KARACHI: The unprecedented torrential rains in Pakistan's financial capital have left dozens of people dead, paralysing the city and choking its main arteries, as the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) forecast more heavy showers ahead.
Nearly all major roads of the city — including I.I. Chungrigar Road, University Road, and Shahrah-e-Faisal — remained inundated well into the evening, posing a grim challenge to those who had ventured out of their homes.
At least 47 people were killed in the metropolis in various rain-related incidents, according to Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah.
Areas still inundated
After rain stopped 18 hours ago, the vast majority of I.I.Chundrigar Road remains inundated. Defence Housing Authority's Ittehad Commercial Area is also flooded.
In Naya Nazimabad, people were reported to have used boats to move from one area to another. Moreover, several areas of Clifton and PECHS are also submerged with underpasses still awaiting drainage of water
In New Karachi and Surjani Town, the streets and small alleyways are also choked with rainwater
Resultantly, due to the stagnant water, roads in the entire city have been dealt a great deal of damage.
The main arteries of Shahrah-e-Faisal and University Road, besides Gulbahar road have large patches where the road has completely sunk.
80% of K-Electric's feeders powered up
K-Electric, in a Twitter update, said that its teams are restoring power "where water level is receding and teams can access the locations". Close to 80% feeders have been "powered up" due to the efforts of field teams, it added.
The power supply company said that restoration in Defence, Clifton, and Bahadurabad remains a challenge due to waterlogging.
"With improved weather conditions and continued drainage and dewatering support from district authorities we will be able to continue our progress," it said.
Later in the evening, the K-Electric reached out to the CBC and DHA, requesting them to speed up drainage so that power supply feeders they were "forced to switch off" can be turned back on.
Army's rescue efforts continue
The Army's rescue efforts continued with three army field medical facilities established in Qayyumabad, Sujani Town and Sadi Town to provide immediate emergency medical care to flood victims, a statement by the military's media wing said.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), troops also carried out aerial reconnaissance to assess the on-the-ground flood situation.
Moreover, breach of Malir River was filled, which helped regulate the flow of water towards Marwi Goth , MUI Goth, Dada bhai colony, Afridi colony, Gulshan-e-Abbas and Madina colony areas, saving the residents living there.
"Pakistan Army Engineer Equipment, especially dewatering pumps, are permanently kept at KE Grid Station for its protection against flooding," added the statement.
It said that Army Mobile Recovery vehicles are deployed at various choke points to shift vehicles stuck in floodwater and to assist in the flow of traffic.
Furthermore, 32 emergency medical and 56 relief camps have been established in coordination with civil administration to help people in distress in various parts of Karachi. Cooked meals are also being provided to stranded people in flood-hit areas.
PMD predicts more rains
Chief Meteorological Officer (CMO) of Pakistan Meteorological Department Sardar Sarfraz meanwhile predicted more showers today, saying moderate spells of rain were possible in the city by the afternoon.
The PMD official s aid that Karachi had received unprecedented heavy rain due to the interaction of a monsoonal system in Sindh and a westerly wave from Balochistan on Thursday.
“In 15 hours from Thursday morning till night, over 230mm of rain was recorded which was never observed ever before in such a short spell of time,” he said.
Thursday's rain-related deaths
At least 23 people lost their lives on Thursday after heavy rains battered most parts of the city, rescue sources said, including four children and three women who were killed after a wall collapsed near Millennium Mall.
A man drowned in a storm-water drain in North Nazimabad Block-L, one person's body was found in the stream that runs past Korangi Crossing, whereas, the body of another man was recovered from Punjab Chowrangi underpass.
In another rain-related incident, a 40-year-old woman drowned after her house flooded near Tipu Sultan Road.
Five were killed in Reksri naddi, Liaquatabad B-1 area, Gulbahar, Defence, Maripur, and three were killed in Shah Faisal, Gadap and Korangi industrial areas.
All of the above drowned in water accumulated in underpasses or in storm-water drains or rivers.
As per rescue officials, another three were killed in wall-collapse incidents near Ferozabad, Nabi Bakhsh and Katti-Pahari, while a youth died in a motorcycle accident near Tariq Road.
Moreover, a man was electrocuted in Sikhan Rehri Goth.
Holiday in Sindh
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has announced a public holiday across the province today due to the rain emergency in several cities and towns of Sindh. A statement issued by CM House said all government-run, public sector and private institutions would remain closed on Friday.
“Institutions which render emergency services will only be allowed to remain open. These include Sindh Government’s Health Department, the Local Government Department, its subsidiary organisations in the province, the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority and revenue services offices in the province.”
PM assures all-out help to CM Sindh
Prime Minister Imran Khan talked to CM Murad and offered all-out help to victims of rains in Karachi, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said Thursday.
“The prime minister has talked to the Sindh chief minister and assured him of all-out help from the Centre and its institutions to the Sindh government. Whatever help is sought will be provided on [an] emergency basis,” the minister tweeted.
Prior to the tweet, the Sindh chief minister had complained while talking on Geo News show Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath that Karachi was not among the priorities of the prime minister and the federal institutions did not think it proper to talk to the Sindh government.
“When we contact the Centre no reply comes from there,” Murad had said. However, after the interview, the CM himself informed Geo News that the prime minister has spoken to him.
Army establishes flood control centre
Army flood control rooms have been established in Karachi and Malir for assisting citizens in rain emergency, according to a statement from Inter-Services Public Relations.
The following telephone numbers can be contacted for immediate assistance:
Another helpline number, 1135, has also been added to the control room.
Hub Dam fills to maximum capacity
The water level in Hub Dam, which supplies water to Karachi and meets the water needs of several areas in Balochistan, crossed the 339-foot mark yesterday 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 the dam has now begun to flow out from the spillways into the sea near Mubarak Village.
The WAPDA administration had earlier closed the Hub Dam to visitors in view of health hazards. However, residents of the settlements around the dam, residents of the Hub Dam Residential Colony, Karachi residents and others 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 by more than 9 feet in three days.