Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said the "entire nation was feeling the pain the people of Karachi" after the recent record-breaking rains and announced that the federal and Sindh governments would work together to solve the city's major problems.
"The whole nation feels the pain our people in Karachi are going through. However, out of this devastation and suffering there is now a positive development as my govt, along with the Sindh govt, is moving to immediately act and resolve 3 major problems of Karachi," the premier tweeted.
Elaborating on the work they would undertake, the premier said:
"Cleaning the nullahs once and for all and dealing with encroachments impeding water channels; devising a permanent solution to the solid waste disposal and sewerage problems; and resolving the critical issue of water supply to the citizens of Karachi."
The overall death toll from the most recent three-day spell of rain in the metropolis rose to 40 on Friday after 10 more people died from rain-related incidents, police and officials said.
CM Shah questions why areas still submerged in rainwater
According to an update from the Sindh Chief Minister House, several areas in the city are still submerged in water after torrential rains began Thursday.
"Rainwater has accumulated in some areas in Tower while several areas in Bath Island, Gulshan-i-Faisal and Clifton in the city's south district are also submerged," Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah informed the meeting, directing that those areas be cleared.
He questioned why the accumulated rainwater had not yet been removed from the south district, pointing out that the Urban Disaster Response Unit of the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) was not seen in action during the rains.
"Identify all the points which can stop the flow of rainwater," Shah instructed, adding that any buildings — whether government or private — that were stopping the outflow of rainwater should be bulldozed.
The chief minister said government employees were working to clear areas of rainwater but people could not identify them because they "wore civilian clothes".
"Make all [workers] wear jackets," he added.
"I want to fix the city even if I have to take the strictest measures," he said. He also directed a senior member of the Sindh Revenue Board to conduct a survey of Karachi and other districts of Sindh to assess the damage.
Shah further directed all deputy commissioners to take care of the nullahs in their districts and ensure that they did not choke.
"The nullahs are cleared of rainwater but are choked by rubbish and plastic shoppers. All these nullahs should be cleaned."
He said he was aware that there was a shortage of staff, adding that the government should hire "temporary staff to deal with the [rain-related] work on an emergency basis".
The chief minister was informed that power remains suspended in many areas of the city. Service at 170 out of Karachi Electric's 1,900 feeders is yet to be restored, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, Karachi Electric in a tweet said that 91 per cent of its feeders had been powered up.
Will visit Karachi next week, says PM
A day earlier, during a National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting, PM Imran told the chief minister that he will visit Karachi next week.
"I will sit with you to draw up a complete plan to help Sindh government," the prime minister was quoted as saying by a statement released by Sindh CM House.
Chief Minister Shah thanked the prime minister for calling him and offering assistance. Shah said that Karachi had faced a "disaster" and added that rains had affected almost the entire Sindh province.