THESE two pictures reflect the situation in different parts of the rain-ravaged Defence Housing Authority on Monday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
THESE two pictures reflect the situation in different parts of the rain-ravaged Defence Housing Authority on Monday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Even after five days of the initial heavy rains of Aug 27, there are areas in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) that still remain flooded. The stagnant water on the roads threatens infection and mosquito infestations.

There are tree branches, old wooden crates and broken furniture jutting out from manholes, the lids of which have been removed by people hoping to divert the rainwater into the holes. But how do already overflowing gutters and drains take in rainwater? The men on motorbikes with pillion riders dragging long bamboo poles along the road as they go their way has become a common sight. But the stubbornly blocked gutters cannot be cleaned out that easily.

The storm-water drains built in the middle of the roads everywhere in the DHA area have their coverings broken and the dirt blocking them has been dug out though it is all left to lie right there in the middle of the road.

Meanwhile, vehicles are seen dodging these gaping openings. Well, the lucky ones anyway. The unlucky ones have been known to fall inside and damage their suspension or some other part of the undercarriage.

With no electricity, many roads and streets of Defence are still under water despite five days since the rainfall

Khayaban-i-Nishat and its trees with glistening green leaves after the rains looks like a swamp. One wonders if the reptiles whose natural habitats were also disturbed in the urban flooding especially in the vacant reclaimed areas in DHA Phases 6, 7 and 8 would like to relocate to this part of the posh area where the elite reside.

In every other flooded street off Khayaban-i-Muhafiz and Khayaban-i-Shujaat one hears the vroom and roar of generators. “Did you know, we have spent over Rs20,000 on generator fuel only in the last five days,” the voice of a DHA resident protesting outside the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) office earlier in the day echoes in the ears.

Where the water has left the roads, the roads have been destroyed. Some are broken, some have their surfaces eroded. And in some places where a VIP, government official or someone high up in the ranks resides, the DHA people pumped out the water from one road to then release it on another.

Many of the homes in these posh localities are empty nests. The young children live abroad with their families leaving behind their elderly parents, many of whom are also unwell, requiring regular check-ups, medicine and someone to take care of them. The servants or caregivers couldn’t reach them. So many were hungry as besides having no electricity in the house they didn’t even have gas for their stoves. Many had to be rescued as their helpless and worried-to-death children got in touch with relatives and neighbours from abroad to look in on their parents.

Sadly, DHA, said to the land of the moneyed, where everyone pays tax for every little service, which they are not getting anyway and have to buy by spending more money, doesn’t even have a proper hospital.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2020

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