Lahore turns into Venice


Lahore was inundated yet again after the torrential rain on Friday and a major traffic mess was observed all over the city as roads, markets and residential areas were submerged in water.
The aggressive fifth spell of the monsoon caused heavy downpour in the provincial capital flooding Lakshmi Chowk, GPO Chowk, Garhi Shaho, Mazang Chowngi, The Mall, Kalma Chowk, Qaddafi Stadium, Shadman, Rehmanpura, Liberty Market, Barkat Market, Samnabad, Chuhng, Kahna, Thokar Niaz Baig, Nishtar Colony, Islampura, Baghbanpura, City Courts, Wahdat Road, Ferozpur Road, MM Alam Road, Icchra and various other low lying areas of the city.
Citizens faced difficulty offering Friday prayers and fewer people were seen at mosques despite Ramadan as heavy rain kicked off in the city around 12.15pm. People said Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA)’s claims were exposed as the city was submerged for the second time in one week. They said they were hoping for better sanitation conditions this monsoon season but the city administration failed to cope with the situation. The Met Office said over 120 millimetres of rain was recorded in the city.
The WASA claimed all disposal stations remained active and Hamza Shahbaz was kept informed about the rainwater situation throughout the day. WASA officials said the rainwater was pumped out of all the roads on the northern side of the city by 6pm and the city-wide water removal operation was completed by 8pm. The WASA also claimed that its staff helped people drain water out of their houses manually and all the WASA machinery remained active throughout the city to pump water out. Lahore Commissioner Khawaja Jawad Rafique and Provincial Assembly Member Imran Nazir closely monitored the situation and visited various areas of the city during the day. Commuters also faced difficulty traveling as cars, rikshaws and motorbikes got clogged with rainwater. Dozens of vehicles were spotted out-of-order on various inundated roads across the city. Daewoo buses also had to wait for long hours as numerous water-clogged cars blocked Kalma Chowk.
Nasir, a citizen, said: “Today’s rain was horrifying. The whole city looks like a river.” He said bikers especially faced more difficulty commuting as they had no cover. Citizens said despite billions of rupees being spent on WASA’s machinery, no improvement in drainage was observed as the recent rains inundated the entire city. They asked for a better water removal policy in future. Residents of the low lying areas also complained about the situation saying safety of their furniture and other household items was at stake because of heavy rains and poor drainage system.