Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Heavy rain causes urban flooding, and power outages in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi

Heavy rainfall in Karachi, which began on February 3 and persisted into the next day, led to widespread chaos causing urban flooding, and power outages in Pakistan’s largest city.

Three individuals tragically lost their lives, with many more sustaining injuries as the city’s weak infrastructure struggled to cope with the flash flooding.

Among the casualties, a father of five, Syed Fakhre Alam, tragically drowned after falling into a rainwater-filled nullah in Baldia-2. Another victim, Bashir Khan, succumbed to drowning in accumulated rainwater in Manghopir. A third individual, Dilawar Ahsan, lost his life to an electric shock in Lines Area.

Despite claims of swift action by city authorities, roads, underpasses, and low-lying neighborhoods remained inundated, posing significant challenges to residents and commuters alike.

Thousands of motorists found themselves stranded as roads turned into waterways, forcing them to abandon their vehicles and navigate through the flooded streets on foot.  

“If anyone shares videos of flooded streets in the developed world as a response to this, I will absolutely go crazy. It’s a one-off occasion there. It’s business as usual here. Why must Karachi flood every time it rains?” one internet user expressed their frustration while reacting to a video depicting vehicles submerged in rainwater at Karachi’s major boulevard, Shahrah-e-Faisal.

Flight operations disturbed

Additionally, flight operations were severely impacted, with approximately 20 flights canceled since Saturday evening due to adverse weather conditions.

The intensity of the rainfall, unusual for February according to the Meteorological Department, brought back a cold wave to Karachi. PAF Masroor Base recorded the highest rainfall, receiving 83 millimeters by Sunday afternoon.

The situation was exacerbated by the lack of traffic police presence on the roads, leading to chaotic traffic conditions and further complicating the rescue and relief efforts. While Mayor Murtaza Wahab praised the efforts of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) workers in addressing the crisis, caretaker Chief Minister Maqbool Baqar expressed dissatisfaction with the overall disaster management operations.

During a meeting at CM House, Justice Baqar criticized the absence of DIG Traffic and highlighted the failure of the traffic police to manage the situation effectively. He also reprimanded the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) for delays in responding to the crisis and directed them to improve coordination with local bodies.

Widespread power outages

Furthermore, power outages were reported in several parts of the city following the heavy rainfall. Karachi Electric (KE) assured that power supply was gradually restored to affected areas, following safety protocols and clearance from field teams.

“As per emergency safety protocols, power supply to low-lying areas or those with a high prevalence of kundas was temporarily suspended. These were gradually energised once weather subsided, following clearance from field teams. KE teams remain in close contact with city authorities,” said the statement issued by the power utility.

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