July 19, 2009 / 11:05 AM / 10 years ago

Monsoon kills 26 in Pakistan's Karachi, cuts power

(Updates death toll, changes sourcing to mayor)

KARACHI, July 19 (Reuters) - Torrential monsoon rain in the southern Pakistani metropolis of Karachi has killed 26 people and cut power to most of the city, its mayor said on Sunday.

The rain flooded low-lying parts of the city, damaging hundreds of homes, downing power lines and inundating power grid stations. Virtually all of the city was left without electricity on Saturday night, but power was gradually being restored.

The victims were either electrocuted, drowned, or had roofs collapse on top of them, Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal said.

"We have 26 deaths but these figures could go up, as now reports have started pouring in from different areas," Kamal told Reuters.

Efforts were under way to restore traffic and electricity and to pump floodwaters out of streets and homes, he said.

Karachi, a city of more than 16 million, suffers from an outdated drainage system that leaves parts of the city vulnerable to flooding, though officials say they have made improvements.

Pakistan’s chief meteorologist, Qamar-uz-Zaman, said the country’s commercial hub had received 14.7 cm (6 in) of rain between Friday evening and Sunday morning, but that the skies were expected to clear by evening.

The annual monsoon rains have started about 15 days later than normal and will probably bring 30 percent less rainfall than usual this year, Zaman said.

Rain and flash floods causes extensive damage in the region every year. In 2007, about 250 people were killed as a result of the monsoon. (Reporting by Faisal Aziz; Writing by Kamran Haider; Editing by Jason Subler)

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