KARACHI/ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - Nineteen people died and many others were injured in different rain-related accidents in Karachi alone on Thursday as heavy monsoon rains disrupted routine life in parts of the country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed chief of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to immediately not only rescue stranded people but also provide emergency medical assistance, food and shelter to all those in need.

Rescue workers said that at least 30 people died in rain-related incidents in the port city during the last three-day as monsoon spell continue. Meteorological officials said downpours in August shattered 90-year-old records for the port city. 

Some 484mm (19 inches) of rain was recorded this month so far, an official said. Reportedly, the recent rains are unprecedented especially in the month of August, since 1931. The Met Office said Karachi received 223.5mm of rain in just 12 hours on Thursday alone, the highest amount of rain ever recorded in a single day in the city.

Literally, the rains and urban flooding forced Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to announce a public holiday for Friday (today). A statement issued by Sindh CM’s office said all government, semi-government and private institutions except essential services will remain closed only in Karachi on Friday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said the federal government is fully cognizant of the suffering of our people in the wake of the heavy rains, especially the people of Karachi.

In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister said he is personally monitoring the relief and rescue operations and is in constant contact with NDMA chairman and Sindh Governor for regular updates.

We will not abandon people of Karachi in time of crisis: PM

The Prime Minister said he had directed NDMA chairman to immediately not only rescue stranded people but also provide emergency medical assistance, food and shelter to all those in need. He also directed the chairman of the NDMA to ensure restoration of utilities on an emergency basis.

The Prime Minister said, “We will be announcing a plan for a permanent solution to the problems caused by floods by cleaning of nullahs, fixing of the sewage system and resolving the huge challenge of water supply to the people of Karachi.” “We will not abandon the people of Karachi in their time of crisis.”

According to rescue workers, a 30-year-old man was electrocuted to death in Landhi area. Edhi services said the body was shifted to a nearby hospital.

The rare downpour in Karachi once again has exposed performance of the provincial and city governments.

A woman namely Nusrat, 40, was drowned inside her residence in KAESH Society in Baloch Colony, rescue sources. However, it was uncertain how and where did she was drown. Her body was brought to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.

A 22-year-old youth was drowned near Golimar underpass. Chhipa sources said that the body of Baber son of Waleed was shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities. In yet another incident, an unknown man who was seemed to be a 30-year-old was drowned in a drain in Liaquatabad locality. The dead body was shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

Meanwhile, another 22-year-old unknown drowned in Reksal Naddi. His body was brought to Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi for medico legal formalities.

Separately, during search and rescue operations, Pakistan Navy Divers recovered two dead bodies from Shah Faisal Town and Korangi crossing areas. A six-year-old child was killed whereas three others and four women were injured as the wall of a house fell in Orangi Town area.

Power supply suspended

Meanwhile, soon after the rain downpour, electricity supply was suspended to many areas including Landhi, Orangi Town, Korangi, Bin Qasim, North Nazimabad, North Karachi, PECHS, Defence Housing Authority, Gulistan-e-Johar, Gadap, Gulberg, Malir, Baldia Town, New Karachi, Keamari, Old City Area and Liaquatabad. The K-Electric said that power supply to certain areas had been suspended for safety reasons.

“To ensure safety in submerged and low-lying areas, K-Electric was forced to suspend power to over 900 feeders, while several power installations including substations, grid stations and power plants were also impacted by rising water levels. The KE officials power in close coordination with city authorities to ensure swift drainage in Saddar, KDA Scheme 33, Johar, Surjani, Bin Qasim, Gulshan and other locations as this is a pre-requisite for safe restoration of power supply,” spokesperson said in a statement.

“The safety of human life remains the topmost priority of the company and on this account the power utility has been urging citizens to maintain a safe distance from power infrastructure through safety awareness messages,” she added.