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At least five persons were killed and over 50 injured after an intense windstorm struck Karachi on Monday, prompting civic authorities to declare emergency to aavoid any untoward situation. Also, winds caused massive harm to civic infrastructure with uprooting trees, and electricity poles causing traffic blockages at different city thoroughfares.

Makeshift rooftops of a number of houses in various parts of city also collapsed. The storm hit power infrastructure of K-Electric, with many areas including Malir, Kaemari, Korangi, and Liaqatabad, Landhi, Orangi Town, North Nazimabad etc experienced hours-long power outage.

Rescue sources said a girl was killed when the roof of a house in Haji Ibrahim Goth collapsed. Another child was killed near People's Chowrangi near Mazar-i-Quaid where a tree fell on her. Two people were injured in Landhi No-3 in a wall collapse. A cleric was injured in Fish Harbour where a makeshift roof of a mosque caved in. Incidents of wall and roof collapses were reported in Malir, Korangi, Lyari PECHS, and Surjani areas as well. The victims were moved to different hospitals.

As many as 39 people with different injuries were brought to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for medical assistance, the officials said.

A seminary located in Chakiwara collapsed. Five children received minor injuries as roof of their school located in Tipu Sultan Road collapsed. Three people were reportedly died in a traffic accident on Karachi-Quetta highway while several people got injured in different overnight traffic accidents.

Singer and programme host Fakhr-e-Alam took to twitter saying "Garden furniture in one of my neighbors' house flew like a projectile and crashed into his vehicles windscreen breaking it. Plz ensure there are no free moving objects around you." Five passenger coaches, a truck, and a police mobile also overturned due to strong winds.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah ordered all divisional commissioners to take care of the vulnerable residents of the city. He asked those who lived in sheds to be alert and cautious as the city experiences extreme weather. CM directed municipal authorities to take all necessary steps required to handle the situation and asked deputy commissioners to help them.

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC)-run hospitals have also declared emergency to deal with any situation ahead of forecast of heavy rains and dust storm in the city. Mayor Waseem Akhtar has directed the municipal services, fire brigade, health and medical, parks and engineering department to remain alert and. He also directed the parks department to remove all fallen trees from main thoroughfares.

He also appealed to citizens to take all precautionary measures during present weather and avoid going out unnecessarily or standing under hoardings or beneath trees. The civic body has set up a desk for redressal of complaints as well. Inspector General of Police Sindh Dr Kaleem Imam has also asked police to be ready to deal with possible rain emergency in the province, including Karachi.

Meanwhile, a KE spokesman said some localized faults emerged in some parts of Malir, Korangi, Shah Faisal, a few blocks in Gulistan-e-Johar and Gulshan-e-Iqbal, which were rectified by KE teams.

He said Power supply to strategic installations including key hospitals, KWSB's water pumping stations, and airport remained uninterrupted during this period. Obstructions to electricity infrastructure caused by trees uprooted by strong winds were also removed by on-ground teams. Power supply in the city remained at routine levels. However, despite the intensity of the storm, K-Electric's rapid response teams maintained vigilance as the city experienced strong winds along with light rain.

"During the windstorm, We urge public to stay away from broken wires, refrain from taking shelter under transformers or standing near electricity poles during rainy and windy weather to avoid accidents," he said. The power utility also maintains close coordination with the National Disaster Management Authority, the Pakistan Meteorological Department and the city administration to extend effective support. KE also urges public to avoid using illegal means (kundas).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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