Most Seaview residents have covered their windows with protective sheets while taking their own precautionary measures against the cyclone. (Right) On the other hand, a large number of people evacuated from coastal areas and brought to a huge shelter home in Chashma Goth on Wednesday complained of shortage of food and other essentials.— Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Most Seaview residents have covered their windows with protective sheets while taking their own precautionary measures against the cyclone. (Right) On the other hand, a large number of people evacuated from coastal areas and brought to a huge shelter home in Chashma Goth on Wednesday complained of shortage of food and other essentials.— Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Amid talk of evacuation, voluntary or mandatory, especially in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) there was also talk of staying put. Staying put for your own good. At least that was what the residents of the seafront areas of the locality believed.

Many were also contradicting Cyclone Biparjoy warnings. They said that there was too much hype being created about the storm. Even the normal high tide was being looked at as the doing of the brewing storm at sea.

Then there was much irritation about the DHA vigilance teams ringing bells and knocking on doors at odd hours. While the men in their light blue uniforms with maroon caps drove around on their pickup trucks and motorcycles making announcements on their microphones about the dangerous threat of the cyclone, they were going even further by knocking on people’s gates and ringing their bells in the middle of the night to tell them to think about evacuating as the storm was approaching.

‘Storm’ of 1999 recalled

“We are owners of our properties. We are taxpayers. We are not in any kind of trouble with the law that you need to behave rudely with us,” said the actor, producer and singer Khaled Anam in a video message on social media in view of the vigilance teams’ behaviour.

“We are educated people and we are also looking at international weather reports. We understand well that things are not as bad as they are being made out to be,” he added.

Deciding to stay put, they recall past experiences when burglars targeted evacuated homes

“You cannot expect us to just drop everything and leave our properties like this because someone needs to also take responsibility for guarding our homes in our absence. For that we can make an inventory of our valuables, which someone needs to sign before we think about trusting them with our homes,” he said.

Mr Anam was obviously recalling 1999 when there was panic here about another big cyclone that eventually hit Thatta and Badin. Back then the gullible residents of Seaview had left their homes to save their lives only to return there later to find so many of their valuables burgled. Many also reported that their electrical appliances such as ceiling fans, lamps, air conditioners and television were stolen.

Another showbiz personality, Bushra Ansari, also took to social media to share her thoughts about the cyclone. Sharing a video from her apartment located right near the shore in DHA Phase 8, she urged the public to not believe the hype as from where she was she could see that there was no apparent danger. “The bigger issue here is the dug-up roads in DHA. If it rains then we will have problems,” she pointed out.

As regards the reported ‘voluntarily’ evacuation of the people living in apartments near Seaview, SSP South Syed Asad Raza said that for the last two days, the DHA and law enforcers were trying to persuade the residents to shift to other places but they appeared reluctant. He said there were estimated 2,000 flats at the Seaview side, which should be evacuated but the residents told the DHA and law enforcers that they were not ready and willing to be shifted to any relief camp in Malir, etc.

However, he said the residents stated that in case of any eventuality, they would prefer to stay at the residences of their relatives, friends and neighbours instead of any relief camp.

The South SSP said that force would not be used for evacuation of the residents living at the beachside.

On Wednesday, some first and second-floor Seaview Apartments could be seen with their windows covered with blue or orange plastic sheets. The residents there said that they were taking their own precautions.

They also told Dawn that vigilance teams, Rangers and police have told them that they were only asking ground-floor residents to evacuate and not the residents of the entire building.

Still, the DHA have set up relief camps at the DHACSS Creek Vistas Campus in Phase-8, the DHACSS Campus at Khayaban-i-Hilal in Phase-7, the SKBZ College and the DHA Degree College in Phase-6. There are also mobile relief and recovery centres at various spots. These include one at Imambargah Yasrab, at the Khayaban-i-Hafiz and Khayaban-i-Nishat crossing, at the Khayaban-i-Rahat and Sabah Avenue crossing and at the DHA SVC Directorate in Phase 8.

Also, earlier in the day, the DHA Administrator met resident associations, notables and councillors to address the situation.

They also exchanged views on the DHA’s Storm Water Drain Project and measures to take during the storm.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...
Budget and politics
Updated 14 Jun, 2024

Budget and politics

PML-N, scared of taking bold steps lest it loses whatever little public support it has, has left its traditional support — traders — virtually untouched.
New talks?
14 Jun, 2024

New talks?

WILL this prove another false start, or may we expect a more sincere effort this time? Reference is made to the...
A non-starter
14 Jun, 2024

A non-starter

WHILE the UN Security Council had earlier this week adopted a US-backed resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza...