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Callous rains kill 150 in Pakistan, heavy falls forecast in Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities warned on Tuesday of more downpours this week, as monsoon rains are wreaking havoc in several regions of the country.  

The rains, which began with the onset of monsoon season in South Asia in mid-June, have already killed at least 150 people in Pakistan, with nearly half the deaths recorded in the country’s south and southwest.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the devastated areas and also took air-survey today soon after return from Saudi Arabia. He issued that necessary instruction to Army and Rangers the necessary

KARACHI-1Motorsts trying to cross flooded road after heavy monsoon rains in Karachi.

In Karachi, the capital of southern Sindh province and the country’s financial hub, a rain emergency was announced on Monday, after large parts of the megapolis were left under water and without power, and at least 11 deaths from rain-related accidents were reported during the day.

Traders in Karachi said on Tuesday they were counting losses worth billions of rupees after heavy rains and flooding battered Pakistan’s commercial hub over the past few days.

The rains, which began with the onset of monsoon season in South Asia in mid-June, have already killed at least 150 people in Pakistan, with nearly half the deaths recorded in the country’s south and southwest.

In Karachi, the capital of the southern Sindh province, a rain emergency was announced on Monday, after large parts of the megapolis were left under water and without power, and at least 11 deaths from rain-related accidents were reported during the day.

KARACHI-1Motorsts trying to cross flooded road after heavy monsoon rains in Karachi.

Rainwater has inundated Karachi’s old city, where most of its wholesale markets dealing in commodities and garments are located. The markets supply goods to almost areas of the megapolis and other parts of Pakistan.

“The markets in old city area were half submerged by Tuesday afternoon and it seemed that the things have slipped out of the hands of administration,” Atiq Mir, chairman of All Karachi Tajir Ittehad, an umbrella of major business associations in the city, told Arab News on Tuesday.  

“We estimate that the flooding has cost the traders billions of rupees,” he said. “The traders have suffered losses, not seen in last 10 years due to the mismanagement of government and we demand that the government should compensate traders because they are already suffering from the high inflation and low business activities.”

The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has requested that the Sindh government declare the city as “calamity hit.”

KARACHI-1Motorsts trying to cross flooded road after heavy monsoon rains in Karachi.

If the calamity status is declared, the affected areas will receive tax relief. “We have asked the government to declare Karachi ‘calamity hit’ following the flooding of main commercial centers,” KCCI president Muhammad Idrees Memon told Arab News.

The Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) said business activity was unlikely to resume immediately after the Eid holiday.

“The actual situation will emerge after tomorrow when the markets will be opened after de-watering and Eid holidays,” FPCCI president Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said. “If the government does not move to improve the situation, the resumption of business activities from Wednesday seems impossible.”

As local authorities continued to remove water across the city, the Pakistan Meteorological Department has warned more downpours were expected in Karachi from Thursday.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department issued a notification saying that monsoon currents from the Bay of Bengal are “continuously penetrating in upper and central parts of the country,” while another strong monsoon low pressure area is likely to approach on Thursday, and rains are forecast to hit Sindh, Balochistan and southern areas of Punjab.

A commuter makes his way through a flooded street after a heavy rain shower in Karachi.

Cities in Sindh and Balochistan may experience floods.

“Torrential rains may generate urban flooding in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Shaheed Benazirabad, Jamshoro, Mirpurkhas, Dadu, Umer Kot, Jaccobabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Awaran, Panjgur, and Turbat from July 14 to 17,” the Met said.

Every year, many cities in Pakistan struggle with the annual monsoon deluge. The season normally runs from July through September, but this year began earlier and with much heavier downpours.

Shehbaz Sharif issues instruction

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday directed federal and provincial governments to stay alert and vigilant in the wake of fresh prediction for more heavy rainfall across the country.

In a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Shehbaz asked authorities to closely monitor measures taken in Sindh, Balochistan and South Punjab to cope with the impending threat of another spell of torrential rains.

In a report today, Radio Pakistan stated that rain, wind, and thunder showers were expected in Islamabad, upper and central Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eastern Balochistan, Kashmir, and lower Sindh during the next 12 hours.

Heavy falls are likely in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, upper Punjab, and Kashmir. Separately, the Met department predicted heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in Karachi, Thatta, Badin and Hyderabad from July 14.

In his statement, the premier commended the National Disaster Management Authority for making “effective coordination between the centre and provinces to deal with rain-related emergencies”.