10 more die in rain-related incidents in Karachi

IMRAN AYUB KARACHI: At least 10 more people, including a girl and a young boy, died in rain-related incidents on Friday, as poor municipal services amid prolonged power outages wreaked havoc on the city. The rain continued to lash the metropolis on a second consecutive day when the death toll reached 12, with most of the deaths caused by electrocution. Almost the entire province received downpour on Saturday, with the maximum rainfall of 112 millimetres (almost five inches) being recorded in the second largest city of Sindh, Hyderabad. In Karachi, Landhi received the maximum rainfall of 47 millimetres (almost two inches). The city and other parts of the province may continue to receive showers on Sunday, according to the meteorological office.On Saturday, seven people died from electrocution in Karachi while three others died when the roof or a wall of their houses collapsed. The figures were shared with the media by the Edhi Foundation and Chippa Welfare Association whose ambulances moved the victims from different neighbourhoods to hospitals. In Gulshan-i-Maymar, 12-year-old Sana Badshah died from electrocution. Mohammad Abbas, 25, met the same fate in Gulistan-i-Jauhar. Faisal Majeed, 18, died in Korangi-4, Hyder Ali, 42, died in Orangi Town. Noman Naeem, 10, died after coming into contact with a broken electrical wire in Orangi Town’s Gulshan-i-Bihar. Two other people who died from electrocution in New Karachi and Jaudia Bazaar could not be unidentified. Three deaths were reported from Defence, Baldia Town and North Karachi where the downpour eroded weak structures. According to the Edhi Foundation spokesperson, 25-year-old Usama died in Defence, 32-year-old Javeria Tahir in Qaimkhani Colony of Baldia Town and 65-year-old Hamid Ali in North Karachi after the roof or a wall of their houses collapsed on Saturday. According to the Met Office, the city weather on Sunday is expected to remain partly cloudy to cloudy with chances of rain with thunderstorm. Responding to Dawn queries, a weatherman said Landhi received the maximum rainfall of 47 millimetres (almost two inches) while Gulshan-i-Hadeed received 45 millimetres of rainfall on Saturday. The airport area received 41mm rainfall, PAF Base Faisal received 40mm rainfall, Gulistan-i-Jauhar 34mm, University Road 34mm, North Karachi 32mm, Saddar 30mm and PAF Base Masroor received 26mm rainfall. He said: “Maximum temperature recorded in the city on Saturday was 30 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature was 24 degrees Celsius, while humidity – amount of moisture in the air – was recorded at 81 per cent,” The official added that the maximum temperature was expected to stay between 31 and 33 degrees Celsius on Sunday. The maximum rainfall across the province was recorded in Hyderabad (76mm), followed by Thatta (71.6mm) and Badin (48). In other parts of Sindh, the official said, Nawabshah received 31mm of rainfall, Padidan and Sukkur 26mm, Nagarparkar 25mm, Dadu 18mm, Mithi 13mm, Mirpurkhas 7mm, Tando Jan 6.6mm, Chhachhro 5mm, Jacobabad 4mm, Chhor and Larkana 2mm, while Moenjodaro received one-millimetre rainfall on Saturday. With the least relief and improvement in rain management system of the municipal authorities, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah himself chose to monitor the Karachi administration’s activities and at the same time showed his concern over the rain situation. “I am committed to restore Karachi as the City of Lights but all this would be possible when every citizen, irrespective of their socio-political or religious affiliation would come over and play their due role,” he told journalists while having a cup of tea at a roadside teashop near Empress Market where he stopped to monitor relief and rescue operations. He also inspected rainwater drainage work in other parts of the metropolis. “Yes, I need your help, Karachi is our home and it is our collective responsibility to keep our home neat and clean. I have issued very clear directives to the commissioner and administrator of Karachi to activate all the deputy commissioners, DMC administrators to be in the field along with their workers. I want to see your workers in the field. Also, I told them to activate complaint cells.” He said he would personally keep an eye on municipal services, development works, traffic issues and environmental and such other issues affecting day-to-day life. He also talked about the recently-planned programme for lifting and disposal of garbage that he said was expected to be started shortly. His promises, however, fell short of bringing quick relief to Karachi residents as many areas remained flooded due to poor drainage system and sewage overflow. Life in several towns, particularly the low-lying areas, came to a standstill, as people faced the devastation caused by the downpour. Sewage nullah overflow submerged Buffer Zone and Shadman Town, two major residential blocks of North Karachi, where residents were asked by the local administration to evacuate their houses for safer places. Amid the flooded areas, the electricity supply system failed to show any improvement on the second consecutive day as residents complained the power supply that was suspended on Friday evening was not restored till Saturday evening. However, the spokesman for the K-Electric claimed that their teams were working round the clock and the supply to most of the city areas were restored within a short of span of time. There was no detail about “most of the areas” where power supply was restored, as a number of residents from different districts called Dawn offices to share their sufferings due to prolonged power outages. The areas included Landhi, Shah Faisal Colony, Korangi, several blocks of Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Federal B Area and Orangi Town. The K-Electric found excuse in illegal connections saying that areas with such connection had high number of wires broken, which caused delays in restoration work, while ignoring the areas facing the same situation despite with least or no illegal connections. The KE spokesperson said: “The second spell of rain on Saturday morning caused tripping in some additional areas, including Garden, Clifton, Lyari, Gizri and some parts of North Karachi. “The power breakdown in the second spell of rain at Dhabeji and Gharo was again restored on a priority basis. During the second spell of rains, out of KE’s 1,450 feeders, only 200 feeders were affected that the KE rain emergency response teams have been able to immediately restore. In some areas the teams are dealing with the challenge of broken wires and standing water. The restoration work in these areas is being carried out with support and cooperation of town management.” Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2016