Torrential rains kill 23 in Pakistan’s Karachi

FARIDPUR, July 20, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Aerial photo shows flood-affected houses in Faridpur, Bangladesh, July 19, 2020. Floods triggered by heavy seasonal rains and onrush of water from hills have worsened again in parts of Bangladesh, including central Faridpur district, some 101 kilometers away from the capital Dhaka. (Xinhua)

An ongoing rain spell in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi has left at least 23 people killed, dozens injured and scores of others homeless, local media and officials said on Friday.

The spell of torrential monsoon rains started in Sindh province, where the commercial hub is located, on Monday, affecting many districts, but Karachi was the worst hit where the whole of the residential colonies and markets in some areas were submerged in rainwater.

Ghulam Nabi Memon, police chief of the city, told the media that 23 people were killed in the city since Monday in separate rain-related incidents of roof collapse, drowning in the flash floods triggered off by the rains, electrocution and road accidents.

Owing to the bad weather condition, the provincial government announced holiday on Friday across Sindh after hundreds of people remained stranded in offices or roads for hours amid rising rain water and flash floods on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah imposed a “rain emergency” in the city, saying that “all low lying areas of the city have been inundated by water” and they are making best of their efforts to rescue people during the calamity.

As most of the incidents of accumulation of rain water in streets happened due to clogging of water drainages, Shah said the concerned department is trying to drain out the stagnated water from the affected areas.

Electricity supply was also disrupted in parts of the city as authorities had to suspend power to over 900 feeders to avoid electrocution incidents. Several substations, grid stations and power plants, were also impacted by the rising water levels, resulting in blackouts in the city.

Local TV channels reported about washing away of hundreds of houses along Lyari and Malir rivers of the city, rendering scores of people homeless. The chief minister also confirmed that many people became homeless after streams passing through the city overflowed due to rains. He said the government has arranged a temporary stay for the homeless in state-owned schools.

Teams of Pakistani army and navy also assisted the civil administration in rescue work. The military said in a statement on Thursday that an “Army Flood Emergency Control Center” has been established in the city for assisting flood victims, and a medical camp is also operating in the city for providing necessary medical care to the injured people.

“Dewatering of more than 36 sites in Karachi has been completed. Cooked meal over 10,000 people distributed among flood victims in various areas,” a statement by the military’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations said, adding that the army teams were also working on dewatering several sites in the city including grid stations, and filling breaches in the water reservoirs to save the residential colonies settled in adjoining areas.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department said that the ongoing spell has broken years-long record of August monsoon rains in the city. The weather office predicted more rains in the city till Monday, but their intensity is expected to slow down from Saturday.

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