Karachi Flood: Government’s Failure?


Monsoon again came with flood warning this year along with havoc across the streets, underpasses and homes in the metropolis of the country, Karachi. The first rains of the monsoon in Karachi has broken the average three-month monsoon rain record, which is 141.4mm rainfall. The most populated city of the country was not the only victim of this brutal rainfall at least 26 people were killed in rain-related incidents in Sindh, fourteen people from Karachi, but also nine in Thatta, two in Khairpur, and one in Sukkur. The rain also resulted in power outages lasting more than thirty-six hours.
It is true that these are unprecedented levels of rainfall and what is happening in Sindh has not been seen anywhere in the world. Thus there is no proper instruction manual for any government to follow. However, when a region has experienced this kind of flooding for the past five years consecutively and much longer before that the lack of precedent stops becoming a justification.
It is not as if the government was not expecting this various meteorological department had predicted months in advance that due to the early summer, the level of rainfall this year might exceed any past records. Moreover, due to the loss of lives and property from such flooding last year, the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government had allocated Rs8 billion in the provincial budget for development in Karachi, of which a sum of Rs1bn was allocated for the rehabilitation of all major storm-water drains of Karachi while Rs800m had been allocated for the improvement of the water supply and sewerage system. Seeing the situation now, it is clear that this allocation did not bring successful outcomes, and it must be investigated to see what went wrong, and who is to be held accountable.
For the time being, the administration should not focus on countering criticism of its management of the floods, but rather on remembering that the nightmare is not over—more rain is forecasted in the coming days. It is too late for fundamental improvements, but the government must do all possible to reduce the impending loss.

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