KARACHI       -     At least 11 people were killed in two days of rain in the city, dampening Eid celebrations of Karachiites.

According to Met Office, the city received rainfall up to 200mm that caused urban flooding and exposed tall claims of civic authorities under federal, provincial and local governments of tackling the expected rain in the city.

The most unfortunate part of the rain other than miseries for masses due to stagnant water in almost all parts of the city during first day of Eid was deaths of at least 11 people from rain-related incidents.

Out of 11 deaths, nine occurred due to electrocution which also included a heart-wrenching incident in Defence Housing Authority (DHA), where three friends riding on motorbike died after electrocuted from an electric pole.

The incident that was also recorded by eye-witnesses happened when three young man were on way their way to K-Electric office to launch complain of power outage when they touched a broken wire from a pole at Khayaban-e-Shahbaz in DHA. Initially two of them were electrocuted and as soon as the third one came to their rescue, he was also electrocuted.

The deceased were identified as 21-year-old Talha Tanveer, 22-year-old Faizan Saleem and 22-year-old Hamza Tariq Butt. Three of them hailed from Gujrat and were living in a same apartment.

They hailed from Gujrat in Punjab province. The funeral prayers of three were offered on Eid day at Masjid e Tooba in Clifton Cantonment area that was also attended by JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem and other political leaders. Later their bodies were sent to Gujrat for burial. 

A case was also registered against the KE higher ups over deaths in DHA area on the complaint of Mayor Karachi and one of the relative of the victim.

The power utility K-Electric although expressed grief over deaths from electrocution but shifted the blamed of deaths on other reasons. The power utility said it was “extremely grieved and saddened by the tragic incidents of electrocutions in the city which are a result of rains and urban flooding”.

It added: “The KE management would like to state that the initial investigations suggest that seven, being the majority of these unfortunate incidents occurred either inside homes or buildings due to internal wiring issues, motors and pumps or were a result of non-KE infrastructure such as kunda wires, or hanging lights”. It stressed that it was “investigating all recent events including the ones reported from DHA to ascertain the underlying causes” as it was “a responsible corporate citizen”.

The KE, however, noted: “Our sympathies go out to the families of the deceased.”

EID FESTIVITIES MARRED BY STAGNANT WATER, DEATHS

The Eid festivities in the city were also marred as most parts of the city remained submerged, restricting masses from offering prayers in open grounds, sacrificing their animals and meeting relatives.

A resident of PCSIR Society in Scheme 33 area of the city, Muhammad Kashif, said that their society was submerged as a large amount of water suddenly entered their society a night before Eid day, forcing them to move their sacrificial animals to a nearby under construction building.

“We spent our Eid day in our house and were even not able to offer prayers, meet relatives and perform our Islamic ritual of sacrificing animal,” he said. Residential areas in major parts of the city including cantonment areas also witnessed submerged roads with water entering into houses and damaging infrastructure.

POWER OUTAGES

The K-Electric once again failed to control power outages in the city as most of the city including cantonment areas and water pumping and other key government facilities witnessed long and brief periods of power outages in the city during and after rainfall.

Some parts of the city even witnessed power outages over 48 hours as the K-E authorities failed to overcome local faults.

CM, PROVINCIAL AUTHORITIES VISIT CITY

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said the city has received 200 mm rainfall which is something devastating, despite the fact he, his cabinet members and entire government machinery, including local bodies, water board and other civic agencies worked day and night and successfully dewatered major areas of the city but “I am sorry to say some detractors continuously kept criticizing the government and civic agencies just to take away the credit of our services.”

The government doesn’t need the credit of some self-praising, detractors and pseudo-intellectuals but it was our duty and we did our best to control the situation and mitigated public sufferings.

This he said while talking to media just after offering Eid Namaz at Jamia Masjid Mohammad Yousif Merchant at Commissioner House on Monday morning. He was accompanied by Minister Local Government Syed Nasir Shah, his advisor Murtaza Wahab, Special assistant Rashid Rabbani, Commissioner Karachi and others.

He said that 200 mm rainfall was not a joke and it had inundated the flat, upper area areas and what had happened in low-lying areas he had personally witnessed and got them de-watered by standing deep into two-feet water. “I along with my cabinet members is working in the -rain affected districts of Karachi and Hyderabad division from last three days,” he said. Mr Shah repeated his earlier stance that Karachi has lost its natural storm water drains. “Being located in the lap of Khirthar range, the city not only receives the rain which downpours within its extent but it also receives hill torrents which used to drain out into the sea through natural nadi and nalas in the past,” he said and added “now those rivers and drains have turned into residential societies and colonies,” he said.

Mr Shah deplored that to criticize the government was very easy but to find out the solutions and to work in the field was quite difficult. “We can take a bulldozer to bulldoze all the societies, apartments, residential towers and bungalows to restore old waterways but it would cause a major displacement and dislocation of hundreds of thousands of people/residents and destroy their investments, therefore we are exploring other ways and means to construct a new nala or ring-storm water drain to cater to the requirement of the entire city,” he said and added a hydraulic survey of the city would be conducted and then a scheme of nala would be made.

Mr Shah said that he has visited major parts of the city where water had accumulated and he personally installed truck-mounted suction machines and got them cleared for the convenience of the people. “I have tried my best to clear the areas where Eid Namaz congregations are held but the extent these congregations were held on last Eid could not be held this time,” he deplored. The chief minister said that the heavy rains have lashed coastal belt, therefore he visited cities and towns of both the divisions of Karachi and Hyderabad and met with people, witnessed their plight, carried out relief work and assured them that they would not be left alone.

Shah has urged local bodies and district administration to keep the city cleaning from foals of sacrificed animals etc and sprinkle anti-bacterial chemicals to avoid spread of epidemics. He also directed DMCs to start fumigation in the areas of nalas, low-lying portions and overall in the city to control malaria, dengue and other mosquito-borne disease.  

GOVT REPRESENTATIVES TAKE PART IN CLEARING WATER

Volunteers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and others who are part of the Clean Karachi initiative- under Federal Minster for Ports and Shipping Ali Zaidi- remained active on ground to clear water from parts of the city. Prime Minister Imran Khan also directed the MNAs and MPAs of the party to remain on ground to help the masses on Eid day.

The party lawmakers were also witnessed working in their constituencies to clear water.

Mayor Karachi Waseem Akher was also on roads along with his team to clear Karachi roads from city. He also blamed the provincial authorities for lack of their will to serve the city that resulted in urban flooding situation in the city.