The government of Sindh has declared Monday (today) as a public holiday for Karachi and Hyderabad divisions following heavy rain in various parts of the province since Saturday night. The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had predicted that Karachi may receive up to 200 millimetres of rain accompanied by stormy winds on Sunday. Citizens were instructed not to leave their homes unnecessarily. Heavy downpour hit various areas of the city, including Scheme 33, Federal B Area, North Karachi, New Karachi, Nazimabad, Muhammad Ali Society, Bahadurabad, PIB Colony, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Johar, PECHS and adjacent regions. Due to the continuous rain in the metropolis, low-lying areas were flooded on Sunday causing citizens to face severe problems with ambulances unable to reach various locations. Met Department officials have said that the current system of rains may remain across Sindh, including Karachi, until tomorrow (Tuesday). “Due to heavy rainfall which is expected to continue even tomorrow (Monday), #SindhGovt has decided to declare Monday, the 25th of July, as a public holiday in Karachi & Hyderabad Divisions,” Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab wrote on his official Twitter handle. He said that a notification in this regard is being issued. He also requested people to avoid unnecessary movement. The monsoon rains that wreaked havoc in the country resulted in the deaths of 304 people, including 118 children and damaged 8,889 houses, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). A report issued by the NDMA stated that 99 deaths were reported in Balochistan, 61 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 60 in Punjab, 70 in Sindh, eight in Gilgit-Baltistan, five in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and one death was reported in Islamabad. Flash floods triggered by heavy rains caused massive destruction in the Kandia tehsil of Upper Kohistan on Sunday as at least 50 houses and mini-power stations were washed away, media reports said. The flooding coincides with heavy rains in Chitral and Peshawar, where one person died and two were injured, according to the PDMA. Amid rain damages, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif issued directions to the provincial governments to remain alert in the wake of continuing monsoon rainfall which could trigger flash floods in different parts of the country. The prime minister in a message to the chief minister Sindh said that the federal government would provide all possible support to the provincial government in this difficult situation. The prime minister also directed the NDMA to fully assist the provincial governments and the departments concerned, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah along his cabinet members and chief secretary visited old city areas and inspected flow of the storm water drains, installation of cesspool machines. He directed administrator Karachi to install heavy pumping machines in the DHA areas where water had accumulated. The chief minister was accompanied by Minister Information Sharjeel Inam Memon, Minister Local Government Nasir Shah, Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, Commissioner Karachi Iqbal Memon and Secretary Local Government Najam Shah. He visited nullah at Shaheen Complex and inspected its smooth flow right from Shaheen Complex towards Clifton. He got a cesspool installed at the road to dispose of accumulating water in the low-lying areas of the Ziauddin Road. The chief minister on Chundrigar road visited nullah at City station, then at Habib Bank plaza and inspected flow of water there. At Habib bank plaza the flow of the nullah was slow therefore he installed a mobile pumping system there to speed up the flow of the rain water. Murad Ali Shah visited different localities, Imambargah Hussainian Kharadar, Mithadar Lee Market and their adjoining areas and inspected proper disposal of the rainwater and smooth flow of the nullahs in Lyari. The areas of Lyari were clear and there was no rainwater on the roads. While talking to media, the chief minister said that he was making all-out efforts to keep the rainwater disposed of in time. Shah said that almost all the nullas, including those constructed along the main arteries of the city have been cleaned. “I am sure the on-going third spell of heavy rain would not cause any serious issue,” he said.