[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2007, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Storms in Karachi kill 200 people
Injured Karachi residents in hospital, 23 June 2007
Some people were injured by collapsing homes
Torrential rains and gale-force winds have led to the deaths of more than 200 people in the coastal city of Karachi in southern Pakistan.

Some 43 people were killed by the storms on Saturday afternoon, while the other bodies were recovered on Sunday.

Dozens more were injured as heavy winds uprooted trees and brought down power lines, electrocuting people.

Karachi residents were already suffering from power cuts which have led to riots in the city.

The minister of health for Sindh province, where Karachi is located, had earlier reported that 228 people had been killed in the storms, but the province's governor later reduced the total to 213.

It was the worst storm I have seen in my life
Arman Sabir
Karachi resident

Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, has received 17.7mm (0.7in) of rain since Saturday and more rain is predicted late on Sunday, according to the city's Meteorological Department.

Most parts of the city have been without electricity for almost a day.

In India, heavy rain and floods have killed at least 45 people in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Hospital 'emergency'

Karachi residents said that within minutes of the storm breaking, the city's main road, Shahra-e-Faisal, was blocked by fallen debris, leading to accidents and traffic jams.

"The destruction was nothing like I have seen in my life in Karachi," Saad Sayeed, a Karachi-born visitor from Toronto, told the BBC.

Destroyed billboards, Karachi.

"The sky went grey, the rain started coming down and then everything started to quiver in the face of the storm."

Many of the fatalities were caused by the initial high winds. The rain followed and lashed the city for the next half hour.

It flooded much of the city and together with the gale force winds led to the collapse of many shanty town homes, the BBC's Shoaib Hasan says.

People were also killed by fallen trees and sign boards blown down by the winds.

Other deaths were caused by roofs or walls collapsing from the rain.

The overburdened infrastructure of Pakistan's largest city could not cope with the onslaught, says the BBC's Barbara Plett.

Municipal workers have begun to clear up the debris, but Karachi is a long way from recovering and the electricity is still out in parts of the city, our correspondent adds.


Karachi's power utility said it would restore the city's electricity as quickly as possible.

"We are doing our best to restore the power supply, but... the situation is very bad," said a company spokesman told Reuters news agency.

The power grid has already been under terrible strain and another storm is brewing off the coast.

"We have declared an emergency at all government hospitals and cancelled the vacations and leave of doctors and paramedics," AFP news agency quoted Syed Sardar Ahmed, health minister for Sindh province, as saying.

The storms came after temperatures reached 40C (104F) in Karachi.

Angry residents staged street protests after having to spend the night without power to run fans or air conditioners.

Every year thousands of people are killed and hundreds of thousands made homeless across South Asia by months of monsoon rains.

Devastation caused by the floods

The Independent Hundreds killed by flooding in Karachi - 36 hrs ago
Reuters CORRECTED - UPDATE 2-Rains cause chaos in Pakistani city, 220 killed - 38 hrs ago
The Sun Storms in Karachi kill 228 - 41 hrs ago
Washington Post Rains cause chaos in Pakistani city as 220 killed - 44 hrs ago
ABC Online Thunderstorms, gales kill 228 in Pakistan - 46 hrs ago

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific