September 24, 2023

LAHORE/KARACHI – Eastern parts of Punjab received heavy downpour on Tuesday morning as rain lashed Sindh – including Karachi, Hyderabad and Dadu – for the third day consecutive day, inundating low-lying areas amid a depleted civic infrastructure.

The death toll during the ongoing monsoon season continues to rise as woman was killed with her husband and sister receiving injuries as the roof of their house collapsed at Yar Muhammad Barohi village of Shahdad Kot, Sindh.

Separately, a girl buried alive when in another roof collapse incident at Allahabad – a town in Kasur district of Punjab where three persons, including children, were injured in two similar incidents in Narang Mandi and Chunian.

Clouds started developing over eastern Punjab after midnight with rain starting to pour down before sunrise in Pakpattan, Bahawalnagar, Okara, Kasur and other areas.

But it is Okara which has received heaviest rainfall – 143mm – according to the information received so far, turning roads and streets into streams as rainwater entered shops and houses, causing a huge loss to the citizens.

On the other hand, downpour hit Pakpattan and surrounding region for four hours after which power supply was suspended in the area as the distribution system cannot cope with the weather changes.

Similarly, Kasur is witnessing extreme weather. The entire city is submerged with the rainwater accumulated on streets as well as markets and residential areas, again showing that urban centres in Pakistan – be it large or small – lack even proper drainage system.

Meanwhile, downpour started in Hyderabad around 2am which continued till sunrise as different neighbourhoods and business centres turned into streams and lakes.

Karachi, Dadu and other parts of Sindh were also lashed by heavy rain as the Met Office has predicted more downpour during the next 24 hours.

According to the Met, the chief amounts of rain [in mm] recorded during the past 24 hours [till 8am] are given as:

Punjab: Okara 143, Kasur 106, Rawalpindi (Katcheri 70, Chaklala 62), DG Khan 60, Multan (Airport 57, City 22), Gujranwala 42, Islamabad (Bokra 25).

Sindh: Karachi (Surjani Town 100, Saadi Town 58, Gulshan-e-Maymar 54, University Road 52, North Karachi 51, Orangi Town 43), Sukkur and Thatta 90, Hyderabad (City 87, Airport 69), Tando Jam 82, Khairpur 63, Rohri 53, Larkana 51, Diplo 45, Nagar Parker 38, Jacobabad 40, Badin 39.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Bannu 78, Peshawar (City) 30.

Kashmir: Garhi Dupatta 36, Muzaffarabad (Airport 30, City 26).

Balochistan: Zhob 24, Ormara 10

Gilgit-Baltistan: Astore 18.

The Met Office says heavy rains may cause flash flooding in streams of DG Khan, northeast and southern Balochistan on during the next 48 hours [Tuesday and Wednesday].

Widespread rain and thunderstorm with wind are expected in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir and Islamabad on Tuesday, while at scattered places in Sindh and east/south Balochistan.

It has also warned of extreme weather events during the same period in northeast/eastern Punjab and northeast Balochistan.

Stay safe during the monsoon,

Don’t touch wires — simple to follow and easy to maintain.

Ideally, all wires need to be covered or channeled for safety. Water may seep through walls; therefore, wires and sockets are not to be handled without safety gloves.

Educate children about staying away from fallen wires as they may be live.

All electrical appliances must remain unplugged when not in use. In addition to being safe, it results in big savings on electricity bills.

Do not park your vehicles directly under power lines or next to utility poles during the monsoon season.

It is also recommended to avoid ringing people’s doorbells while it’s pouring, particularly if the bell isn’t covered by some sort of shade and is exposed to water.

No walks in rain puddles: please keep to dry sidewalks and avoid stepping into the water, especially on streets or when around poles or fallen wires, as water is an electricity conductor.

Raincoats and umbrellas should be a permanent feature of our entrance cabinets or stands for people to take along when stepping outside during rain.

First aid emergency kits should be readily accessible and everyone in the house should know where they are. Anti-mosquito ointments or coils need to be part of your monthly rations for the next two months.

Stagnant water is home to bugs: make sure that rainwater does not accumulate in any area that can prove as a habitat for mosquitos and other such insects and lead to diseases like malaria and dengue as well as skin infections.

Be wary of the open manholes: Open manholes pose a danger to inhabitants. This hazard is further accentuated during rain for both pedestrians and bike riders/car drivers, and one should be careful to avoid them.

The contamination by sewerage water can also cause potential health issues for children who like to play in water puddles.

I will be happy if such lists can be shared by schools and hospitals too. Maybe they can add more to it, and we can all have a complete preparedness kit for monsoons to enjoy them better.