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LAHORE: Record heavy monsoon rain caused urban flooding in the provincial capital on Wednesday, paralyzing routine activities; nine hours of spell inundated different localities, including low-lying areas, and claimed eight lives.

The thunderstorm, followed by heavy rain, began in the wee hours and continued till noon. In a tweet, caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi said that urban flooding and record-breaking rain of 272 millimetres in just nine hours caused water ponds on roads in Lahore. “Canal has also overflowed.

All cabinet members and administration are in the field to clear the water. I am also monitoring the situation in the field and getting updates from all over Lahore continuously,” he added.

According to the caretaker Chief Minister, the rain claimed six lives; the deaths occurred due to roof collapses, drowning and electrocution.

The heavy rain inundated different localities, including Icchara, Monzang, Shadman, Gulberg, Muslim Town, Garden Town, Johar Town Qaddafi Stadium, Township, Badami Bagh, Abid Market, Nisbat Road, Harbanspura, Gawalmandi, Garhi Shahu, Shah Jamal, Tajpura, Laxmi Chowk, McLeod Road, Chauburji, Islampura, Sandha, Krishannagar Bazar, Shadbagh, Railway Station, Missri Shah, Waseempura, Mughalpura, Do Muriah Pul, Queen’s Road and Cooper Road, Baber Market, Outfall Road, Shahdara and Anarkali.

The downpour exposed the efficiency of the local government, as the citizens of Lahore struggled to cope with the urban flooding; in low-lying areas, rainwater entered the houses while all major roads of the city were inundated and thus restricting people to their homes. Those who tried to reach their work faced the daunting task of driving through the flooded roads, thus leaving commuters stuck on jam-packed roads. Many vehicles, especially motorcycles, were seen stranded in the water. Hence, many markets opened late while salaried people were late to work or could not go.

Earlier, while talking to the media during his visit to various parts of the city, Naqvi said they had dispatched teams across the city to clear main roads and drain water from submerged areas. He pointed out that areas such as Muslim Town, Garden Town and Gulberg were majorly inundated due to the overflow of water from the Lahore Canal, adding that another spell of rain was expected to hit the city at 9:00 pm, and the authorities were preparing for that. He was monitoring the efforts himself, he added.

Punjab Local Government Minister Amir Mir also visited various areas of the provincial metropolis to monitor the cleanliness arrangements, water drainage, and restoration of the sewerage system in response to the ongoing heavy rainfall in the city.

On this occasion, he said that the provincial capital witnessed the highest rainfall during the first week of July in recent years and instructed the local government staff to ensure quick rainwater drainage and the sewage system’s restoration. He noted that despite the challenging weather conditions, the local government department’s staff remained resolute and actively engaged throughout the day. He assured that every available resource and manpower would be utilised to ensure the comfort and convenience of the citizens.

He issued specific directives to the line departments to ensure timely water drainage and restore normal traffic flow on busy roads to facilitate commuters. Implementing effective drainage measures, utilising appropriate machinery was emphasized to control the accumulation of rainwater and enable the smooth movement of citizens in low-lying areas while maintaining their daily routines.

Meanwhile, the District Administration Lahore, in its handouts, said that they had alerted all departments about heavy rains in advance and had directed WASA, LWMC and MCL field staff to ensure immediate pumping out of water gathered on different roads due to torrential rain, which continued with intervals in the city.

Deputy Commissioner Lahore Rafia Haider also remained in the field to supervise the dewatering process; she visited various parts of the city, including Waris Road, Mall Road, Qartaba Chowk, Captain Mubeen Shaheed Underpass, Gulberg, Makkah Colony and Ferozpur Road.

On this occasion, she disclosed that WASA had made all 105 disposal stations and MCL 109 water pumps across the city to drain out rainwater. She asked the citizens to call on WASA Helpline in case of an emergency or tag them on social media. She also directed concerned officers to remain in the field, ensuring the prompt drainage of stagnant or rainy water from low-lying areas and underpasses.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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