July 14, 2022
ISLAMABAD – Karachi is bracing for another spell of heavy monsoon showers and possible flooding after braving a deadly and destructive period of deluge during Eidul Azha, according to a Met Office forecast.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said on Wednesday that “another strong monsoon low-pressure area” was likely to approach Sindh on Thursday (July 14) and persist till Monday (July 18).
“Under the influence of this weather system, widespread rain-thunderstorms with few heavy/very heavy falls are likely to occur in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Tharparkar, Tando Mohammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Naushero Feroz, Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Jacobabad, Qambar-Shahdadkot, Dadu, Jamshoro, Shikarpur, Ghotki and Kashmore districts between July 14 and July 18,” the Met Office predicted.
Moreover, it said, parts of Thatta, Badin, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas and Tharparkar might witness rain/thunderstorm today (Wednesday).
The Met Office warned that heavy falls may cause flooding and water logging in Karachi’s low-lying areas, as well as those of Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Dadu, Jamshoro, Nawabshah, Jacobabad, Larkana and Sukkur.
“Persistent heavy spell may trigger hill torrents/flash flooding along and downstream Kirthar range,” it further cautioned.
According to the Met Office, sea conditions will also remain “rough to very rough” from July 15-17.
Therefore, it asked all relevant authorities to remain alert/ vigilant and take necessary measures in this regard.
Separately, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman also shared a rain update on her Twitter, saying: “Sindh & Balochistan still under heavy monsoon pressure for the last 13 days. Sindh is 625 per cent above the 30-year average, Balochistan 501.”
The minister added that the Met Office had now predicted a “further rise in heavy rainfall starting tomorrow. Again the weather cycle will focus on Sindh, Balochistan for hi[gh] precipitation”.
Sindh & Balochistan still under heavy monsoon pressure for the last 13 days. Sindh is 625 % above the 30 year average,Balochistan 501. @pmdgov reports a further rise in heavy rainfall starting tomorrow. Again the weather cycle will focus on Sindh,Balochistan for hi precipitation pic.twitter.com/LzXsSvhB6d
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) July 13, 2022
Meanwhile, the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) has set up rain emergency camps to deal with rain-related situations.
The CBC has also setup a helpline, 1262, which citizens may call for assistance.
K-Electric, Karachi’s sole power utility, can also be approached on helpline numbers 118 and (021) 99000 for assistance and complaints related to the suspension of electricity supply and other matters.
Death and paralysis
The measures come after relentless rains battered Karachi on Monday and Tuesday, claiming several lives, leaving the city’s streets submerged in water, causing damage to its infrastructure, severely affecting mobility and nearly paralysing the city.
According to data compiled by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and Sindh police, 55 people have died in the province, including 37 in Karachi alone, in the weeklong monsoon spell from July 4 to July 12.
On Sunday, the Sindh government imposed a rain emergency in Karachi after several areas and main roads across the city remained submerged in rainwater.
Nullahs in Orangi Town and Korangi overflowed and entered houses. II Chundrigar Road, DHA, Sharae Faisal, University Road, NIPA Chowrangi, and Qayyumabad Chowrangi were among the roads flooded with waist-high water, leaving people and cars stranded for hours.
Earlier today, a statement issued by Karachi Commissioner Iqbal Memon said he had visited various areas of the city and directed relevant authorities to work on an “emergency basis” to clear roads of rainwater.
He directed them to “employ the entire machinery” for the purpose.
Separately, Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said in a statement that he, too, had visited different areas of the city and reviewed the work under way for restoring the infrastructure and draining water.
The minister assured that the Submarine Chowrangi underpass would be opened for traffic by tonight.
He said water pumps would also be provided to DHA and cantonment authorities to help with clearing areas under them of rainwater as well.
Following heavy rainfall on Sunday night and Monday, there were also reports of power supply suspension, mainly from the city’s South district.
According to a Dawn report, the power breakdown also caused cellular service suspension in the south district in the early hours of Monday.
For its part, K-Electric cited flooding as the reason behind a delay in power supply restoration. By Tuesday evening, it claimed to have restored supply “to most parts of the city”.
“Wherever possible power has been restored however, few parts of DHA remain severely water logged like Bukhari Commercial seen below (as of 10:00 PM 12th July). Power in inundated areas expected to be restored once water recedes to safe operating levels,” K-Electric spokesperson Imran Rana tweeted.
Wherever possible power has been restored however few parts of DHA remain severely water logged like Bukhari Commercial seen below (as of 10:00 PM 12th July). Power in inundated areas expected to be restored once water recedes to safe operating levels. pic.twitter.com/APgcRioam9
— Imran Rana, Spokesperson, K-Electric (@imranrana21) July 12, 2022
Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended “every possible support” to the Sindh government to deal with the worsening situation in Karachi.
“Just spoke to CM Syed Murad Ali Shah.. Deeply saddened by the tragic losses due to torrential rains in Karachi. I am confident that the Sindh government will rise to the occasion and bring life back to normal under the able leadership of CM Sindh. [I] Have offered to extend every possible support,” he tweeted.
Just spoke to CM Syed Murad Ali Shah. Deeply saddened by the tragic losses due to torrential rains in Karachi. I am confident that Sindh govt will rise to the occasion & bring life back to normal under the able leadership of CM Sindh. Have offered to extend every possible support
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 11, 2022
He later also asked authorities to closely monitor measures taken in Sindh, Balochistan and south Punjab to cope with the impending threat of another spell of torrential rains.
Opposition lashes out at Sindh govt
Meanwhile, the opposition in Sindh unanimously held the PPP government responsible for the misery witnessed during the week-long monsoon spell, with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, threatening to sever all ties with the PPP and PML-N in the Centre.
In the latest rebuke, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh lashed out at the Sindh government over what he described as its failure to clean Karachi’s nullahs.
Speaking to the media, he questioned where were the funds issued for the purpose spent.
“The local government department was issued Rs1,020 billion during the past 14 years. But neither any sewerage line were laid nor were nullahs cleaned, ” he said, adding that an audit had unearthed irregularities worth Rs227bn in the department.
The opposition leader went on to say that “DHA has drowned because of the occupation of the Malir nullah”.
Showing the video of a party to media persons, he alleged that funds issued to deal with the rain-related situations had been spent on a pool party instead.
CM defends govt performance
For his part, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah defended his government’s performance, saying that Karachi had witnessed an unprecedented rainfall of 136mm or five inches within 12 hours (8pm to 8am on Sunday-Monday). And then after a little break it started again till 11am, he added.
“Our stormwater disposal system is not designed for such a heavy downpour; therefore, the system could not cater to the situation and on top of it the Arabian Sea was in a state of high tide, therefore our storm water drains could not discharge the accumulated rainwater into it,” he said on Monday while talking to media at CM House.
Along similar lines, Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab posted on Twitter today that there was a “limit to what any system can cater to”.
“If it rains over a period of time with breaks we should be in a better position. I have seen the Naalaas (sic) work, it’s just that the quantum was more than its capacity. Insha’Allah we will try our best,” he added.
There is a limit to what any system can cater to. If it rains over a period of time with breaks we should be in a better position. I have seen the Naalaas work its just that the quantum was more than its capacity. Insha’Allah we will try our best
— Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui (@murtazawahab1) July 13, 2022
Sindh Information Minister Sarjeel Memon, in what seemed like a move to counter the criticism being directed at the Sindh government over its inability to deal with the rain situation, shared videos of journalists showing a bird’s eye view of the city in a helicopter and giving updates mainly on routes that had been cleared of rainwater.
Kamran Sohail from Neo Tv also visited karachi today. pic.twitter.com/KmvxzBJKPW
— Sharjeel Inam Memon (@sharjeelinam) July 12, 2022
The provincial minister also shared news reports from the past, highlighting the inability of past governments to salvage Karachi from rain-related destruction and chaos.
2007 rain report while MQM’s Mustafa Kamal was the Mayor of karachi. 👉Storm leaves Karachi in chaos: Death toll mounts to 200 https://t.co/F140IMiC3h
— Sharjeel Inam Memon (@sharjeelinam) July 13, 2022
Two killed, one injured in Rawalpindi
Meanwhile, a woman and child died and a boy was injured in rain-related incidents in Rawalpindi on Wednesday, according to updates issued by Rescue 1122.
Rescue 1122 said a 12-year-old boy was killed as the roof of a house collapsed in the garrison city’s Adiala area.
The update said the rain affected four kutcha houses in area, causing the roof of one to collapse. In the same area, the update added, three cows fell off a rooftop and one of them died.
Meanwhile, a woman died in the city’s Jinnah colony after rainwater flooded houses there, Rescue 1122 said.
Separately, a three-year-old boy. along with a part of his house, was swept away by water in a nullah.
The last update issued by Rescue 1122 said area residents took the boy out of the nullah and shifted him to a hospital.
According to the boy’s father, Naeem, his son was in the intensive care unit and in critical condition.