Poor Karachi Cannot Handle Monsoon Rains


In the last two weeks, two tropical cyclones have formed over the Indian Ocean region. Cyclone Tauktae hit parts of western India recently, and Cyclone Yaas is expected to hit eastern India and Bangladesh this week. Pakistan was lucky that Tauktae did not cause any damage to Karachi and Sindh.


However, as an Editorial in The Express Tribune pointed out, “Let’s be honest, Pakistan cannot bear the brunt of another devastating monsoon. Over the years, millions of people have been affected and hundreds of thousands displaced. Despite knowing fully well the death and destruction that the brief monsoon period can bring, every year remains the same, with nothing significant being done.”


In 2020, over 200mm of heavy rainfall fell in Karachi in a 12-hour period. “Major parts of the city were deluged after the drainage system collapsed due to the pounding rain. Electricity, water supply and communication systems had been severely affected. Roads and houses were inundated with a mixture of rain and sewage water. Many claimed that roofs of their houses had caved in and doors and windows shattered due to the intense water pressure. The sprawling city was completely devastated, and many previous lives were also lost.”


The Editorial noted that “Karachi is begging to be mapped holistically, to relieve the tremendous chaos that it has been trapped in. Communities, authorities and independent experts must work together. Only after initiating a rigorous cleaning campaign and calculating the maximum holding capacity of Karachi’s drains can we venture into the lengthy project of redesigning them around the monsoon threat. The primary step needs to be taken soon.”


Author: Ahsan Kureshi