Ten more people died in various rain-related incidents in Karachi on Friday, police and officials said, with the overall death toll during the three-day spell of torrential rains in the city rising to 40.
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.
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.
Moreover, the body of an unknown man in his mid-20s was found floating in a creek near Korangi Crossing which was shifted to hospital, the official added.
A 21-year-old man, identified as Taimur Yacoob, drowned in a drain in Manzoor Colony. His body was shifted to the JPMC.
The body of another young man who died after drowning in a drain in Liaquatabad on Thursday was recovered today.
Three people died due to electrocution, including a man in the Defence Housing Authority and an 18-year-old woman, who suffered an electric shock in Qayyumabad. Her body was shifted to the JPMC to fulfil legal formalities.
Police said that a 30-year-old security guard, Javaid, was found dead inside a house in DHA Phase IV. The body was shifted to the JPMC where doctors confirmed that he had died of an electric shock.
A resident named Saleem Nazeer told Dawn that his brother Waseem, 34, and mother had travelled from Usmania Colony to Korangi to offer condolences over the death of a relative on August 25. They were riding a motorcycle when strong waves of water swept them away from a stream in Korangi and their whereabouts were still not known. He urged the authorities to make efforts to locate his family members to end their anxiety.
Also on Friday, at least 10 families were rescued and moved to safe locations after the Orangi nullah overflowed, according to Karachi Commissioner Dr Sohail Rajput. The commissioner said that more than 8,000 rain-affected people of districts West, Malir and Central were being provided food at their homes or relief camps.
At a press conference, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that the five spells of heavy rains this monsoon season have so far claimed 80 lives, including 47 in Karachi.
Power outages made worse by network disruptions
Pakistan Meteorological Department data showed that as much as 84mm of rain was received in the Gulshan-e-Hadeed area of Karachi between 11am and 2pm on Friday. Other parts of the city received little to no rain.
In an update on the power situation in the city, Karachi Electric said several areas were “inaccessible due to high water levels”.
The company further said that many of its vehicles on their way to areas such as DHA and Surjani, which are among the worst affected areas of the city, remain stranded.
Power was restored in some areas, the company said, adding that its “teams are coordinating with relevant authorities to ensure swift power restoration to other locations”.
“Power will continue to remain closed until all standing water is cleared.”
In the evening, KE shared a letter written by its CEO to DHA and Clifton Cantonment authorities, urging them to “ensure urgent dewatering and drainage so KE teams can restore power”.
It said urban flooding remained the biggest challenge to power restoration. “Even after mobilising additional resources including equipment, vehicles and field teams, we are unable [to reach] locations.”
Disruption in signals of several networks across the city was also reported, leading Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab to clarify that provincial authorities had not restricted the use of mobile phones for today.
“The restriction will only be in selected areas where Muharram processions take place on the 9th & 10th,” he said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, a spokesman of cellular company Mobilink (Jazz) said the infrastructure in several areas of the city was damaged from flooding due to which services were disrupted.
The company said technical teams were working to repair infrastructure and that services will be resumed as soon as possible.
Replying to citizens on Twitter, Telenor said that services had been affected due to “maintenance activity” being carried out in the city.
Ufone also said that services had been affected due to the rainfall. “Rest assured our teams are working around the clock to restore services for you, as soon as possible,” the company said.
Will visit Karachi next week, says PM
Later in the day, during a National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan told Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah that he will visit Karachi next week.
“I will sit with you to draw up a complete plan to help Sindh government,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by a statement released by Sindh CM House.
Chief Minister Shah thanked the prime minister for calling him and offering assistance. Shah said that Karachi had faced a “disaster” and added that rains had affected almost the entire Sindh province.
CM chides affected residents for encroachments
Earlier, Chief Minister Shah headed out on a tour of Karachi, visiting Nursery, Rashid Minhas Road and Yar Mohammad Goth among other areas, where he was briefed about the water drainage situation.
On his visit to Yar Mohammad Goth, the chief minister heard complaints of power outages and other issues being faced by the residents.
Shah also chided the people for “building houses in the belly of the Malir River”.
“The entire city is sinking because of your encroachments,” he said. “You blocked Malir River in the name of Agha Town”.
During his visit to Nursery, residents told Shah that the drainage system was badly affected due to construction on the right side of Sharae Faisal.
The chief minister instructed the managing director of the Water Board to review the city’s master plan and submit a report on the matter. Shah said he wanted to know which of the buildings had affected water drainage in the metropolis.
The CM was told that the drainpipe crossing Rashid Minhas road, which has caved in due to rain, has “contracted” resulting in the flooding of Drigh Road underpass. Officials said the underpass would be cleared of water as soon as it was drained by the pipe.
The chief minister also directed authorities to repair the road in question.