Heavy rain in Karachi

Heavy rain persisted for a second successive and crippled life in Karachi on Tuesday, nine further people died in various rain-related incidents. The death number reaches the top 20 in two days and 15 of the victims died of electrocution in various parts of the city. The K-Electric also could not guarantee nonstop power supply in Karachi as many places remained without electricity for about 24 hours. In North Karachi, nine-year-old Masooma died of electrocution near her house in Sector 5-C/3. The girl encountered the fatal destiny when she came outside her home and experienced an electric shock due to broken electric wire that fell in collected rainwater. The body was relocated to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formal proceedings. 20-year-old Atif Ali was electrocuted inside his house in Yousuf Goth in Surjani Town. The body was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities. A 22-year-old Kamran, died of electrocution outside his house in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Block 13 D-2, when he touched an electric pole. The body was moved to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. In Defence Housing Authority, 45-year-old Bakht Zaman died of electrocution inside his home in Hazara Colony. Adam Usman, 36, died of electrocution when he was switching on a water pump in his house near Juna Masjid in Lyari. An unknown man also died of electrocution at Macchi Miani Road in Kharadar. The body was taken to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi and then to the Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth for identification. Reports appeared of a 35-year-old unknown man being brought to the JPMC. The man had died in a park in Mohammad Ali Society. A six-year-old boy died and five of his family members suffered injuries when the roof of their house went down in Solangi Goth near Superhighway. The body and the injured persons were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for treatment. The area police said that the touched house was constructed on a weak foundation and the rains further damaged the already insecure structure. Several areas in the city remained without power for the past about 40 hours leading to a severe shortage of water as well. Likewise complaints were also received from Malir, Korangi, Landhi, Shah Faisal Colony, Green Town, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Defence Housing Authority, Gulzar-i-Hijri, Shershah, Keamari, Baldia Town, Federal B Area, Golimar, Lasbela, Saddar, Soldier Bazaar, etc. The K-Electric remained determined to seeing power supply to principal installations and electricity to airport, strategic KWSB pumping stations and big hospitals remained nonstop on the second day of rain. Due to waterlogging, in some places faults even remained and the KE was cooperating with requisite civic agencies to ensure drainage of water to restore power supply. Outburst rainwater entered a number of low-lying localities and villages located on the outskirts of the city as well as flooding a section of Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway, also called M9, causing its closure for around five hours on Tuesday. It seems culverts were too small for a sudden rush of water, which led to the closure of the track. It is significant to know that flooding within the city and parts of its outskirts has become a normal feature whenever Karachi experiences heavy rainfall.
It is disgraceful that Karachi Pakistan’s commercial largest city and economic dominant cannot resist rainfall. People of this city satisfy themselves with flooded roads and houses, overflowing sewerage lines, extended power failures, and traffic congestion. On Monday and Tuesday the city received 164mm of rain. A large number of deaths were registered from rain-related mishaps after continuous rainfall Karachi and other parts of Sindh. A large number lost their lives from electrocution due to badly preserve electricity poles and open wires. All these deaths and injuries could have been evaded if the provincial and local governing bodies’ paid more attention to the overlooked city infrastructure before the rains arrived. The causes of flooding was mainly due to uncontrolled housing and encroachments being built on the city’s natural waterways, further addition to the discharging of solid waste into its drainage network. With swift deforestation, Karachi’s expanding solid gaps do not permit water to be obviously immersed into the soil. Climate change will only worsen these problems in the coming years, for which Karachi are people are not ready. It is home to many migrants from other parts of the country searching employment opportunities with some extent estimates placing the number of migrants approximately 50 percent of the total population of the city. Designing for the large migrant inflow is considerably difficult. Tremendous traffic jams due to most streets being flooded with water, schools have been closed and movement of cargo to the Karachi port and from it is badly affected with severe side effect on the national economy. It is hoped that the federal and provincial disaster management authorities design a long-term plan that would deal with climate change-related issues. Government policy to plant trees as a means to deal with the adverse impact of climate change is a step in the right direction. National Disaster Management Authority was allocated 309 million rupees in the budget for the current year against 273 million rupees disbursed last year. There is an immediate need for enhancing governance in disaster management authorities, federal and provincial, through greater responsibility and clarity. The lives of people living in a city of more than 20 million people has been made even dangerous by lengthened power outages, with power cuts lasting several hours. K-Electric should take the example of Far East Asia where heavy rainfall is daily event, life continues without any interruption and the supply of electricity remains intact. The expansion of the monsoon in the Bay of Bengal and inter connected low pressure system was being informed for weeks. Even then it taking any kind of protective measures to lessen the suffering of people was beyond the ability of competent authorities. In Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan most people have died in the ongoing monsoon. More than 10 million people have been affected by the flood in South Asian countries, while millions have been dislocated. It is not that rains fall unexpectedly the season of monsoon brings lots of rain every year. After three successful abnormal monsoons in the last three years, we are having a normal monsoon this year. Successive governments have restricted the planning work necessary to advantage rainwater as a valuable resource.

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