At least 35 people have lost their lives so far in Karachi over the past two days owing to unusually heavy rains and the inability of the city infrastructure to cope. The downpour started on Thursday and continued till Saturday morning when a severe thunderstorm hit the city.
This has left the civic infrastructure in tatters with most city roads inundated with rain water and many areas without electricity supply. The rain-related death toll reminded the city of an earlier wild dust storm in June, which left almost 200 dead in the city.
This time again, the deaths were mostly the result of electrocution and collapsing houses. The officials were still assessing the situation from the overnight storm and said the death toll might rise.
Karachi City Nazim (Mayor) Mustafa Kamal told reporters that his administration was doing the best it can under the circumstances. He said that the rainfall in the city this year was unusually high which had caused the havoc.
At present, a number of mega-development projects are coming up in Karachi, including the construction of flyovers and underpasses, the resconstruction of major roads and uplift projects all over the city. As a result, a major portion of the city is either dug up or in some stage of construction.
There are several reports of people falling into ditches and trenches at these sites. Some casualties were also reported from people walking into open drains and on naked wires. The city administration has announced the closure of schools, which reopened after summer vacations only last week. All leave for city government persons has also been cancelled.
According to the meteorological department, the city has received 152 mm of rain during the last 24 hours. Three underpasses at the Liaquatabad, Nazimabad and Gharibabad were inundated by rainwater. The city administration has said that one of the reasons for the flooding is the high number of encroachments on the city's storm water drains.
This has restricted the outflow of water, causing traffic jams and damage to roads. Attempts to clear the encroachments have been met with stiff resistance.