KARACHI: Urban and rural areas of Sindh and Balochistan provinces witnessed heavy rainfall coupled with strong winds and thunderstorms on Saturday, increasing fears of urban flooding as the monsoon system across the country has intensified.
Six people were killed in rain-related incidents in Karachi on Friday. The police said three people died after they were electrocuted, while several others got stuck in flooding in nullahs.
In Balochistan, torrential rain continued to kill people as at least seven people were killed only during the last 24 hours, bringing the tally of rain-related deaths in the province from July 01 to 56 people.
According to Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan, among the 56 dead during period, 22 of them were women, 24 children and 10 men.
“As many as 48 people also sustained injuries in the rain-related incidents,” it said, adding that 670 houses also sustained infrastructural damages. The areas, according to the PDMA, that remained most affected included Quetta, Loralai, Sibi, Harnai, Kohlu, Zhob and other areas.
Previously, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said that the current monsoon rains have claimed 77 lives as yet across the country.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad today, the minister said this indeed is a national tragedy. She said the most number of 39 deaths have been reported in Balochistan.
The climate change minister said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has prepared a national monsoon contingency plan, Radio Pakistan reported. She said the provinces, districts and the people have to stay alert to reduce causalities as a result of monsoon rains.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), heavy showers lashed DHA, Clifton, II Chundrigar Road, Ibrahim Hyderi, Korangi, Saddar, Sharae Faisal, Malir, and Stargate in Karachi after 10am on Saturday. The monsoon rains flooded the Korangi nullah after which the EBM Causeway was closed for traffic.
Urban flooding was also reported in several localities. In Lyari, streets were inundated with rainwater coming up to the waist stranding people inside their houses. In northern parts of the city, water entered houses creating immense difficulties for residents.
Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab tweeted that the “major thrust” of the rain was in city’s District South. He also said teams were on the roads “to handle the situation”
In a subsequent tweet, Wahab said water had gathered on II Chundrigar Road, “the side of Jang Press and on the other side of CPO and Tower, area around HBL is clear because the City Naala is running well”.
Meanwhile, traffic jams were reported on PICT Gate Keamari, Causeway Nadi, Korangi Nadi, Safoora Chowrangi, Hassan Square, Sharae Faisal Drigh Road, and University Road due to water accumulation.
A report issued by the PMD said that the highest rainfall, in the last 24 hours, was recorded in Gulshan-e-Hadeed (94.7mm) followed by the Old Airport area (53.0mm), PAF Faisal Base (46.0mm), Jinnah Terminal Airport (38.6mm), Landhi (25.5mm), Gadap Town (13.6mm) and DHA Phase II (10.5mm).
Sardar Sarfaraz, chief meteorologist, told Dawn that the rains were likely to persist in Karachi and other parts of Sindh as there was a strong monsoon system and its currents were penetrating from the Arabia Sea.
“Different Karachi areas, including the northern and eastern parts, received moderate to heavy showers and some areas witnessed some very heavy falls. Gulshan-i-Hadeed for instance received the highest 94.7 millimeters of rainfall in a few hours of the spell. The trend is likely to continue tomorrow [Saturday] and may start weakening by Saturday night but it would be there,” he told Dawn.
Meanwhile, in a tweet on Saturday, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said that Sindh and Balochistan were going through very high levels of rainfall on a 30-year average.
Heavy rains have damaged 670 houses in the province while 436 livestock have also been affected by the rains. The most-affected areas include Quetta district, Lasbela, Sibi, Harnai, Dakki, Kohlu, Barkhan, Zhob and Dera Bugti.
According to PDMA officials, rains affected 12 dams across the province, of which three burst due to flooding. In Loralai, six people were swept away by the dam water after which a rescue operation was initiated. Separately, the floods in Pishin and Turbat have entered populated areas, but fortunately, no casualties have been reported so far.
Meanwhile, multiple areas of Quetta have been without electricity for the past four days due to heavy rains. The residents complained that despite several calls, the authorities have failed to restore power.
Earlier today, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo directed the PDMA, district administrations and other concerned agencies to stay alert as the PMD have forecast more rain in the upcoming days.
All the agencies should be ready to deal with any kind of situation while remaining diligent and active, he directed, instructing departments to assure the availability of resources for the protection of life and property of residents.
The chief minister ordered the relocation of people living in low-lying areas to safer places and also requested locals to cooperate with the authorities on the occasion of monsoon and Eidul Azha.
More rains during Eid
Meanwhile, the Met Office has forecast more rains during Eidul Azha, which will be celebrated across Pakistan tomorrow (Sunday), and alerted authorities to exercise caution.
It said that the monsoon rains entering the country will intensify over the weekend (July 9 and 10). Under the influence, heavy rains with thunder and wind storm have been forecast in Islamabad, Kashmir, Swat, Mansehra, Kohat, Mianwali, Sargodha, Abbottabad, Haripur, Peshawar, Nowshera, Kurram, Jacobabad, Jhelum, Sialkot, Lahore, Murree, Rawalpindi, Attock, Okara, Sahiwal, Jhang, Chakwal, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Kohistan, Galiyat and Mardan.
The showers will last from July 9 to 12.
Rain and thunderstorms with isolated heavy showers have also been predicted in several areas of Sindh and Balochistan such as Mirpurkhas, Dadu, Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Zhob, Ziarat, Barkhan, Bolan, Loralai, Kohlu, Quetta, Kalat, Khuzdar, Lasbela, Awaran, Naseerabad, Sibbi, Panjgur, and Turbat.
The department further highlighted that the showers can cause urban and flash flooding in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Peshawar. Separately, rainfall may trigger landslides in Murree, Swat, Chilas, Diamer, Gilgit, Hunza, Astore and Skardu.
Travelers and tourists have been advised to remain extra cautious during the forecast period, it added.