Pakistan’s military has said it will deploy rescue helicopters to Karachi to transport some 200 families to safety after canal waters flooded the city amid monsoon rains.
Rescuers could not use boats to reach the marooned families because of fast-moving floodwaters in the city’s low-lying neighbourhoods and the military said helicopters would fly when the weather was clear.
Although rains have lashed many parts of Pakistan, the southern port city of Karachi, located near the Arabian sea, has been the hardest-hit. Streets have been flooded with sewage water. Sewage and drainage systems in the city are outdated.
There were no immediate reports of casualties on Wednesday, but 90 people have died in rain-related incidents across Pakistan since Sunday, the country’s national disaster management agency said.
Video footage showed parts of the city under water as troops tried to repair an embankment of a canal. Water started pouring out of the canal on Tuesday amid heavy rains, inundating nearby areas.
On Wednesday, some families displaced by the rain said the muddy water was waist-deep when they left houses carrying small bags with essential items. Although volunteers and troops were able to reach several rain-hit areas with food, people in affected areas complained they were still waiting for help.
“You can see water is everywhere and muddy water has also entered my home and we have not received government help,” said Manzoor Ali, a resident in Karachi’s rain-hit neighbourhood Dur Mohammad Goth. He said water damaged their household items.
The rains were expected to continue for the rest of the week in Karachi, where Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this month sent troops to help local authorities pump out rainwater from residential areas.
Every year, many cities in Pakistan struggle to cope with the annual monsoon deluge, drawing criticism about poor planning. The monsoon season runs from July to September.