According to Statista, Pakistan has been declared as 6th country most affected by natural disasters in 2019. Owing to earthquakes, regional urban flooding and droughts faced by Thar Desert and eastern Sindh province. However, these disasters have upped the ante this year as well. Recently in late July and the whole month of August, Karachi faced one of the deadliest urban flooding of the last decade.
URBAN FLOODING IN KARACHI
Keywords: Statista, Pakistan, 6th Country, Urban Flooding, Flood In Karachi, Natural Disaster, Flood In Pakistan, National Disaster Management Agency, Sindh Solid Waste Management Authority, Citizens Of Karachi, Climate Change, Heat Stroke
According to Statista, Pakistan has been declared as 6th country most affected by natural disasters in 2019. Owing to earthquakes, regional urban flooding and droughts faced by Thar Desert and eastern Sindh province. However, these disasters have upped the ante this year as well. Recently in late July and the whole month of August, Karachi faced one of the deadliest urban flooding of the last decade. According to recent statistics shared by National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), more than a hundred thousand civilians are still trapped in the slums on the outskirts of Karachi.
While other industrial cities also faced flash floods, the damage toll for Karachi was by far the greatest in comparison to any other city. Local government was stubbornly adamant that despite imposing necessary mitigation procedures, the intensity of the incident was too difficult to get a hold off. On the other hand, general public is consistently protesting that there were no suitable steps taken to ensure the safety of civilians during the emergency period.
Now in order to critically analyze this scenario, it is important to get a know-how of all the concerned factors. Firstly, the sewerage system of the whole city is under unnecessary pressure due to the heaps of solid waste spread throughout the city without proper disposal mechanism. This is a problem prevailing for a long time in the city. Countless theories have been presented by the Sindh Solid Waste Management Authority (SSWMA), but none of them have been acted upon owing to their implementation costs or lack of funds provided to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), the primary concerned organization for solid waste disposal. Secondly, illegal and unchecked constructions inside and on the outskirts of the city are major means of reduction of many nullahs and drains. For instance, it was recently researched by HANDS, an environmental NGO that several buildings are constructed on the drain of soldier bazaar Karachi. Mostly, it was observed that illegal settlements of the poor have taken over areas covering drains. Another fact to keep in mind is the political blame game being played by the local government and the concerned authorities. Citizens of Karachi have been openly censuring KMC for its negligence in dealing with the catastrophic event. Meanwhile, a government representative revealed that 26 billion rupees are provided to local authorities for maintenance and mitigation measures against potential unfortunate incidents. Even this huge amount was proven ineffective against the humongous flash flooding in the city.
Last and the most important factor is the phenomenon of climate change. The displaced climate variability induces rainfall through a range of mechanisms initiated by anthropogenic malpractices including excessive automobile emissions, open waste dumping, inefficient waste disposal procedures and careless governmental policies. The chain of events in this proposed mechanism include high temperatures, harsh rainfalls, abrupt weather fluctuations and sea level changes. During the last decade, the aforementioned pattern can be clearly observed in Karachi. From 2013 to 2020, there have been regular incidences of heat waves reported in Karachi during July and September claiming several lives due to heat stroke. Likewise, the overall weather elements have also fluctuated over the past few years with temperature peaks being the tiebreaker. All these factors have contributed in the overall flooding incidences observed in Karachi and many other cities of Pakistan.