At least 12 dead as heavy rains pound Karachi | Pakistan Today

At least 12 dead as heavy rains pound Karachi

–PTI leaders demand compensation from K-Electric for deaths caused by electrocution, company says incidents occurred due to weak civic infrastructure 

–PM Imran says will soon announce ‘comprehensive package’ for Karachi, Sindh CM says PM failed to respond to any letters written to him in past

KARACHI: At least 12 people, including a child, lost their lives in rain-related incidents in Karachi, officials said as the megalopolis experienced heavy monsoon showers on Sunday.

Nine people died of electrocution, while two were killed in roof collapse incidents in Qasbah Colony and Bhatta village. Seven animals were also killed in various rain-related incidents.

According to a rescue official, Anwar Kazmi, seven people died from electrocution and three people died after a roof collapsed in the provincial metropolis – which is home to 20 million people.

Kazmi added that the death toll was expected to rise as roads and streets were still flooded in some parts of the city, making it impossible for rescuers to reach the victims.

‘PAY COMPENSATION TO BEREAVED FAMILIES’:

Addressing a press conference, PTI Sindh President Haleem Adil Shaikh and MPA Khurram Sher Zaman demanded K-Electric to pay Rs10 million as compensation to families of victims who died from electrocution.

Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar also said that he will “accompany people who wanted to file a first information report (FIR) against K-Electric”.

However, according to a press statement of K-Electric, the power distribution company had requested civic bodies to take preventive measures before the recent rains to ensure there is no water logging in Karachi so as to avoid any untoward incident. However, various areas of the city were submerged by rainwater creating an urban flooding situation.

The statement said that KE has suspended electricity supply to flooded areas on the request of civic bodies as a safety measure. Water logging around power installations in low-lying areas hampers restoration efforts and is also a severe public safety hazard, it added.

The company said that it is also investigating all electrocution incidents. However, per initial reports, majority of the incidents occurred either inside homes through broken wires and water pumps or due to non-KE infrastructure such as kundas and hanging lights. KE is deeply saddened by all these incidents and sympathizes with the affected families, the statement said.

“It is extremely unfair that some quarters are blaming one particular organisation for these unfortunate incidents, which occurred during urban flooding in Karachi, and were the result of weak civic infrastructure. On its part, KE has been conducting public awareness campaigns on rain safety through TV, print and social media, SMS and has also been engaging with students. KE once again appeals to civic bodies to jointly clear water logging in all affected areas on war footing,” the statement concluded.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah spoke to the Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani and other officials, including local bodies and Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) personnel, and directed them to begin drainage of rainwater from the streets as soon as the rain stops.

He also directed Karachi Police Chief Ghulam Nabi Memon to ask the police force to help people in the provincial capital, particularly residents of low-lying areas and informal settlements.

The downpour and flooding began overnight on Sunday, with authorities reporting “more than 180mm of rain” in the port city.

Pakistan Army was assisting the civil administration in pumping the water out of the inundated streets, a military spokesperson said.

‘SPECIAL PACKAGE FOR KARACHI’:

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that a “comprehensive package” for Karachi will be announced by the federal government in order to “end the decades of neglect and suffering of the people of this great metropolis”.

In a tweet, the PM said that he had directed all Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers from Karachi to stay in their constituencies and provide assistance to residents on Eidul Azha and Independence Day.

‘PM NOT PLAYING CONSTITUTIONAL ROLE’:

During a visit to Hyderabad, Sindh Chief Minister Murad said that the disaster management authorities (DMAs) need to be strengthened in view of the recent rain-related disasters in Karachi, Hyderabad and other districts.

“The role of a DMA is to prepare itself first. For example, in Hyderabad, it is the duty of its head to form a database of all types of machinery that are available in his districts, be it the public or private sector.”

“He [the head] should even have on hand the data of generators or dewatering pumping machines in households. In view of such disasters, he assumes the authority to acquire such machinery to shift them to the pumping station.”

When asked whether the federal government would financially support the Sindh government in its disaster management efforts, Shah said that neither had he contacted Prime Minister Imran nor had the latter contacted him.

Shah said he had written half a dozen letters to the PM in the past but “did not get a single reply”. However, with the current dire situation being faced by the province, that would change, Shah hoped.

He lamented that “for the last 10 months, not even a single meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) has been convened,” adding that important issues of Sindh, including that of water, are pending.

The Sindh CM added that, according to the constitution, the meeting of National Economic Council is to be held twice a year and “only one meeting was held last fiscal year”.

“It is again another violation of the Constitution,” he noted.

“When the prime minister is not playing his constitutional role what else I can demand from him,” said Shah.



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