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Record-breaking rainfall submerges Karachi, leaving more than 20 people dead, Pakistan


At least 23 people were killed in weather-related incidents in Karachi, Pakistan, on August 27, 2020, as intense monsoon rains continued to batter parts of the country. Up to 223.5 mm (8.7 inches) of rain fell in just 12 hours on Thursday alone, marking the city's highest single-day downpour in 52 years. 

Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon said 17 people died in multiple cases of wall and roof collapse, four due to drowning, and two others in different rain-related incidents.

So far, at least 35 people have lost their lives in this year's monsoon season.

Among the fatalities was a 26-year-old man who was electrocuted at a rooftop of a building; a 42-year-old woman who drowned inside her flooded house, and a 45-year-old motorist who lost his life after his motorcycle slipped along a wet road.

Parts of the city were submerged after being hit by the highest single-day rainfall in 53 years – 223.5 mm (8.7 inches) in 12 hours on Thursday, August 27.

This broke the previous 24-hour rainfall record of 211 mm (8.3 inches) set on July 26, 1976, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) confirmed.

Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz also noted that downpours in August have also smashed 89-year-old records for the city as around 484 mm (19 inches) of rain has so far fallen this month.

"It has never rained so much in the month of August, according to our data [dating back to 1931]," Sarfaraz told Reuters. 

In a statement, the military reported that many areas in the province of Sindh were engulfed by floodwaters, stranding residents.

The Inter-Services Public Relations added that an Army Flood Emergency Control Center has been established in Karachi to assist victims, while a medical camp has been set up at Gulberg, Liaqatabad and New Karachi.

More than 36 sites in the city had been dewatered, while more than 10 00 people had been provided food. Meanwhile, army engineers have also completed the development of the bund along M9 to avoid flooding near the Northern Bypass.

Electricity was shut in several areas as a precautionary measure, according to Karachi Electric's spokesperson.

"Power shutdown in effect for public safety as streets, houses and buildings flooded. In this crisis please be prepared for prolonged shutdowns as power restoration is dependent on water receding."

In its new advisory, the PMD said monsoon rain spells are forecast to continue as a strong system remains in the Arabian Sea, with humidity from the ocean intensifying the downpours.

Featured image credit: chave weather/YouTube

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