Rain exposes Karachi administration’s ‘emergency preparations’

M. Waqar Bhatti & Oonib Azam
Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022

The Karachi administration’s preparations to deal with rain-related issues were exposed after Tuesday’s monsoon showers, which left all the major thoroughfares and other roads inundated.

Different areas continued to receive moderate to heavy showers under the influence of an active monsoon system that is causing heavy rains all over the country, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), which forecast more intermittent showers on Wednesday (today) and Thursday (tomorrow).

“Monsoon currents are penetrating in the country, and under their influence many cities and towns in Sindh received moderate to heavy rains on Tuesday. Karachi also received light to moderate showers, while some areas, including DHA, received some heavy falls,” said Sindh’s Chief Meteorological Officer Dr Sardar Sarfaraz.

PMD officials said rain started in different city areas in the afternoon, and this time the areas that had not received any significant amount of rain, such as DHA, Saddar, the PAF’s Masroor and Faisal bases, and Keamari, also received light to moderate showers, causing an accumulation of water on different thoroughfares and arteries.

Some areas, including the suburbs, which had received heavy showers a day earlier, only received drizzle or trace rain, said the officials, adding that the downpour played havoc with the traffic, power and sewerage systems.

PMD officials said DHA Phase-II had received the maximum amount of rain (43.2mm), followed by the PAF Base Masroor (33mm), the PAF Base Faisal (23.3mm), Keamari (12.4mm) and Nazimabad (12mm).

PMD officials warned that under the influence of the prevailing weather system, rain with wind and thunder showers with isolated heavy falls are expected in different areas of the city for two more days.

Situation on ground

Sharea Faisal, one of Karachi’s busiest thoroughfares, was flooded with rainwater and caused a traffic jam for hours. Saddar and II Chundrigar Road, the city’s business hubs, were submerged. The accumulation of rainwater on Korangi Road hampered the movement of traffic.

Due to rainwater at the Korangi Crossing, traffic was diverted towards another route, which disrupted the traffic movement of the entire area and commuters found themselves stuck on the road for hours.

Qayyumabad Chowrangi towards the Baloch Colony flyover through the expressway was completely inundated with rainwater, and the traffic movement was at a standstill for hours.

Traffic jams were reported at the Clifton underpass, Teen Talwar, Do Talwar and the Submarine underpass. Traffic stopped moving around 5pm at Club Chowk, the Metropole and the Shaheen Complex. Commuters on their way back home remained stuck on the road for hours.

The roads in front of the Sindh Assembly and the Arts Council were flooded, causing a traffic gridlock. Rainwater could not be drained from University Road, Rashid Minhas Road, MA Jinnah Road and Sher Shah Suri Road, completely stopping traffic. A huge pothole developed on Manghopir Road and halted the traffic movement.

Hina Fatima wanted to leave her office on II Chundrigar Road at around 5:30pm. “But there was water everywhere. It was normal rain, but there was water on every other street,” she said, adding that she could not leave until 8pm, by which time the water had drained and the traffic congestion had eased.

Even Commercial Avenue in DHA Phase-IV was flooded and the traffic was at a halt for hours. One of the locals shared with The News how rainwater could not be drained until 8pm. The Islamabad-bound Allama Iqbal Expressway and the Karachi-bound Awami Express were also delayed due to the rain.

Administration’s efforts

The city’s administrator, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, directed Karachi Metropolitan Corporation officials to ensure immediate drainage of water accumulated on roads due to the rain. He said that steps should be taken to prevent the water from entering people’s homes.

Wahab said that local government institutions must immediately install pumps to provide instant relief to the locals. He and other officials visited Sharea Faisal, Rashid Minhas Road, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Nipa Chowrangi, Gulshan-e-Chowrangi, Gulshan-e-Maymar, Ahsanabad, Sohrab Goth and other areas to monitor the situation.

The administrator said that he and all his relevant officers were out on the roads and the process of draining rainwater was under way. He said rainwater was flowing in all the major canals, and every possible measure was being taken for drainage.

He said that concrete steps were being taken because the monsoon season would continue until the end of August. “Pumps, heavy machinery and personnel have been deployed in different parts of Karachi to start the drainage process in any area where rainwater accumulates.”

He also visited the Metropole, Shaheen Complex, PIDC and other areas to monitor the situation. He said that pumps had been installed for draining the low-lying areas, adding that the roads would be cleared soon.

‘Uninterrupted’ power

Electricity supply to several areas was suspended, which added to the people’s miseries. Outages were reported in Baldia Town, Orangi Town, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Maymar, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Surjani Town, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, North Karachi, DHA, Clifton, Korangi, Federal B Area, PIB Colony, Soldier Bazaar and Saddar.

K-Electric, however, claimed in its press statement that they had ensured uninterrupted power supply to major areas during the rain. “Utility teams remained vigilant while monitoring the situation throughout the intermittent weather conditions and maintained the stability of KE’s power supply network round the clock.”

KE said that during the latest rain, not more than 100 of the 1,900 plus feeders within their network had been affected, majority of which were temporarily powered down due to caution in the areas where illegal connections or standing water could pose a threat. They said power was restored to those areas immediately after receiving clearance from the ground teams.