Netizens rage against authorities as several areas of Karachi remain powerless, submerged days after rain

Updated 01 Sep 2020

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Picture shows a street in Karachi's Kharadar area inundated with rainwater and sewerage. — Photo courtesy Fakhr-e-Alam's Twitter account
Picture shows a street in Karachi's Kharadar area inundated with rainwater and sewerage. — Photo courtesy Fakhr-e-Alam's Twitter account

Several areas in Karachi remained submerged in rainwater and sewerage, five days after torrential rain wrecked Karachi's infrastructure, social media users complained on Tuesday.

Videos of Karachi's Surjani Town, parts of Defence Housing Authority and Kharadar areas were circulated on Twitter and Facebook, showing people standing in waist-deep water mixed with sewerage. In a report by Urdu News, residents of Surjani Town complained that the area had been inundated since 10 days yet authorities had made no efforts to drain the water.

A volunteer from the Here to Help organisation said that people in the area had made rafts for transport and were out of clean drinking water.

As per posts by social media users, power is yet to be restored in many areas even after six days. The Karachi Electric, for its part, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Other social media users, including PTI leader Khurram Sher Zaman, shared similar stories about Kharadar. Zaman posted a video of Kharadar, lamenting that the incumbent PPP government, that has been in power in Sindh for more than a decade, had not designed a drainage system for the area.

In a video, Zaman railed against the Sindh government saying that its ministers were "making videos of different points at Sharae Faisal, claiming that water has been drained".

He said that it has been five days since the monsoon spell but water clogged the streets of Kharadar, where Wazir Mansion is located.

"They don't have any shame, the ministers should come here [...] I have been calling the DC, MD water board and Karachi commissioner for the past five days. A message has also been sent to the chief minister that all the streets of Kharadar are filled with sewerage water. People don't have clean drinking water, women cannot [come out of their homes] to buy breakfast, there is no gas," he said. Zaman added that the area was within his constituency and so he would "come here every day and make videos while you make videos of Sharae Faisal".

"Welcome to Wazir Mansion — birthplace of Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Thugs ruling province of Sindh since last 12 years couldn't design storm drain or sewerage system for this area where our Quaid use (sic) to live. What else can one expect from PPP's Sindh govt," he tweeted along with a video.

Television personality Fakhr-e-Alam also shared photos showing submerged roads, wondering "what the Quaid would say if he saw these images himself?"

Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab, however, insisted that the government had deployed machinery to drain water from the area.

Several streets and roads in Gulzar-e-Hijri were also submerged, providing a breeding ground to mosquitoes.

Residents of DHA, which is one of the hardest-hit areas, also complained that water had not been drained from roads and electricity had not been restored in some areas, despite protests by the people a day earlier.

Frustrated by the lack of action by departments concerned, residents of DHA and Clifton had yesterday gathered outside the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) office to protest against the post-rain situation in the two localities.

Centre jumps in to help

Meanwhile, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that the federal government has designed a "specific programme" to address the problems of Karachi which would be finalised after taking all stakeholders on board.

"Obviously Sindh government has the mandate [and] nothing can happen without their cooperation," he told reporters at a press conference in Islamabad.

Faraz added that Prime Minister Imran Khan will announce the programme and its details himself when he visits Karachi on Friday.

Yesterday, the prime minister was briefed on a programme dubbed 'Karachi Transformation Plan', that has been proposed by the planning ministry. The plan aims to find a permanent solution to issues such as solid waste management, water shortage, cleaning of nullahs, sewerage and transport.

The premier had directed members of his government to finalise the proposal after taking all stakeholders on board within a week so that it can be approved and implemented.

Earlier today, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, who is on a visit to Sindh, announced that philanthropists and volunteer organisations based in Punjab will build 10,000 houses in interior Sindh cities that have also suffered destruction from the recent rains.

Addressing a pressing conference alongside Sarwar, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said: "At this time, federal government wants to help Sindh. Never before has such a serious effort been made to help Sindh."

Record-breaking spell

The city received the heaviest rainfall in a single day ever recorded, according to the Met department. Roads were inundated with water and, in many areas, houses were flooded as well. Power supply and mobile signals were disrupted for days due to damage to infrastructure.

The rain, once again, exposed the poor infrastructure and drainage system of the financial hub of the country.

Following the devastation of the metropolis, the premier had last week promised that his government would "not abandon" the city's people "in their time of crisis".

"My government is fully cognisant of the suffering of our people in the wake of the heavy rains, especially the people of Karachi," he said via tweets.

Separately, he also announced that the Centre would work with the Sindh government to resolve Karachi's years-old issues, like the desilting of nullahs and improving the city's drainage system.

"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," he had said.