Heavy Rains and Urban Flooding


When it rains in Islamabad or elsewhere in urban areas, TV reporters and photographer have a field day. With spiced-up lunch or dinner on their mind, they would always describe the weather as pleasant and that it made the day of the “citizens”.

Let us be serious about weather reporting. It is about climate change. It is about unpredictable rain patterns. It is about the posterity. It is about economy and agriculture and seasonal diseases and so on.

Cities like Karachi, Quetta and Islamabad have recently been hit by a disastrous flood, due to excessive or above-average rains. The media shows submerged roads, and hundreds of vehicles and motorcycles wading through the knee-deep roads. What Quetta experienced is, according to the authorities, due to a ‘cloud burst’, resulting in a rainfall of 130mm. Last year, the same cloudburst hit Islamabad. Soon after the flood hit the city, pictures and videos started circulating on social media showing cars being swept away by the water. As the water cleared from the streets, people witnessed huge amounts of garbage and waste left behind as a result of the flood.

One of the major causes of the flood is reported to be unauthorised and illegal constructions and developments. According to reports, various housing societies in E-11 have tampered with the nullahs. There has been construction leading to a reduction in the size of the nullah or even alteration in its natural flow.

However, illegal developments are not the only problem. Massive dumping of solid waste into the nullahs hinders the flow of water and consequently reduces the carrying capacity. Flooding is a serious issue which causes numerous deaths and a lot of destruction of infrastructure in Pakistan, resulting in huge losses.

Pakistan should aim and work towards futuristic urban town planning with an efficient flood strategy. Furthermore, encroachments, along with unauthorised and unsupervised construction, should also be controlled so the government’s well-planned town planning is not tampered with.

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