KARACHI – Torrential spell in Karachi left at least 23 people dead in flood-related incidents as army troops were called in for rescue operations on Thursday.
MET department warned early about the torrential spell in Karachi on 30th august, expecting 100mm rainfall on 31st August 2017 which turns out to be one of the devastating rainfall in decades in some areas rainfall recorded upto 124mm, urban flooding turned Karachi into a sea bringing boats in the streets.
Rainwater submerged the port city and emergency was declared in several parts of it. Army troops were called in for rescue operations after the provincial government failed to cope with the situation, despite an early warning.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday took notice of the devastation caused by the recent spell of rains in Karachi.
Abbasi has directed Pakistan Army, National Highway Authority (NHA), Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and Ministry of Ports and Shipping to immediately clear the roads to allow commuters to travel safely in the city.
Torrential spells of rain have bereaved Karachi once again, and at least 14 lives have been lost so far due to electrocution and other incidents, The monsoon spell in late August has clearly showcased Karachi city administration s incompetence. Parts of Karachi remained submerged on Thursday, as roads showed a picture of virtual swiming pools.
Prime Minister has directed all the concerned departments to make immediate arrangements to resolve problems faced by the people of Karachi. Abbasi has also directed authorities to reassuree unhindered communication of Karachi to other parts of the country. He announced that the federal government will provide all the available resources to the provincial government.
A 150-feet breach in the Thado Dam led to thousands of cusecs of water gushing out and flooding nearby areas on Thursday. It is a retention dam built near Karachi on Malir River for storing rainwater.
Reports emerged that Usman Khaskheli Goth and Amir Bux Goth, housing 6,000 residents, along with Saadi Town were flooded as a result of the breach.
Following this, PAF Base Faisal issued an alert pertaining to flood threat and ordered relevant authorities to take precautionary measures. After a video of the breach surfaced, the government took action and also sought army’s help in the rescue operations.
According to the Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD), highest rain was recorded at Masroor Airbase which was 125mm while North Nazimabad received 124mm, MOS 44mm, AP 42mm, North Karachi 33mm, University Road and Gulshan-e-Hadeed 26mm, Faisal Base 23mm and Landhi areas 20mm rain.
The victims of the rain-related incidents included at least five children. Majority of the people died due to electrocution while some of them were killed in roof and wall collapses.
A minor namely Farman was electrocuted in North Karachi, a seven-year-old boy in Lyari and ten-year-old Aslam in Gulistan-e-Juhar.
Eleven-year-old Ahmed died of electric shock, while ten-year-old Mohsin died when wall of an under-construction building collapsed in Boat Basson remits.
Sohail Ghulam, 24, was electrocuted in Nazimabad; Sajid, 24, in Chishti Nagar; Yaseen, 22, in Old Subzimandi; Muhammad Naseer,22, in Orangi Town; and Maryam, 20, in Baldia Town.
A 60-year-old unidentified passerby died due to the electrocution in Saeedabad while Saeedullah died due to collapse of a wall in Gulshan-e-Bihar, Orangi Town.
A 40-year-old man, Dilawar, died in Fareed Colony, Orangi Town. A 25-year-old youth Nasir Khan died and two others were wounded when roof of a house collapsed in SITE area.
In Pakistan Chowk locality, five sacrificial animals were killed when balcony of the house fell on them.
Civilian authorities including provincial and local governments and different civic bodies remained busy in blaming each other instead of focusing on rescue and relief efforts.
Despite prediction of heavy rains, lack of preparedness was seen everywhere. Minister for Local Government Jam Khan Shoro, Karachi mayor and district chairmen were seen only on the media.
Hundreds of people were stuck in floodwaters in several parts of North Nazimabad, Saadi Town, Rais Amroha Colony and other areas.
Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar admitted KMC’s failure in draining out rainwater. “We cannot drain out water,” he told the media, saying the situation was out of control as he complained about lack of resources and power to the mayor.
He said they lacked men and machinery and only nine out of 13 pumps were working. He termed the rain a natural disaster and said “we are still trying our level best to drain out rainwater and bring the city to normalcy”. He said he would stay on the field until the situation was under control.
The mayor during the day talked to the media several times and kept crying for more power to the local government, and criticizing Sindh government for not supporting the local government system.
Akhtar also criticised the working of Sindh Solid Waste Management Board and Karachi Water and Sewerage Board saying both these departments were responsible for sewerage lines and lifting of garbage. “However, we all witnessed how sewerage lines were overflowing and drains were blocked due to garbage.”
There was thin attendance at the offices as rain and flooding prevented many from reaching at workplaces. Many of the commuters were stuck on roads when their vehicles went out of order due to rainwater.
People said every street and main artery was submerged due torrential rains and chocked sewerage system.
The water started coming out of the manholes and entered into the houses in many parts of city including Federal B Area, Surjani Town, North Karachi, North Nazimabad, Mehmoodabad, Orangi Town, Kemari and some other parts.
Minister for Local Bodies Jam Khan Shoro said authorities were on high alert as paramilitary troops rushed to the areas affected by the downpour including Saadi Town and Amroha Society, Scheme 33.
Agencies: Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Rangers and Army jumped in to rescue residents of Karachi after water of incessant heavy rain turned into urban flooding in the megapolis.
The PAF allocated one C-130 aircraft and two helicopters for the Sindh government to be used in emergency situation.
PAF spokesman said the aircraft and helicopters were allotted on directive of Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman for use in rescue and relief activities to the masses.
On the other hand, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal rang up Director General Sindh Rangers Major General Muhammad Saeed and gave directions for full participation of Rangers in relief activities in Karachi.
They exchanged views on the situation arising out of incessant rains in the city.
While, on the city administration’s seeking help from the Pakistan Army after several areas were submerged due to downpours, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa assured to provide all possible support to Karachiites.
The army chief said that army will provide water extraction pumps to drain out water from the city and effectively manage the torrential rainfall.
Downpour wreaked havoc on the power supply system and municipal infrastructure as electrocution and falling billboard incidents left more than a dozen dead in various parts of the city.
The situation further turned worse due to flooding of low-lying areas as the Meteorological Department forecast new spell of monsoon rains till Friday coupled with thunderstorm.
Fixit rescued a citizen who was stuck in Sohrabgot underpass due to rainfall. No drainage system on roads. None of the rescue teams responded.