'The city has drowned': Reactions pour in as Karachiites witness record-breaking rainfall in August

"The federal and provincial governments should cooperate and deploy all resources," says Shehbaz Sharif.
Published August 27, 2020

Heavy rain lashed Karachi on Thursday, submerging the metropolis, paralysing life in the city and claiming at least a dozen lives. According to officials from the Met department, the downpour in August shattered 89-year-old records for the city.

As casualties and other losses continued to climb, many citizens were quick to take to social media to vent their frustration at the lack of planning on the part of government officials.

Meanwhile, politicians expressed their grief at the devastation wrought by the torrential rainfall while some urged others to refrain from politicising "a natural disaster".

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif expressed his grief at the loss and devastation brought about by the downpour.

"The federal and provincial governments should cooperate and deploy all resources to ease the suffering of the people," he advised.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that this was the worst monsoon witnessed by the province in 90 years.

"Today, super monsoon torrential rains and floods continue unabated. Please keep all those in your thoughts who have already been working 24/7 to assist citizens during this record-breaking, unprecedented natural disaster."

In a separate statement, the PPP chairman asked all political leaders to set aside their differences and help the people.

"Safeguarding the masses, their lives, properties and assets is our collective responsibilities. [Therefore] blame games must end in the greater interest of the people."

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said that he had briefed the premier about the situation in Karachi.

"Karachi needs special attention. This is an unusual and abnormal rain situation which requires emergency response. PM is monitoring the situation and assured to take any action required."

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz simply said her heart was with Karachi.

PPP leader Senator Sherry Rehman said that "extreme weather" was hitting the Americas and China as well.

"Karachi is not alone as cyclones and torrential rain fill up all reservoirs and dams. The drains too can’t empty out into those catchments as they are overflowing. Praying for everyone’s safety."

"Extreme weather is putting vulnerable urban communities at risk everywhere," she tweeted earlier in the day.

"Testing time for Karachiites once again," said federal minister Ali Haider Zaidi, while sharing videos of the situation in Phase 6, DHA.

PML-N's Miftah Ismail stated that the city was inundated due to the unprecedented rainfall.

"There’s been loss of precious lives, property damage and prolonged power outages. Karachi is home. Karachiites are resilient and overcome any adversity. Today my heart is broken for my city."

Journalist Khurram Hussain said that the city was in the "midst of a natural disaster".

"So are many other cities in Sindh. This is not the time for trolling or politics. It is a time for the fractured leadership of this country to work together to help their citizens out."

Journalist Gharidah Farooqi urged the premier to speak and "declare a level three emergency".

"Millions of people. Billions of revenue. The city has drowned. People are suffering. Yet no one’s seen on the political front."

Designer Asim Jofa urged everyone to stay home while sharing a video of the situation in Phase 5, DHA.

Comedian Ali Gul Pir lashed out at the PPP, the MQM, the PML-N and "all those who have been in power for the last 50 years".

"You don’t have a proper drainage system in your country's biggest city. We can’t even imagine what the rest of Sindh is going through."

Shaniera Akram said that the city that had no water was now under water.

"Can’t believe the footage coming out of Karachi. Bypasses filled with water, ship containers and cars floating down highways, backyards becoming pools and street turned into rivers.

"Scenes out of Karachi are absolutely catastrophic. It’s not the volume of the rain we had, it’s about how prepared we were. We had 355 days this year when it didn’t rain, only to prepare for it when it did. And what did we do?"

She added that the financial cost to repair the damage done would be in the "billions".

Surprisingly, even as reports of flooding, devastation and deaths poured in from across the city, Sindh government minister Saeed Ghani tweeted videos of what seemed to be thoroughfares clear of rainwater.

Header image: People wade through a flooded residential area after heavy monsoon rains in Karachi on August 27, 2020. — AFP