for immediate assistance:

  • 021-34491082 
  • 021-99247267
  • 021-99207795

Another helpline number, 1135, has also been added to the control room.

De-watering of over 36 sites completed: ISPR

"Medical camp established at [District] Centre Gulberg, Liaquatabad and New Karachi for providing necessary medical care," the ISPR had said in an earlier update on relief and rescue operations in flood-hit areas of Karachi and Hyderabad.

"Dewatering of More than 36 sites in Karachi have been completed. Cooked meal [for] over 10,000 people distributed among flood victims in various areas.

"Enhancement of bund along M9 near Northern Bypass to avoid flooding of M9 completed by Army Engineers. Pakistan Army Engineers placed 3 plant dets along with dewatering pumps to [K-Electric Grid Station], Saadi Town and Malir Cantt.

"Army Engineers also constructed bund at these locations to save them from water flow. Army troops filled breach of Malir Nadi [stream] near Quaidabad," it added.

The ISPR further noted that Army's engineer boats were busy evacuating, shifting, and relocating people to safer places, whereas the Navy's emergency response teams, "along with Pakistan Navy Diverse recovered two dead bodies from Shah Faisal Town and Korangi crossing area".

A Navy helicopter conducted aerial reconnaissance of the Korangi crossing, Malir Nadi in Quaidabad, and Shafi Muhammad Goth.

Hyderabad, Dadu

"Relief and medical camp has been established at Latifabad. Food provided to affected population. Army Engineers busy in dewatering various areas," the ISPR said.

"Army troops have been forwardly placed at Dadu for any eventuality and spillover at Nai Gaj Dam," it added.

Pouran Drain

"The banks of purain drain in Tehsil Jhudo District Mirpur Khas has been damaged due to heavy rain and water entered in nearest five villages, plugging the breach done with combined efforts of Army troops and civil administration to stop water flow to these areas," the statement added.

'Outsource' Karachi's infrastructure development

Top industrialist Siraj Qasim Teli said Karachi's infrastructure development should be outsourced.

"The infrastructure of the city has been destroyed in these rains," said Teli, the chairperson of the Businessmen Group (BMG) and former president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

Appealing to the Sindh and federal governments to find a way to save Karachi from ruin, he said the provincial leadership's "institutions do not seem capable of seeing to the development of the city".

"The Centre and Sindh will have to outsource the matter," he said, warning that the entire city would otherwise be reduced to a complete wreck.

The business magnate said Karachi gives 70% of its revenue to the federal government and 95% of its revenue goes to the Sindh government.

Heavy showers may last till 11pm

A day ago, the PMD had predicted that the monsoon rain system had weakened and it was likely that the metropolis would be provided with much-needed relief from the torrential rains.

In its new weather alert, it redacted its earlier rain prediction that heavy showers in the city could last until 4pm, saying now it would last till 11pm.

The PMD said the weakened system had merged with another system coming in from Balochistan; hence, it gained in intensity and resulted in heavy rain pelting the city.

Underpasses indundated, containers swept away

Rainwater completely inundated the KPT underpass that connects Do Talwar to Teen Talwar at Clifton, while the same situation was observed with the underpass near Punjab Colony.

In a video that went viral on social media, containers brought for security measures ahead of Muharram could be seen swept away by rainwater.

Due to the situation at the two main underpasses, the flow of traffic came to a halt as traffic officials urged the masses to use alternate routes.

Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Haider Zaidi took to Twitter to share a video clip in which cars were seen to be driven through high water in the city's DHA Phase 6 area.

Weather experts weigh in

According to weather experts, Karachi has been sandwiched between the systems generating rainy clouds, with humidity from the sea exacerbating the situation.

The dark clouds hovering above the city and causing the showers are at a height of 35,000-40,000ft. Normally, such clouds are at a height of 2,000-3,000ft.

Experts said the high altitude of the clouds was the reason for the rain's intensity.

PM Imran monitoring situation: Governor Sindh

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said Thursday Prime Minister Imran Khan was monitoring the situation that arose in Karachi due to the torrential rains and has asked that any action required be taken.

"Briefed PM over Sindh rain situation, Karachi needs special attention. This is unusual and abnormal rain situation which requires emergency response," Ismail wrote on Twitter.

"PM is monitoring the situation and assured to take any action required," he added.

Bilawal reacts to 'super monsoon torrential rains'

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari reacted to the "super monsoon torrential rains", urging people to keep those in their thoughts who were working 24/7 to assist citizens during the natural disaster.

"As of yesterday Sindh had seen its worst monsoons in 90 years. Today super monsoon torrential rains and floods continue unabated," he added.

CM Shah directs authorities to help the stranded

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah directed authorities to help stranded people in Malir and other areas of the city.

Shah directed Commissioner Karachi to evacuate school buildings in Malir so that people in affected areas could be given shelter there till the rain situation improves.

He also issued directives for the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to help people during the crisis.