During the recent torrential rains in Karachi, the upscale neigbourhoods of DHA and Clifton have been one of the worst affected. The elite residents have no recourse now except to get out of their water-logged homes and protest for their rights.
It was an unusual sight to witness residents protest at the office of the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) demanding proper civic amenities such as a functioning drainage system and clean water supply. It is unfortunate that we have still not sorted out the basics and are being deprived of these facilities. These residents are some of the richest and highest taxpayers owning the most expensive properties, yet demanding civic services shows the sort state of affairs.
After the recent downpours, many parts of these posh localities plunged into darkness for days. In many localities, power was restored after sixty hours while some still don’t have electricity even after five days. The residents were literally in the dark as they had no power, gas, cellular or internet connections while their houses were flooded and the streets were inundated.
As the situation began to normalise, the damages were assessed revealing losses worth billions of rupees. Many businesses were devastated as entire stocks were destroyed while others faced severe damages to their premises and assets. The city’s infrastructure lies in shambles as roads are broken with massive sinkholes and garbage strewn over them. In short, Karachi is an absolute mess that doesn’t deserve pity but rather our attention.
Help may be on its way but it may too little, too late. The prime minister is expected to arrive later this week and announce a mega-package under the ‘Karachi Transformation Plan’ to help resolve the miseries of the city. He has vowed to find a permanent solution to its woes but collaboration with the Sindh government seems unlikely and politicking will continue over the issue. With the Local Bodies system disbanded, the federal government will have a way to implement what it has planned or Karachi.
Until then, the residents of Karachi from the affluent DHA to the deprived Surjani present a similar situation. The record rainfall is being blamed on climate change and other environmental factors, but we need to learn lessons and prepare before the next disaster as this affects all of us together.