Karachi was plunged into chaos on Friday with power cuts, streets under water and cellphone outages caused by heavy rains as authorities said at least 47 people had been killed in downpours the previous day.
The Sindh government had declared a public holiday to avoid residents having to commute on Friday with II Chundrigar Road, home to the central bank, stock exchange and head offices of several banks, flooded.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah ordered schools be used to accommodate displaced families, whose homes had been damaged or were unreachable.
Among the victims, nine people, including four children, were killed when a wall collapsed on them after being struck by lightning in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. A 56-year-old disabled woman drowned at home, according to a hospital official.
Cellphone services were disrupted and much of the city was plunged in darkness overnight with the main power utility company K-Electric saying the “unprecedented situation” was hampering efforts to restore electricity.
Oil refinery Pakistan Refinery Ltd said in a notice to the stock exchange that it was suspending operations due to hazards created by floods.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department recorded 230.5mm of rain in Karachi on Thursday, the highest ever recorded in a single day. Rainfall in August is the highest since records began 89 years ago.
Addressing a press conference CM Murad said Prime Minister Imran Khan had assured the Sindh government of extending all-out assistance and cooperation to compensate the losses and carry out relief work in the affected areas.
Flanked by provincial ministers, Murad admitted that the residents had faced huge losses due to record-breaking rain, saying that the provincial government is making efforts to drain the rain water from submerged areas and many areas have been cleared out from the rain water.
Pakistan Army relief and rescue efforts continue to help flood victims as all areas of Karachi severely affected due to heavy rains disrupting civic life.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations, 32 medical camps have been established with civil administration in various areas including three army mobile hospital in Karachi’s Sarjani Town, Qayyumabad and Saadi Town and 56 relief camps have been established in coordination with civil administration to help stranded people. Dewatering carried out at nine locations. Pakistan Army troops are busy in shifting people to safer places and affected people stranded in various areas are being provided with food.
The military’s media wing said 50 bedded-hospital has been set up in Surjani area whereas scores of medical camps have been established in Lyari, Garden, Clifton, Kemari, Saddar, Gulberg, Kachi Abadi, Liaqatabad, District Malir, Dist Korangi and district East ( Gulzar-e-Hijri).
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Meteorological Department data showed that as much as 84mm of rain was received in the Gulshan-e-Hadeed area of Karachi between 11am and 2pm on Friday. Other parts of the city received little to no rain.
In an update on the power situation in the city, Karachi Electric said several areas were “inaccessible due to high water levels”. Power was restored in some areas, the company said, adding that its “teams are coordinating with relevant authorities to ensure swift power restoration to other locations”.
“Power will continue to remain closed until all standing water is cleared.”
Disruption in signals of several networks across the city was also reported, leading Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab to clarify that provincial authorities had not restricted the use of mobile phones for today.
“The restriction will only be in selected areas where Muharram processions take place on the 9th & 10th,” he said in a tweet.
At least 47 people were killed in the metropolis in various rain-related incidents, according to Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah. After rain stopped 18 hours ago, the vast majority of I.I.Chundrigar Road remains inundated. Defence Housing Authority’s Ittehad Commercial Area is also flooded.
In Naya Nazimabad, people were reported to have used boats to move from one area to another. Moreover, several areas of Clifton and PECHS are also submerged with underpasses still awaiting drainage of water
In New Karachi and Surjani Town, the streets and small alleyways are also choked with rainwater. Resultantly, due to the stagnant water, roads in the entire city have been dealt a great deal of damage.
The main arteries of Shahrah-e-Faisal and University Road, besides Gulbahar road have large patches where the road has completely sunk.
K-Electric, in a Twitter update, said that its teams are restoring power “where water level is receding and teams can access the locations”.
It said that close to 80% feeders have been “powered up” due to the efforts of field teams. The power supply company said that restoration in Defence, Clifton and Bahadurbad remains a challenge due to waterlogging. “With improved weather conditions and continued drainage and dewatering support from district authorities we will be able to continue our progress,” it said.
Meanwhile, at least nine people including two children were killed in three separate rain-related incidents in Punjab during last 24 hours. In Kot Radha Kishan, five people were killed as a roof of a house collapsed in Bhotan Poroman area, said rescue sources. The bodies were retrieved from the debris and were shifted to a nearby hospital for autopsy. Second roof collapse incident was reported in Gujranwala after heavy downpour. Rescue sources said two children lost their lives in Tehsil Wazirabad the roof caved in.