Pakistan – Flood Chaos in Karachi, Monsoon Death Toll Rises to 187

Heavy monsoon rain caused severe traffic problems in parts of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city on 23 September 2021. Roads were flooded and cars submerged.

Rain began early on 23 September. By the afternoon as much as 70 mm had fallen in Surjani Town on the northern outskirts of the city, according to figures from Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).

Karachi’s Enduring Flood Risk

The city has been facing an increasing flood risk for several years. At least 41 people died in floods in in the city that struck in August 2020.

Following the flood tragedy of last year, Karachi City and Sindh Province authorities embarked on creating the city’s first flood management plan in an effort to ensure such a disaster doesn’t happen again.

At the centre of the plan is an effort to clear the city’s huge storm water drainage system, which has gradually become blocked with trash and seen outlets to the sea constricted by illegal construction along drainage channels.

“Reckless development activities around the city’s storm water drains and sewer system are now literally choking the city’s natural drainage systems, the impact of which is more pronounced urban flooding, as witnessed in the city in August,” Noman Ahmed, an urban planner and chairman of the architecture and planning department at the NED University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi said in August 2020.

Garbage fills part of a flooded street in a slum area of Jamshed town in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, in 2017. Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Saleem Shaikh

Flash Floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab

In recent days heavy rain has affected other parts of the country. On 20 September Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reported 1 person died in flash floods in Bajaur District and another in Buner District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The following day NDMA reported several people were injured after heavy rain and floods caused a house to collapse in Kasur District of Punjab Province.

Monsoon Fatalities Reach 187

According to the National Disaster Management Authority in Pakistan, as of 09 September 187 people have died in rain-related incidents since 01 July and the start of this year’s monsoon. This total includes 86 fatalities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 53 in Punjab Province and 24 in Balochistan. A total of 263 houses have been destroyed, with 150 of them in Sindh and 45 in Balochistan. Furthermore 13 roads and 9 bridges have suffered severe damage.

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