The deluge

A city no one cares about

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At least 11 people lost their lives in rain-related incidents in Karachi as the city experienced over 150mm of rain for a second consecutive day.Nine of them died of electrocution. Seven animals were also killed during the incessant rain. The helpless sounding City Mayor Wasim Akhtar said that the city be declared “disaster-struck.”

There was an electricity breakdown and K-Electric said that it had discontinued the supply of power in view of the safety of people as there were reports that electric installations were submerged in water in numerous localities. The power could only be restored as and when water was pumped out.

Urban flooding is not new to Pakistan. The city of Karachi has experienced this year after year and yet no lessons were learnt. Even now the city mayor was found saying that the city needs a complete overhaul of its infrastructure which is not entirely wrong.

The sad part is that the go-to move for the three major political stakeholders – PPP, PTI and MQM – is to blame the other instead of doing their job. The PTI minister Ali Zaidi’s cleanliness drive had not quite picked up when the rains started. Besides he was a little too ambitious, compelled by his party’s wont, and is not likely to accomplish what he has professed to. Already the signs are there, as instead of ridding the entire city of its litter, he now was saying that in the first phase only the dredging of nullahs shall be possible. All the same, it is a commendable move if it is not for the optics alone.

The citizens as well as the administrators both should take this opportunity to think and resolve once and for all that they have to rid themselves of the menace of plastic and manage their kachra among themselves. As for city managers, finger pointing, short-term cosmetic measures are no answer to the long pending structural issues of waste and drainage management.