Monsoon kills 15 in Pakistan's Karachi, cuts power

KARACHI, July 19 (Reuters) - Torrential monsoon rain in the southern Pakistani metropolis of Karachi has killed at least 15 people and cut power to most of the city, a relief agency said.

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.

Many of those killed were electrocuted, said Qamar Pervez, an official with the Ehdi Foundation, an organisation involved in the relief efforts.

The death toll could still rise as many parts of the city were still inaccessible to relief workers, he said.

"Even my office has turned into a swimming pool and we're sitting on tables as we speak," Pervez said.

Local newspapers put the death toll as high as 20.

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 and Alex Richardson)


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