Karachi Flooding


For the past several monsoon seasons, Karachi has been flooding like never before. With people busy posting pictures that look straight out of Venice, severe urban flooding is the order of the day and houses and cars continue to be washed away like leaves in the wind. Water has crept up to waists and the death rate is following suit just as gallantly. But while Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah waves his hands in the air (where to pump the floodwater out to) and Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif shakes his head in utter despair, those living in the alleged biggest city, financial headquarters and commercial lifeline of Pakistan cannot help but wonder who should they turn to?
That their country is reeling under one of the worst rainfalls (thank you, climate change) recorded in the past 89 years goes without saying but what had taken a state by surprise two years ago should not be treated like an out-of-the-blue disaster. The thunderbolt lost its frightening streak a long time ago and what Karachi is going through now reflects largely on the incompetence of its administration. Why couldn’t the ever-so-omnipotent binoculars of Murtaza Wahab catch the cracks in the drainage system beforehand? As #KarachiRains trends on social media, what became of the development funds earmarked for contingencies is being sighed all around but there is slim hope of the ruling PPP willing to be held accountable. And why would it when every Tom, Dick and Harry was allowed to make it big in the world at the expense of a thriving metropolis in the last seven decades?
As Bombay, its affluent cousin bloomed and blossomed, ill-planned strategies, political leg-pulling and population explosion forced Karachi to wilt away. With the dismal power situation, the crumbling infrastructure and a literally non-existent drainage network, Pakistan’s city of lights is still waiting for someone to tap on the shoulders of its rulers and ask them to wake up. The horrors of 2020’s devastating flooding when scores upon scores of hapless citizens rushed to find cover because rainfall had stripped roofs from their heads are still etched fresh in everyone’s memories. It can only be hoped that the provincial government would swish the magical wand of its “rain emergency plan” and protect the people from being swallowed alive by a city they love so much.