- Fresh rain spell hits Karachi; heavy rains lash Lahore.
- PMD issues flooding alert for twin cities.
- PM directs release of Rs5b to NDMA.
KARACHI/LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: A fresh rain spell hit parts of Karachi on Saturday as the federal government, under directives from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, declared an emergency in the country’s rain and flood-affected areas.
Saddar, I I Chundrigar Road, North Nazimabad, Nazimabad, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, and some surrounding areas of Pakistan’s biggest city received the rains.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecast moderate rain in Karachi from August 6-9 and heavy downpours from August 10 to 15.
The Met Office warned that heavy rains may generate urban flooding in Karachi, Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas from August 11 to 13.
Weather expert warns of heavy rains
Weather expert Jawad Memon told Geo News that the fresh monsoon system is near Sindh and the Gujrat border with India, with 40% of the system in Sindh and the rest in India.
Memon said that the system would head towards the Arabian Sea in the next 24-36 hours, and once it reaches there, it will become weaker.
The weather expert said that Karachi is expected to receive rains today and tomorrow, and today afternoon, heavy rains are likely to lash parts of the city.
Rs5 billion to NDMA
Flash floods caused by abnormally heavy monsoon rains killed at least 549 people in Pakistan over the past month, with remote communities in Balochistan among the hardest hit.
Aside from the fatalities, the flooding damaged more than 46,200 houses, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Friday.
The past month was the wettest in three decades, with 133% more rain than the average for the past 30 years, the NDMA said. Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, received 305% more rain than the annual average, the disaster agency said.
As the situation gets worse in flood-hit areas, the prime minister directed the Ministry of Finance to immediately release Rs5 billion to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
The premier was presiding over a meeting to review the flood situation, which was attended by federal ministers, advisors, members of parliament, and chief secretaries of all provinces, including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, Chairman NDMA, and Director-General Met Office.
Reiterating his call for collective efforts, the prime minister asked the NDMA and PDMA, as well as the communications ministry, to carry out repair and rehabilitation works of an emergency nature without indulging in the matter of debate of jurisdiction as the expenses could later be adjusted mutually between the respective provinces or authorities.
“It is not about you and me. It is about us. All provinces will have to work collectively. It is an urgent matter. This is a national and noble cause. We will have to set aside our political ambitions. We will be doing politics but at a later stage,” he commented.
Lahore rains; warning issued
In Lahore, several areas were pounded by heavy rains, including Mall Road, Davis Road, Shimla Pahari Road, and Dharmapura.
Apart from these areas, Harbanspura, Iqbal Town, Sabzazar, Green Town, Jauhar Town, Sadar, Cantt, Garhi Shahu, and Railway Station received significant rain.
In a statement, the PMD said the monsoon currents are set to become stronger in the country and will likely cause more rains and urban flooding this and next week.
According to the Met Office, under the influence of the new weather system, rains coupled with wind and thunderstorms are expected to fall in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, northeast Punjab, upper parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eastern Balochistan and south-eastern Sindh from August 6 to August 9 with occasional gaps.
Also, rainfall along with strong winds and thunders is expected in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and parts of Balochistan from August 10 to August 13 with occasional gaps.
About the impacts of rains, the Met Office said the downpours could generate flash floods in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Faisalabad, Lahore and Gujranwala on August 8, August 10, August 11 and August 12.
Flash flooding is expected in local nullahs of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Shakargarh, Sialkot, Narowal, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Dir, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Bannu and Kashmir on August 8 and from August 10 to August 12.