Karachi traffic thrown out of gear by rain
KARACHI: Hun-dreds of thousands of Karachiites — pedestrians as well as those in vehicles — remained stranded on flooded roads and markets for hours on Saturday after a spell of heavy monsoon rains — almost two inches in two hours — battered the metropolis in the afternoon, said met officials.
Naeem Shah, the city’s chief meteorologist, forecast a spell of heavy rain, spread over three days beginning Sunday, across lower Sindh.
He said another strong monsoon weather system, currently lying over central India. was heading towards Sindh.
He said that under the influence of this strong weather system, more widespread heavy to very heavy rains and thundershowers, accompanied by gusty winds, were expected in Badin.
Other districts to be affected were Mirpurkhas, Thar, Umerkot, Thatta, Hyderabad and Karachi from Sunday to Wednesday. He said that scattered moderate to heavy rain / thundershowers were expected elsewhere in Sindh as well as eastern parts of Balochistan.
The Saturday’s rains also affected the city’s fragile electricity distribution network as eight people were reported electrocuted in different parts of the city while power supply remained suspended in many other parts of the metropolis owing to the showers.
The heavy Saturday showers exposed the tall claims of the city’s drainage related staffers who had been making tall claims regarding having cleaned the natural rain fed nullahs as well as the manmade drainage system as many of the low lying areas as well stretches of thoroughfares that are in relatively depression were inundated.
The city government staffers while remained busy in removing the blockages — debris, garbage etc — from the waterways in some areas with their heavy duty equipment so that rain water could find its way to the sea the officials even made announcements through the television channels asking the people to remaining doors – in their offices, homes etc rather than coming on to the roads in an attempt to reach their destinations – as there was worst traffic jam because the people in the city’s business district and offices had panicked soon after the heavy showers started and the sky was covered with thick black clouds presenting a look of late evening in the afternoon and tried to rush back home.
The traffic situation became worse as many of the motorists, whose vehicles had shut down owing to deep water on the roads, had left their vehicles and had left either for home or to bring some mechanic who could fix their vehicles. Many a motorcyclists, some of them with families, were seen dragging their two wheelers.
The presence of the public transport vehicles also started to become thin as most of the operators soon after the beginning of the rainy spell parked their vehicles and avoided to bring these on the road forcing the helpless home-returning commuters to climb even on the few minibuses that were still plying on the roads.
Many a customers who had purchased their goods were caught in rain and had their purchases spoiled in showers. After the rains stopped the markets wore a deserted look and many a shopkeepers had pulled down their shutters following the downpour, while the others that were still open were seen waiting for the customers most of whom had disappeared during the rains.
The situation, however, started to normalize late in the evening as the rain had stopped after about a couple of hour long spell and the water gradually started to recede and the traffic jams started to loosen up and the vehicles started to move bringing relief to the people trapped in the jam.
The main traffic arteries including patches of Sharae Faisal, M. A. Jinnah Road, I. I. Chundrigar Road, University Road, Shaheed-i-Millat Road, Shahrah-i-Quaideen, Shahrah-i-Pakistan, Korangi Road, main road in Nazimabad, etc remained inundated.