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Wednesday Jul 29 2020

Residents of Karachi's Central, West district face losses in millions after Monday's rain

Apart from financial losses, the pathetic rain measures have left them scarred physically as well as psychologically. Photo: File

People in Karachi’s Central and West districts had to face losses to the tune of millions as Monday’s hour-long downpour damaged their properties and the blame game continued between the Sindh and local governments, reported The News

According to the publication, apart from causing financial losses, the pathetic rain measures adopted by the authorities has left them scarred physically as well as psychologically.

Areas affected by Monday's rain were the Orangi Town, Pathan Colony, Banaras, Sakhi Hassan, Five Star Chowrangi, Nazimabad, Gulberg, Ayesha Manzil, Buffer Zone, Powerhouse Chowrangi, Gulshan and Gulistan-e-Jauhar. Nazimabad recorded the highest precipitation at 34mm.

The newspaper reported that the main reason behind the devastation in the two districts was encroachment of the minor and major storm water drains. Interestingly, both the elected chairmen of the Central and West district municipal corporations (DMCs) belong to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

The city's 48 major storm water drains fall under the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation's (KMC) jurisdiction, while 500 minor drains fall under the six DMCs. However, the elected officials have cited lack of funds as an impediment in cleaning these drains.

The News reported that the KMC and DMCs started cleaning the city’s nullahs from July 2 — after holding several news conferences against the provincial government and demanding funds.

According to the English daily, Karachi's District Central had flooded after Monday's rain due to the the overflowing of the Gujjar Nullah, the city’s biggest storm water drain. The Nullah starts from New Karachi and ends at the Chona Depot in Haji Mureed Goth, where it falls into the Lyari River.

The drain crosses Rashid Minhas Road at Shafiq Morr and goes towards the Café Piyala Hotel and all the way to the Ziauddin Hospital and Liaquatabad before it falls into the river. 

In October 2018, the long-awaited Gujjar Nullah rehabilitation project was undertaken at the cost of Rs12.5 billion. The project included the shifting of 30,000 residents and the construction of 24-feet-wide service roads on both sides of the drain.

Both the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government and the MQM-led local government have been keen on starting the project since 2007. But the project never really saw the light of day.

Still flooded

According to the publication, a huge swamp of mud has been formed after water and filth inundated the major arteries in the Central and West districts after water from Monday's rain had receded. However, water from the other areas is yet to be drained.

In Orangi Town several storm water drains overflowed again on Tuesday. In District West’s Chishti Nagar rainwater could not be drained from houses. Rainwater accumulated in the Landi Kotal Chowrangi, Five Star, Sakhi Hassan and KDA Chowrangi areas was still not cleared until the evening.

On the other hand, a wall collapse of the nullah, houses and shops in District Central’s Kashmir Colony, Pak Colony and Waheedabad areas remain flooded. While, water from shops and houses in Liaquatabad is yet to be drained after the Gujjar Nullah overflowed in the neighbourhood.

There was also no room left for patients or ambulances to enter the Saifee Hospital at Five Star Chowrangi as rainwater had flowed in through all three gates of the facility. 

The overflow of the nullahs also submerged roads at Gulberg’s Peoples Chowrangi in water. The minor storm water drain at the median of Peoples Chowrangi and Gulberg Town carries water to the Gujjar Nullah, was also chocked.

The News reported that residents of Orangi Town Sector 11½ also continued to deal with the aftermath of Monday’s downpour. It reported that entire area was covered with a muddy swamp and the garbage that the overflowing drains had brought in.

While no machinery of the Central DMC was in sight and citizens had taken it up themselves to dry up mud puddles.

A local woman recalled how all of their electrical appliances stopped working after the water flooded their houses. “It was up to our necks,” she said, adding that she and her children were stranded inside their home and had to be rescued through the windows.

Another resident said that a storm water drain of only five feet was constructed in the area, following which the locals started facing problems. “Filth and garbage is everywhere after the water receded.”

Lost money

All the shops in Golimar faced losses of millions of rupees. An auto shop owner near Golimar, Asad Saleem, said they could not run their business on Tuesday. 

“When we reached our shops in the morning, we found that the water had drained out, but five or six inches of muddy puddles had blocked our shop’s shutters,” Saleem told The News.

Saleem said that such a situation required a tractor or a machine to dry up the puddles, which could not be arranged because the entire District Central was facing the same problem. A furniture market shopkeeper in Liaquatabad shared how they did not even get the opportunity to move their furniture to a safe place after rainwater started flooding the area on Monday evening.

He said that by Tuesday, when they opened their shops, all of their furniture worth millions of rupees was destroyed. “Who is responsible for this?” he asked, lamenting that they pay their taxes to the government and get this in return.

Several cars and motorbikes were also destroyed in District Central, and mechanics were not available to fix the vehicles that had broken down. A Federal C Area residents said his car had completely drowned, adding that he could not find any mechanic because they had been trying to get their shops cleared.

Power outages

Amid all the chaos, multiple areas of the metropolis continued to face power outages. Electricity supply to most of the areas in the Central and West districts that were flooded could not be restored.

Umair Alvi of the FC Area shared how power in their locality could not be restored even by Tuesday night because rainwater could not be drained out of several areas. 

Meanwhile, K-Electric lamented in a press statement that during the rains they faced operational challenges due to more than 2,000 exaggerated or fake emergency complaints, saying that such complaints resulted in the diversion of constrained resources from other serious hazards and were an underlying reason for extended outages in a few areas.

Originally published in The News