KARACHI - Monsoon downpour accompanied by thunderstorm that lashed the city on Monday night claimed 18 lives.

As the Metrological Department had forecasted, the entire city was lashed by furious thunderstorm, leading to panic on the roads, resulting in power outages and uprooting hundreds of trees, billboards, electricity poles and wires.

Around 18 people, including five women, lost their lives while several others were wounded in rain-related incidents across the metropolis.

Out of total 18, 10 died due to electric shock while eight others died in incidents of wall collapse while no death was reported from drowning, Edhi Foundation and Chhipa officials said.

Most of the incidents occurred in District Central and West of the city.

Numerous roads of the metropolis were flooded and several areas were left without electricity.

Two people were killed after wall of their residential quarter collapsed near Bab-e-Khyber in SITE area. Heavy machinery was called to the site in the aftermath of the incident and the rescuers retrieved the bodies from under the debris. The dead were later shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) where they were identified as Tanvir, 32, and Babu, 31.

SHO Amir Memon said that a small residential quarter was situated at the upper floor of a flower shop which collapsed due to the rain, adding that no more body was under the debris now.

In yet another incident, two siblings died after roof of their house caved in near Disco Morr in New Karachi. The victims were identified as 14-year-old Maryam and Junaid, 12. Their bodies were shifted to ASH where their family received them and took them away without medico-legal formalities.

A married woman, namely Hajira, 28, wife of Abdul Latif, died after a roof of her house fell on her at Faqira Goth at Super Highway. Also in the same area, a man, who was later identified as 56-year-old Manzur, died after roof of his house caved in near Jamali Goth.

A young man who is yet to be identified was killed after wall of his house fell on him at Kaniz Fatima Society in Surjani neighbourhood.

Similarly, a 14-year-old boy who is also yet to be identified reportedly died after a sign board at a cattle market on Super Highway fell on the road.

An eighteen-year-old Bisma, daughter of Pir Shah, was electrocuted inside her house at Old Golimar area in Pak Colony. Her body was shifted to ASH.

Similarly, Ruqayya, 35, wife of Manzur, died due to electrocution while working inside her house at Rasheedabad area in Khawaja Ajmair Nagri.

In North Nazimabad, 45-year-old Fatima, wife of Muhammad Jan, was electrocuted inside her house. Her body was shifted to ASH.

Similarly, two young motorcyclists lost their lives in Garden when they fell into stagnant water in which a broken electric wire was already there. Their bodies were shifted to Civil Hospital, Karachi.

One more man, identified as 45-year-old Maazullah, died due to electrocution at Khamiso Goth in New Karachi.

Likewise a teenage boy, identified as Ramiz, was electrocuted as he came into contact with a broken electric wire in Rizvia.

In yet another incident, a young man, namely Rustam, received electric shock and died at Sector 5-E in New Karachi.

Similarly, 45-year-old Kaleemullah was electrocuted after he received a shock from a broken live wire at Bhangoria Goth in Azizabad.

Aslam, 22, son of Naeem, received electric shock at Madina Colony in New Karachi. His body was shifted to ASH.

A 45-year-old Aslam, son of Ghulam Muhammad, also fell victim to electrocution in Block 18 in Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Power Cut

The dilapidated infrastructure of K-Electric was again exposed on Monday night, as major part of the port city experienced power suspension during the rain. The affected areas included Shah Faisal Town, Gulistan-e-Johar, FB Area, Malir, Airport, University Road, Defence, Safoora Goth, II Chundrigar Road and Gurumandir. K-Electric officials informed that around 300 feeders tripped.

Hurdles

Electric wires, trees and poles fell into rainwater in most of the areas, posing dangers to the lives of people, while municipal authorities estimate that at least 800 trees were uprooted in various parts of the city; thereby causing blockages and traffic jams.

Dozens of billboards also came crashing down on main arteries of the city.

It is worth pointing out here that billboards still exist in most of the areas despite the court orders to the contrary.

CM’ response to power cut

Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah has taken notice of the poor performance of K-Electric following heavy downpour in the city. "Why was KE unprepared for this situation when it knew about the forecast?" Shah inquired, noting that he would not tolerate the company's "chaotic system” anymore.

The CM calling the power utility "the most unsuccessful institution" advised it to fix its weaknesses.

"How come the feeders trip immediately after the first drop of rain?" Shah queried.

Mayor visits affected areas

Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar visited Rain Emergency Centre at KMC Sports Complex on Tuesday morning to see the complaints received after Monday night’s heavy rains in the city.

DMC East Chairman Moeed Anwer, chairman finance committee city council Nadeem Hidayat Hashmi, chairman parks committee Khurram Farhan, advisor to Mayor Karachi Farhat Khan, director general technical services Shahab Anwer and other officers were also present on this occasion.

Later, while talking to media, the mayor said the Emergency Centre remained fully functional during rain last night and addressed all the complaints received.

He said trees and poles, which had fallen due to strong winds and heavy downpour, had been lifted and removed whereas drainage of the rainwater from underpasses was also complete to save the people from any inconvenience.

He said he had been in contact with the K-Electric regarding restoration of electricity supply in some of the areas, and added the restoration process was underway.

The mayor said all concerned municipal staff and machinery were functional to ensure swift response to any complaint regarding rains.

Rains impact on Cattle Market

The cattle market’s administration also failed to provide satisfactory facilities to the traders as fifteen sacrificial animals died due to accumulation of water while various diseases have also begun to spread in the market. Interestingly, the administration allowed installation of billboards in the market despite ban. Resultantly, a billboard fell, and claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy and also damaged two vehicles.

KE’s Statement

Overall power supply to Karachi remained intact despite heavy rainfall with gusty winds in the city on Monday night. Major hospitals, Dhabeji pumping station and airport remained unaffected by the showers, said KE in a statement.

Heavy showers partially affected KE’s power supply in some areas such as parts of Gulshan, Malir, North Karachi, Gadap, Federal B Area, Landhi and Nazimabad. The affected feeders were re-energized within few hours of rain, the power utility said.

According to KE spokesperson, “Restoration work continues amid continuous rain spells. The downpour accompanied by strong winds also added to the challenge of restoration work. Falling of trees and signboards has not only created difficulty in accessing some areas but in some cases, they also fell on KE’s lines, causing disruption in power supply in few areas.”

The power utility also maintains close coordination with the National Disaster Management Authority, Pakistan Meteorological Department and the city administration to extend effective support.

KE also urges the public to stay away from broken wires, refrain from taking shelter under transformers or leaning against poles during rainy and windy weather and also avoid using illegal means (kundas) to draw power.