–Pakistan’s financial hub plunges into chaos with power cuts, streets under water and cell phone outages
KARACHI: Ten more people died in various rain-related incidents in Karachi on Friday, with the overall death toll during the three-day spell of torrential rains in the city rising to 40, police and officials said.
Major thoroughfares and roads in several parts of the city remain submerged in rainwater and many areas continue to face power outages, a day after the city was wrecked by record-breaking rains.
As rescue and relief operations continued to restore some semblance of normalcy to the metropolis, new losses of lives came to light.
As per details, a 14-year-old boy, Arshad, died after drowning in the inundated Clifton underpass near Do Talwar. His body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), according to Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director of the hospital.
Another boy, Khalilullah, drowned in the Polo Ground; his body was also brought to the JPMC.
According to an Edhi Foundation spokesperson, a 50-year-old man drowned in the inundated Punjab Chowrangi underpass on Thursday evening but his body was recovered on Friday.
The body of an unidentified man who drowned was found floating in a stream near Football Chowk in Hawksbay. The body was retrieved and shifted to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, the charity’s spokesperson added.
The official also said as many as 300 families who were stranded in rain accumulated water in New Nazimabad housing society were rescued by three teams of the charity in boats and shifted to safe locations.
The body of another unidentified drowned man in his 40s was recovered from a drain in North Nazimabad’s Block-L, a Chhipa spokesperson said. The body was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
The devastating rains in Karachi have left most parts of the city flooded with water and no electricity while a large number of people are stranded due to roads becoming impassable with all underpasses flooded with rainwater.
As water levels rose, the city’s electricity utility company shut down power to large parts of the metropolis in order to protect citizens from electrocution from malfunctioning wires or other machinery.
Video footage showed roads and walls being washed away by the force of water in several areas, as the city’s drains and sewage channels overflowed from the volume of water.
Motorists abandoned their cars on major roads and were forced to walk, as many vehicles were washed away by the flooding water.
The collapse of infrastructure also affected landline and cellular telephone networks, which began to fail on Thursday as the volume of use rose. The prolonged power failure in Karachi after heavy rains has also badly affected the communication network in the city as mobile towers are out of service in many areas due to unavailability of fuel to power the generators.
Subscribers of multiple networks reported being unable to connect to cellular data and calling/messaging services, leaving them in the dark regarding the well-being of loved ones.
The outages were doubly frustrating to some as K-Electric, the city’s only electricity supply utility, struggled to restore electricity to large parts of the city more than 20 hours after the first rain fell.
The national telecom regulator informed on Friday that cellular services in the city are not blocked and outages faced by users are due to the prolonged power breakdown.
The power utility, KE, meanwhile claimed that its teams were working to the best of their ability to deal with the current circumstances and restore electricity with limited available resources.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Army, Navy, Sindh Rangers and other civic agencies are busy draining the water and helping people affected during the rain-hit areas in Karachi.
Pak Army has established a Flood Emergency Control Centre to deal with flood-related emergencies while medical camps have also been established in the areas of Gulberg, Liaquatabad and New Karachi.
Also, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is continuing its rescue and relief operations in rain-affected areas of Karachi.
According to Spokesperson of NDMA Shazia Haris, these operations and drainage activities are being carried out by the Pak Army in collaboration with local civil administration. She said food, drinking water and other essential items are being provided to rain-affected people while 56 relief camps have also been established.
She said the NDMA also provided 3,000 tents to the Sindh government for rain-hit people.