Karachi: Life virtually stopped in Karachi today as the day-long heavy monsoon rain caused catastrophic scenes in parts of the city. The lives and properties of residents in several low-lying areas are in severe danger due to the threat of flooding as the rickety drainage system of the provincial capital has almost collapsed.
It is the fourth consecutive day of rain in the current monsoon spell which has created disastrous conditions to the extent that the army has been deployed to rescue people and save low-lying suburban localities from flooding. The army-led National Disaster Management Authority has already been doing sanitation work in Karachi since the start of the month.
The Pakistan Navy also took part in rescue operations of Karachi floods and said it was using boats and other emergency equipment to conduct rescue operations where at least five people lost their lives in different rain-related mishaps. A wheelchair-bound polio-stricken woman died in a tragic incident in PECHS area as rainwater entered her home and she drowned her before any help could reach her. The Sindh government has declared a “Rain Flood Emergency” across the province which till 5 pm had received a maximum of 135 millimeters of rain that has inundated various residential localities and road networks in the city.
Till August 25th, Karachi(Karachi floods) has received 345mm rain in the current month as recorded at the PAF Base Faisal observatory of the Pakistan Meteorological Department. The previous record at the same observatory was of 298.4mm rain in 1984. Hub Dam, which is one the two main sources of bulk water supply to Karachi and located in nearby area of Balochistan, filled with rainwater to its maximum storage capacity of 339 feet. In previous years, water supply to Karachi from the Hub Dam was often suspended as it went dry.
Social media has been buzzing with pictures and video clips showing submerged roads and streets. One such video shows policemen standing on top of their van being rescued by citizens using a rope as heavy rainwater nearly submerges their vehicle on a service lane next to Sharea Faisal, one of the most famous roads in Karachi. People also shared pictures of KPT Underpass in the Clifton locality of Karachi which became submerged.
Scenes of a virtual catastrophe were witnessed across the city from posh neighborhoods such as Defence Housing Authority to the mostly low-lying shanty settlements in District West of Karachi, home to hundreds of thousands of poor people.
Television news channels aired alerts of people stuck in their vehicles urgently needing help as their vehicles broke down due to the flooded roads.
Electricity and cellular phone systems in the city were also badly affected adding to the problems.
“A situation of disaster has emerged owing to heavy rainfall in Karachi. Allah shows mercy on us as people living in mud houses have been facing hardships,” said the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.
He said that school buildings in the Malir locality of Karachi should be used for temporary shelter for people who had become trapped due to the overflowing of the Malir River. He asked the Provincial Disaster Management Authority to make emergency food and shelter arrangements for the disaster-hit people of the Malir area who would be housed in schools.
The CM a day earlier went on an emergency visit of seven districts of Sindh up to the desert town of Tharparkar near the Indian border to inspect the situation following the aftermath of heavy rain.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party-the ruling party of Sindh province telephoned the Sindh CM and directed him to take steps on an emergency basis to control the situation. He said that torrential rains continuing in the province broke 90-year-old rain records. He directed the Sindh CM to use all the available government machinery and resources to save low-lying areas from flooding and appealed to the political and civil society leaders to leave aside their mutual differences to render full support to the government and emergency organizations to rescue the calamity-hit people of the province.