At least 22 dead as powerful storms hit Pakistan

At least 22 dead as powerful storms hit Pakistan

Islamabad: The first monsoon shower in Pakistan broke the heat spell, bringing some relief for the people braving high temperatures over the past few days. But the respite came at a heavy cost for many as 20 people were killed across the country because of heavy rains, thunderstorm and electrocution.

At least 22 people died and several injured as mud-thatched houses collapsed. Many were drowned and some were electrocuted by electric wires from fallen poles.

At least 4 people were killed in Karachi city. Gul Nawaz, 16, died from electrocution in the Keamari area, according to area SHO Shaoor Khan who added that the police separated some snapped electric wires to prevent further loss of lives. In Orangi, 27-year-old Daniyal died from electrocution, according to the Edhi Foundation. Babar Ali Dino, 18, died on the spot in Lyari after suffering from electric shock. Several motorcyclists were also wounded after slipping off the bike.

Lightning strike killed 3 including a mother and son in Khushhal Singh in Minchanabad (Punjab province). A 12-year-old boy was electrocuted in Ichhra area of Lahore. In Faisalabad, a 5-year-old girl was killed when a wall of her collapsed during heavy rain, while other family members were severely injured.

At least 5 children were reportedly drowned while swimming in deep floodwater in Kotli Baqir Shah, Jhang in Punjab, rescuers say. In Pir Koh area of Dera Bugti district of Balochistan, lightning strike killed one man while 11 were wounded.

Punjab region recorded the maximum rainfall in Pakistan during the past 24 hours with 54 millimetres (mm) recorded in Lahore. Islamabad and Rawalpindi had received 51mm followed by 39mm in Dir, 35mm in Chakwal, 39mm in Kotli, Azad Kashmir and 5mm in Murree. Balochistan’s Zhob received 7mm rain whereas Gilgit Baltistan’s Bagrote Valley recorded 8mm of rain.

Karachi city recorded maximum of 33mm of rains during the similar time frame. Though the rainy weather made the weather pleasant but the power outages, roads flooded with water and traffic chaos that continued long after the rain stopped turned the joys of Karachiites into troubles.

“The rainfall finally brought some relief from heat for us. But this Rehmat (blessing) has become Zehmat (trouble) for Karachi residents because of city mismanagement and poor drainage system” says Maliha Ahmad, a local.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah declared a state of emergency and asked local organisations to stay alert, cancel holidays of their staff members and pump out water accumulated on roads and low-lying areas on an emergency basis.

Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has warned people travelling to hilly areas as there are chances of seasonal flooding and land sliding in northern areas of upper K-P (Malakand, Hazara divisions), G-B and Kashmir. However, PMD says that moderate monsoon currents in the country are likely to wane during next 24 hours.

Pakistan Met office has predicted more rain and thundershowers with strong gusty winds in the next 12 hours in upper Punjab (Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Faisalabad divisions), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, lower Sindh (Hyderabad, Karachi, MirpurKhas, Sh. Benazirabad divisions), Islamabad, FATA and Kashmir.

Rain is also expected at isolated places in Malakand, Peshawar, Mardan, Kohat, Bannu, D.I. Khan, D.G. Khan, Multan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Zhob, Kalat divisions and GB.