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Ruthless monsoon rain spell claims four lives, floods Karachi

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  • Four people killed and many others injured in Karachi on Sunday due to heavy rain.
  • Rain floods residential and commercial areas.
  • Properties were damaged and the power and telecommunication system was disrupted in many areas.

Four people were killed and many others injured in Karachi on Sunday when the second spell of torrential monsoon rains wreaked havoc in the port city, flooding residential and commercial areas, killing and injuring people, damaging properties and disrupting the power and telecommunication system.

A teenage boy, identified as Zia, was electrocuted in the Liaquatabad area. He was taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. The family said he received an electric shock from a service mast.

A man, who is yet to be identified, died of electrocution in Surjani Town. Police said the deceased received an electric shock from the snapped electricity wires. His body was taken to the who is yet to be identified, died of electrocution. Police said the deceased received an electric shock from the snapped electricity wires. His body was taken to the morgue after completion of medico legal formalities at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

A 40-year-old man, identified as Shan Hussain, was electrocuted near the Memon Masjid in the limits of Kharadar police station. His body was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center.

Meanwhile, a couple and their two kids were injured as the roof of their house collapsed in Korangi.

A couple and their two minor children were wounded after a wall of their house collapsed on them in Baldia Town within the limits of Saeedabad police station.

Police and rescuers reached the property took the family to the Civil Hospital, Karachi. They were later identified as 35-year-old Nadeem, his wife Pathani, two year-old-son Krishna and daughter Samina, 5.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Sunday released the rainfall data of Karachi since the morning. According to the data, Quaidabad received the heaviest rainfall, measuring 86.5mm.

After Quaidabad, the areas of the port city of Saddar and Gulshan-e-Hadeed each got 62mm of rain.

On the other hand, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Masroor and Keamari recorded 54mm of rainfall, while Orangi Town recorded 49.5mm.

According to the Met Office, the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) recorded 44.3mm, North Karachi 39mm, Korangi 36.4mm, Nazimabad 36mm, PAF Faisal Base 35.5mm, Saadi Town 33.7mm, Gadap 29.2mm, Gulshan Mimar 28.4mm, Old Airport 27mm, and Jinnah Terminal 26.4mm of rain.

“Intermittent showers are expected to continue till 12pm tomorrow,” forecast the PDM. It said the current spell of monsoon rain was likely to continue for the next three days. The weather department warned that the heavy rainfall may cause flooding and waterlogging in the city’s low-lying areas.

Monsoon spell likely to weaken later today

The strong monsoon spell is likely to weaken later today after battering the metropolis, top meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz told Geo News.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) official said that the current spell will continue till July 26, however, he added that as per available data, the weather system will likely decapitate.

Ruthless monsoon rain spell claims four lives, floods Karachi

According to the PMD data, the highest rainfall was recorded at PAF Masroor Base where 201mm of rain was reported till 5am Monday.

Public holiday in Karachi, Hyderabad

In view of flooding, the Sindh government announced a public holiday in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions on Monday (today).

Taking to Twitter, Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab wrote that apart from Karachi, there will be a public holiday in Hyderabad too because of the rain.

“Due to heavy rainfall which is expected to continue even tomorrow, the Sindh government has decided to declare Monday, the 25th of July, as a public holiday in Karachi and Hyderabad Divisions,” tweeted Wahab.

Heavy torrential rains triggered flash floods in the low-lying areas in Dera Ismail Khan city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Though the rain turned the weather pleasant, the rainwater inundated streets and bazaars in the city, causing inconvenience to the people and disrupting the flow of traffic. Some vehicles broke down in the rain and the people were seen pushing them.

The flash floods also disrupted the electricity supply in some places.

Several villages were flooded in Purwa tehsil after a drain started overflowing due to heavy rains. The floodwater accumulated inside homes and caused damage to them.

It was said that the heavy flooding, which also destroyed standing crops, caused damage to several mud-thatched homes.

People in the area have asked the government to help them and give them money for their losses.

On Friday, the heavy rains caused flash floods in the low-lying areas in Kiri Khaisore Union Council and its surrounding places, causing damage to several houses and standing crops.

Local people said it had been raining in Dera Ismail Khan for the last week, which had turned the weather pleasant, but caused flooding in Kiri Khaisore Union Council and its nearby localities.

Several houses were damaged by the floodwater, and standing crops and orchards were destroyed. The farmers lost a lot of money because of this.

The people have asked the government to declare Dera Ismail Khan as calamity-hit and provide compensation to the victims. They said the low-lying areas were flooded due to a poor drainage system. They asked the government to relocate them to safe places and provide them with relief goods.

Standing crops in the far-off Kandia tehsil of Upper Kohistan were also destroyed by flash floods.

“Continuous rains and flash floods have destroyed many houses and standing crops.” And small hydropower stations installed at local streams to supply power to local communities have also been swept away,” Abdul Hafeez, a local, told reporters.

The rains, which started some three days ago, have still been lashing, causing land and mudslides that blocked roads and inundated slum houses in remote parts of the Hazara division.

The Kandia valley in Upper Kohistan was the worst hit as many houses were inundated, but no loss of life was reported anywhere in the entire tehsil.

“Though no loss of life has been reported in the entire tehsil, people have suffered financial losses as their houses have been destroyed and roads leading to the rest of Kohistan have been blocked because of mudslides,” Abdul Hafeez said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has contacted the Sindh government authorities following the directives of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, said the Authority spokesperson, adding that they discussed the situation after the recent monsoon rains.

The spokesperson said the situation was still under the control of the Sindh government. The NDMA handed more dewatering pumps over to the Sindh government.

The authorities have assured the Sindh government of maximum assistance, the NDMA spokesperson said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif had directed the provincial governments to remain alert in the wake of continuing monsoon rains, which might trigger flash floods in different parts of the country. In a message to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Shehbaz said the federal government would provide all possible support to the provincial government in this difficult situation.

The recent rain spell has been lashing Karachi for the last few days, causing floods.

In a statement, the PM Office Media Wing said that the prime minister also told the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to help the provinces and departments as much as possible.

The premier said protection of property and the lives of the people in the low-lying areas must be ensured.

He also wanted the elected officials to keep an eye on the rescue and aid efforts started by the right departments.

Meanwhile, at least 100 people have been killed and 57 others injured so far in rain-related accidents across Balochistan, says the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA). It said women, children, and men were among the victims.

“Overall 6,063 houses came down, while 550 kilometres of road track along the four major highways in the province also got damaged.

In addition to the livestock losses, the authority said 712 animals were also killed during the heavy downpour.

The provincial government has already imposed Section 144 across the province amid forecasts of more heavy rains. According to the notification, under Section 144, people will not be allowed to visit rivers, dams, and other water bodies.

Swimming in rivers and water streams will also be banned, it said, adding that the ban will remain in place for one month.

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Pakistan

Funds invested in real estate used for cancer care: Shaukat Khanum Trust

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  • Invested $3m in endowment funds in real estate: SKMT. 
  • Endowment funds used to provide cancer care: spokesperson.
  • SKMT investments are audited by third parties, says spokesperson. 

LAHORE: Following controversy on Imran Khan’s comments in court, the management of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust (SKMT) clarified that they invested $3 million in an endowment fund in a real estate project in Oman so they can be used to provide quality cancer care, The News reported on Monday .

The clarification came in response to news items regarding the usage of SKMT funds in real estate by its founder Imran Khan. The SKMT said that its funds have never been misused or “diverted”, by its chairman, Imran Khan, or any other individual

An SKMT spokesperson said that all its funds, including those invested in its endowment fund, are used only to support its mission of providing world-class care to cancer patients.

“As is common for many charity organisations, SKMT created an endowment fund to provide financial security and to cater for expenses in the long term. This endowment fund is supervised by an investment committee, with all investments made by the fund upon the recommendations of this committee. The chairman does not, and has never, made investment decisions in isolation,” the spokesperson said. 

He added, “It is crucial to point out that only non-Zakat funds are invested in this manner, with all Zakat collected being utilised on direct patient care within the year in which it is collected.”

On investment in real estate, the spokesperson said: “In 2008, an amount of US$3 million was invested by the endowment fund in a real estate project in Oman. The investment allowed for an early exit, with a 100% capital guarantee on the investment. In 2015, SKMT exercised its early exit option and the entire amount of US$3 million was duly recovered.”

He added the trust has already shared details of this investment, and recovery of its funds with the public numerous times. Although the investment did not generate a profit in dollar terms, it certainly did in rupees, since the difference in exchange rate referred to in the article in question worked in favour of SKMT, he added.

The spokesperson added: “As with all other financial transactions, all investments made by SKMT and its Endowment Fund are duly audited and reported, with financial reports being made publicly available through the Shaukat Khanum website. Both the initial investment, and its subsequent return were reflected in the organisation’s financial reports, and continue to be publicly available.”

Complete data of all contributions are held and audited by autonomous third parties to guarantee compliance with all relevant laws, not only within Pakistan, but in all jurisdictions where funds are collected on behalf of the SKMT, or to support it.

The spokesperson said that over 30 years, the trust treated more than 45,000 to 50,000 cancer patients every year at SKMT hospitals in Lahore and Peshawar, most of whom would have been unable to access highly specialised cancer treatment elsewhere. It is strictly because of its strong clinical, administrative and governance systems that the SKMT became only the second institution in the world to gain Enterprise Accreditation from the US-based Joint Commission International in September 2022.

The spokesperson added that allegations aiming to sow doubt in their donor’s minds are equivalent to playing with patients’ lives.

The official added that the cost of providing cancer care is continuously on the rise, and despite brittle financial conditions, the management of SKMT is committed not only to providing state-of-the-art cancer treatment to all its patients but also to defending an excellent reputation for financial transparency.

The News reported on Sunday that the PTI Chairman Imran Khan admitted that he invested funds worth $3 million donated to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust (SKMT) in a housing project.

The revelation was made during a hearing of an Rs10 billion defamation case filed against Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Saturday. The former prime minister appeared in the court from his Lahore residence in Zaman Park via video link.

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Massive power breakdown hits Pakistan

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  • Minister says power generation units are temporarily shut in winter at night.
  • Says frequency variation in national grid triggered outage.
  • Says ministry trying to restore power in next 12 hours.

LAHORE/KARACHI/QUETTA/ISLAMABAD: A countrywide power breakdown, triggered by a “frequency variation” in the national grid early Monday morning, has left large parts of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta without electricity. 

Power Minister Khurrum Dastagir, while talking to Geo News, said that the power generation units are temporarily shut down in winter at night as an economic measure to save fuel costs.

“When the systems were turned on at 7:30am this morning one by one, frequency variation was reported in the southern part of the country between Jamshoro and Dadu. There was a fluctuation in voltage and power generating units were shut down one by one due to cascading impact. This is not a major crisis,” said the federal minister as the country plunged into darkness for the second time in four months.

The minister said that his ministry has started restoring some grid stations in Tarbela and Warsak. 

“Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) and some grids of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) have already been restored,” claimed the minister.  

Talking about the breakdown in Karachi, the minister said that the matter in the port city is complicated as it has a complete electric supply system.

A shopkeeper speaks with a customer (not pictured) at a medical store during a country-wide power breakdown in Karachi, Pakistan January 23, 2023. — Reuters
A shopkeeper speaks with a customer (not pictured) at a medical store during a country-wide power breakdown in Karachi, Pakistan January 23, 2023. — Reuters

“We provide K-Electric about 1,000-1,100 megawatts routinely, however, it will be restored within a few hours. It is not certain how long will it take to sort this issue. However, my target is to restore electricity in the country in the next 12 hours,” said the minister. 

Before the energy ministry’s announcement, different power distribution companies had confirmed the breakdown.

According to Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO), the two transmission lines have tripped leaving 22 districts of Balochistan, including Quetta without power.

Karachi power update

Meanwhile, K-Electric spokesperson Imran Rana said that at approximately 7:34am today, the national grid experienced a loss of frequency, affecting the power supply to multiple cities across Pakistan

“This has also cascaded to KE’s network affecting power supply to Karachi,” Rana said, adding the KE’s network is safe and protected.

“Our teams are actively monitoring the situation and enabling restoration efforts.”

An IESCO spokesperson said that its 117 grid stations were without electricity.

Meanwhile, PESCO also confirmed the outage in areas where it supplies electricity. 

This is the second time within four months that a country was hit by a major power breakdown.

NEPRA takes notice

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), in a statement, said that it has taken “serious notice” of the power outage and directed the National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) to submit a “detailed report”.

The statement also said that the regulator has previously imposed fines on similar outages in the 2021 and 2022. It also shared that NEPRA has consistently issued directives and recommendations on tackling such events in future.

Previous breakdown 

In October of last year, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Multan, and Faisalabad were hit by a power outage.

At that time, the power minister said that nearly 8,000 megawatts of power went offline.

Back then, Dastagir had said that the simultaneous faults in two power lines, which had triggered the breakdown, at the same time was concerning for the government. He had also announced that an in-depth inquiry was ordered and promised action.

A timeline of power breakdowns in Pakistan

The country’s generation and distribution network has suffered eight major power breakdowns during the last nine years.

In 2014 and 2017, nationwide blackouts were caused by a fault in Tarbela Power Station while fog, frequency variation and the Guddu Power Plant fault were blamed for breakdowns in 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Every time the party in power announced to conduct a comprehensive probe and vowed to rectify the issues but nothing has happened despite multiple inquiries.

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Pakistan

Karachi weather update: What’s the latest forecast?

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Karachiites will have to bundle themselves up as the weather will be dry and cold at night in the next 24 hours, the weather department said Friday. 

According to the forecast by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), the mercury in the port city is expected to hover around 10 to 12 degrees Celsius in the next 24 hours. 

The Met department said that the cool winds are blowing from the northeast at a speed of seven to 10 kilometres per hour. The level of humidity in the city is 48%.

During the last 24 hours, the lowest temperature in Karachi was recorded at 14°C.

Weather countrywide 

Meanwhile, in Balochistan, the intensity of the cold has increased due to snowfall in different areas. Consequently, a travel emergency has been imposed on Khojak Pass. 

A day earlier, the weather department predicted rain with snowfall in the upper parts of the country during the coming days.

“Met Office informed that a westerly wave affecting North Balochistan, is likely to grip upper parts on January 20 (night) and may persist till January 25 with occasional gaps,” the statement read. 

It further said that light to moderate rain-wind with snowfall over the hills (isolated hailstorm) is expected in Kashmir, Gilgit- Baltistan, Murree, Galliyat, Islamabad, Pothohar region, Kohistan, Swat, Dir, Chitral, Manshera, Haripur, Abbottabad, Karak, Charsada, Peshawar, Nowshera, Swabi, Buner, Bajaur, Kurram, Waziristan, Kohat, Bannu, Sargodha, Mianwali, Khushab, Bhakkar, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Jhang, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Lahore, Kasur, Sialkot, Narowal, Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib from January 21 to January 24 with occasional gaps.

Light rain and drizzle is also expected in Multan, Sahiwal, Okara, Pakpattan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Layyah, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Rahimyar Khan, Sukkur and Dera Ismail Khan on January 20-21, the Met department said. 

Meanwhile, rain-wind — moderate to isolated heavy snowfall — is expected in Kashmir, Neelum valley, Muzaffarabad, Poonch, Hattian, Bagh, Haveli, Sudhanoti, Kotli, Bhimber, Mirpur), Murree, Galiyat, Chitral, Dir, Swat, Malakand, Kohistan, Mansehra and Abbottabad from January 23-25. 

What are the possible impacts?

Due to the heavy snowfall, there may be a closure of roads in Murree, Galiyat, Naran, Kaghan, Dir, Swat, Kohistan, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Shangla, Astore, Hunza, Skardu, Neelum valley, Bagh, Poonch and Haveli during the forecast period. 

“Landslides in Upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan may also occur during the forecast period,” it said. 

The office said that the tourists are advised to remain extra cautious during the spell, adding that temperatures are likely to fall significantly after the spell.

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