The Pakistan Meteorological Department’s (PMD) prediction about light to moderate rain did not come true as heavy showers pounded the metropolis for hours on Thursday, leaving at least five dead while flooding roads and underpasses.
At least 14 people have died in rain-related accidents, including drowning and electrocution, since August 21, which marks the fifth monsoon rain spell of Karachi and sixth for Sindh.
De-watering of over 36 sites completed: ISPR
In an update to the relief efforts being carried out by the Pakistan Army and other security personnel, the military’s media wing announced that a flood emergency control centre was established at Karachi to assist flood victims.
“Medical camp established at [District] Centre Gulberg, Liaquatabad and New Karachi for providing necessary medical care,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in its 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.
“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.
“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 Thursday 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.
Rainwater inundated 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.
Containers that were put for security purpose on MA Jinnah Road #Karachi for upcoming processions going for a swim. Uncontrollable and dangerous for cars, pedestrians already stuck on the roads. pic.twitter.com/zRkkaWpUVt— Shahbaz Zahid (@shahbazzahid) August 27, 2020
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 driving around in the city’s DHA Phase 6 area in high water.
This is DHA Phase 6 Karachi. What is happening in the low lying areas of KHI today is devastating yet once again.— Ali Haider Zaidi (@AliHZaidiPTI) August 27, 2020
Testing times for Karachiites yet again!
No doubt Allah tests those he loves the most.#KarachiRain #KarachiSinks #RainEmergency pic.twitter.com/MEBgRxWMCs
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, says 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 assured “to take any action required”.
“Briefed PM @ImranKhanPTI over Sindh rain situation, Karachi needs special attention. This is unusual and abnormal rain situation which requires emergency response,” Ismail wrote on Twitter.
Briefed PM @ImranKhanPTI over Sindh rain situation, Karachi needs special attention. This is unusual and abnormal rain situation which requires emergency response. PM is monitoring the situation and assured to take any action required.— Imran Ismail (@ImranIsmailPTI) August 27, 2020
“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 90years. Today super monsoon torrential rains & floods continue unabated. Please keep all those in your thoughts who have already been working 24/7 to assist citizens during this record breaking unprecedented natural disaster.— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) August 27, 2020