Rain causes havoc in Karachi: Is it Natural calamity or Man-made disaster?

Karachi, a city known as a city of lights, the financial hub, the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, one of the world’s most important cosmopolitan face an onslaught of calamities every day. Over the years the people of the city have only seen their troubles skyrocketing.

The Karachi we live in today is loaded with problems. Power outages, uncontrollable traffic, broken roads, scarcity of clean drinking water topped with tanker mafia, chocked sewerage lines, and the list goes on.

The recently received spell of monsoon has completely broken down the lives of Karachiites. Flooded homes and streets, residents dislocated, several dead, overflowing sewers are forming an ideal breeding ground for diseases amid pandemic. Moreover, it is extremely common for roofs to collapse in ‘kachi abadees’ (informal settlements), amplifying the vulnerability of underprivileged.

The areas most prone to flooding include Sharifabad and Gareeabad in Liaquatabad Town, Nagan, Gulshan-e-Mayamar, Azizabad, Safoora Goth, Burns Road, Tower, Kharadar, Khada Market and Machar Colony in Lyari, parts of Saddar, Shahrah-e-Faisal, airport, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Malir, and Shah Faisal Town. This is not the first time Karachi has witnessed urban flooding. Since 2000, it has happened six times, in 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2019, and now this year, shattering 90-year-old records.

One might ponder: is it natural calamity or man-made disaster? Lack of planning by the authorities, or the hollowness of their promises? Climate change definitely amplifies the danger and is easier to blame rather than holding the people and authority accountable.

Rapid urbanization and the city’s struggling infrastructure leave Karachi wary. Karachi hosts the highest number of migrants as compared to any other city of Pakistan. At the same time, it is not well equipped, which results in worsening the situation.

Many migrants coming to Karachi are often referred to as climate refugees, who due to lack of rain or other climate patterns move to cities to find sources of income.

Climate refugees mostly live in slums that are mostly built along waterways and drains. As the settlements keep growing, the drains are encroached, blocking the natural water paths. Drains are also choked since they have become sites for solid waste dumping. This is one of the main causes of urban flooding in Karachi.

Its heart aching that Karachi generates 55 percent tax revenue for Pakistan, yet it is neglected by its political leadership. It’s always better late than never, finally and hopefully the three major political parties in the city; Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) have put their differences aside to end the miseries of the megacity.

The solution to Karachi requires an intelligent approach. Nevertheless, solutions to each problem have been discussed and debated over a period of time. Now is the time to show some serious action and commitment to the city. The coordination committee formed needs to act fast to eradicate issues that are plaguing the city. On the other hand, Karachi demands sincerity from its residents too we take everything for granted and it is time we take responsibility. Cleanliness is half Iman – do we even understand that or does it needs the government to do that?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.

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