As many as 19 people died in various rain-related incidents in the port city on Thursday, taking the tally of deaths during the three-day monsoon spell in the city to 30.
While blame games continue as authorities hesitate to take responsibility for the lack of monsoon infrastructure in the country’s largest city, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) wants all stakeholders to contribute in ameliorating the situation instead of politicising a “pure natural disaster”.
HOW MUCH HAS IT RAINED?
Meteorological officials said downpours in August have shattered the 89-year-old record for the city. Some 484mm (19 inches) of rain has fallen this month so far, 130mm on Thursday alone, they said.
According to data released by the Met Office, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Faisal Base recorded 130 millimetres of rain while Nazimabad has recorded 105.6mm since Thursday morning. Mausamiyat received 74.3mm of rain, while Saadi Town recorded 72mm. About 98.5mm of rain was recorded in PAF Masroor Base, Surjani received 73mm while Kemari recorded 82.5mm.
Many major arteries witnessed severe traffic jams. Power was suspended in several areas as a precautionary measure, a K-Electric spokesperson said.
Karachi Commissioner Muhammad Suhail Rajput urged people not to leave their homes during the spell which, according to a Met Office prediction, is expected to continue for another two days.
Videos and photos making rounds on social media showed submerged cars and motorcycles and water entering houses and buildings, wreaking havoc in the provincial capital.
Scores of social media users, including Federal Minister Ali Zaidi, posted videos and pictures showing Defence Housing Authority flooded with rainwater after heavy showers pounded the city for hours.
“This is DHA KHI,” Zaidi wrote on Twitter, adding, “Bang in front of my house- which is now partly flooded- but many homes in the neighborhood are under 4 feet of water”.
“May Allah have mercy on those who live in low lying areas of this city,” he said in another tweet.
“This is DHA Phase 6 Karachi. What is happening in the low-lying areas of KHI today is devastating yet once again. Testing times for Karachiites yet again! No doubt Allah tests those He loves the most,” he said in another tweet.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, in a tweet, said that Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan is monitoring the situation that has arisen in Karachi due to the torrential rains.
“Briefed PM Imran Khan over Sindh rain situation, Karachi needs special attention. This is an unusual and abnormal rain situation which requires an emergency response. PM is monitoring the situation and assured to take any action required,” tweeted Ismail.
The premier himself has also tweeted over the disastrous situation in the port city.
In a subsequent tweet, he said that a plan for a permanent solution to the problems facing the people of Karachi will also soon be announced.
RELIEF, RESCUE OPERATION CONTINUES:
In a statement, the military’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that many areas were inundated and people stranded due to heavy rains in various parts of Sindh.
An Army Flood Emergency Control Centre has been established in Karachi for assisting flood victims while a medical camp has been set up at the district centre of Gulberg, Liaquatabad and New Karachi for providing necessary medical care, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
It said the dewatering of more than 36 sites in Karachi had been completed while cooked meals covering 10,000 people had been distributed among flood victims in various areas.
The following telephone numbers can be contacted for immediate assistance by the army:
Meanwhile, army engineers completed the enhancement of the bund along M9 near the Northern Bypass to avoid flooding.
Army troops also filled a breach in the Malir River near Quaidabad, according to the ISPR. “Pakistan Army engineer boats are busy shifting people to safer places,” the statement said.
A relief and medical camp has also been established in Latifabad area of Hyderabad. Food was provided to the affected population while army engineers were busy in dewatering various areas, it added.
According to the ISPR, army troops “have been forwardly placed at Dadu for any eventuality and spillover at Nai Gaj Dam”.
The banks of Puran Nullah in tehsil Jhudo of Mirpurkhas district had been damaged due to heavy rains, as a result of which water entered the nearest five villages. However, the breach was plugged with the combined efforts of army troops and civil administration to stop the flow of water to these areas, the ISPR said.
The statement came a day after the army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, directed Karachi crops to step up flood relief operations.
Meanwhile, the personnel of Pakistan Rangers Sindh continued the relief and rescue operation in the rain-affected areas of Karachi in a coordinated manner.
According to the Rangers spokesperson, the Rangers constituted separate teams for relief and rescue work to carry out the operation in a faster manner while reserve teams were also present in various areas to deal with any kind of emergency.
Rations were also being distributed in the areas where food supply is low with the help of philanthropists.
Rangers asked the people to contact Rangers helpline 1101, Rangers check post or WhatsApp number 0347-9001111 for immediate assistance regarding rescue or relief.
Pakistan Navy’s rescue and relief operation also continued in various parts of the city during heavy spell of rain.
Pakistan Navy Emergency Response and rescue teams evacuated stranded people to safer places and recovered bodies being washed away in flash flood, a Pakistan Navy press release said.
In assistance to civil administration, Pakistan Navy Emergency Response teams along with boats and requisite life-saving equipment were deployed in different areas of the city, including Diamond City Malir, Shah Faisal Town, Korangi Crossing, Sammo goth and Bahria Town Karachi.
During search and rescue operations, Pakistan Navy divers recovered two dead bodies from Shah Faisal Town and Korangi crossing areas while 55 individuals were evacuated from flooded areas of Malir and Korangi crossing. Besides, Rescue teams have also evacuated 20 families stranded in Sammo Goth and shifted them to safe place.
Pakistan Navy’s helicopter conducted aerial recce of Korangi crossing, Quaidabad (Malir nadi), and Goth Shafi Muhammad while aerial recce with the help of a quadcopter was also carried out in Saddar Town in support of relief operations to localise individuals requiring assistance. Additionally, ration bags and cooked meal was also dropped at various areas.
FLIGHT SCHEDULE DISRUPTED:
Meanwhile, the flight schedule was disrupted at Jinnah International Airport Karachi due to rough weather and heavy rainfall. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced the suspension of a number of its flights on Thursday due to torrential rains in the port city.
A Lahore-bound private airline flight-522 and Islamabad bound PK-368 flight have been delayed, said the CAA spokesperson.
Moreover, Karachi to Faisalabad flight PK-540 and Lahore-bound Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flight PK-304 have also been delayed.
NETWORK OUTAGES AMID POWER BREAKDOWN:
The national telecom regulator informed on Friday that cellular services in the city were not blocked and outages faced by users were due to the prolonged power breakdown.
Speaking to Geo, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) spokesperson Khurram Mehran said, “Due to prolonged power failure in the city, many towers are out of service and their generators are shut because there’s no fuel to power them.”
Mehran said the blockages have nothing to do with Muharram security, as was being speculated in some circles.
The power utility, K-Electric, meanwhile claimed that its teams were working to the best of their ability to deal with the current circumstances and restore electricity with limited available resources.
“Many KE vehicles got stuck in flooded roads and streets across the city. Also, our staff is working in long shifts because relievers were unable to make it to service centers due to water logging,” the company said in a statement issued earlier today.
KE therefore warned that restoration work may take longer than expected time as the situation remains ‘difficult’.
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.