Why Karachi Suffer When It Rains?

Every year in monsoon season, Karachities brace for water clogged streets and power cuts. First we desperately yearn for rains, and when it falls, we pray for it to go, as the sewers overflow, roads cave in and electricity cut off for days.

Before writing about recent rainfall in Karachi, I would like to go back to rains of previous years. In 2006, large part of Karachi went underwater after the monsoon rains, the reasons being construction work going around and inefficient waste management that caused sewerage to clog drains, resulting in water spilling across roads, damaging properties and what not. After the devastation and carnage that followed, City Government of Karachi formed Citizen Community Boards with the aim of having a liaison between CDGK and citizens of Karachi on issues related to infrastructure, disaster management etc. After three years, we still don’t know if these boards exist or not and what goals they have achieved so far.

Came the monsoons in 2007, Karachi again faced disruption of power supply and chaos on the roads especially due to fallen billboards, most of them installed illegally (right under the nose of government, as usual).

In 2008 monsoon, 80% of Karachi was without electricity for more than 14 hours (although it was not a “record” rainfall). Power cuts and rain water cause massive traffic jams across the city and Karachi was grid-locked for hours.

Rain in Karachi - July 2009 (Flickr)
Rain in Karachi (Flickr)

Now, the monsoons of 2009 have just started and Karachi has already gone through one of the worst calamities. Although, the rains have claimed to break a record of 32 years of highest rainfall in a day, the inefficiency of service providers and lack of disaster management capabilities in city government shall not be excused.

City Nazim Mustafa Kamal is found boasting “all clear” after the rainfall, however, in reality Karachities suffered heavy financial and human losses when their homes, businesses and vehicles were drowned in rain-cum-sewerage water, spilled across the city due to choked sewers and slow drainage operations. Kamal blamed encroachment as an obstacle for the CDGK to clear storm water drains, but he can not (and will not) explain how on earth his government is still unable to eradicate encroachments while enjoying the government at all levels since last 8 years. He can also not answer why Nazimabad and Liaquatabad underpasses were turned into swimming pools and why the entry and exit points of flyovers were not kept clean from water clogging, an act of criminal negligence that eventually transformed the spots into graveyards of cars, rickshaws, buses and motorcycles.

Rain water destroyed houses in Karachi

People moving to safety after rain hit karachi

Homeless after Karachi Rain (Flickr)
Homeless after Rain (Flickr)

Homes destroyed after Karachi Rain (Flickr)
Homes destroyed after Karachi Rain (Flickr)

Water clogging was not only limited to CDGK administered areas. Posh localities of DHA and Clifton also went under water. The KPT underpass got filled with water, so were the streets and houses of various phases of DHA.

While members of traffic police, officials of city government and their city wardens were present on the streets, along with scores of volunteer citizens, guiding vehicles and assisting those that got stuck in water, traffic was chaotic as most of the traffic signals were dead. Due to lack of ground information, motorists got stuck at all the wrong spots, worsening the traffic situation.

KESC yet again proved itself a beast beyond control of local, provincial and federal governments of Pakistan. Rain soaked Karachities faced another crisis when KESC power feeders failed one by one and most parts of Karachi remained powerless for more than three days. Governmental officials, bureaucrats, politicians and their pimps certainly can not empathize with people who spent anywhere between 20 hours to 90 hours without electricity and water.

As there are forecasts of more rains in days to come, the CDGK, KESC and other “public service” institutions should have their disaster management and crisis control acts ready or get perpared to face the wrath of masses.

15 thoughts on “Why Karachi Suffer When It Rains?”

  1. Please ladies and gentlemen , think of solutions rather than the problems , Allah only changes the condition of people who make effort to change themselves .
    Following this principle , should not start thinking of the solution to our multiple woes ?

  2. It is very very sad to see articles like this. Where the so called educated people of karachi criticize in their fancy english over what ever has been done in karachi. In four years the mayor constructs countless number of fly overs, roads and underpasses. I have seen bridges being completed in 3-4 months. Where as prevous govt used to take ages. Encrochment is not currently the responsibility of the mayor since the police does not report to him. Which is also teh reason for traffic jams. As it is a reality that even after the construction of a huge parking plaza people at regal and saddar areas are still allowed to park on the roads while the parking buildings are empty… and about Mayors work on health and amenities. do ur home before leaving a comment.. i feel sad.

  3. Sorry Ladies and Gentlemen…. the real name behind the mask is ……..

    ” Sifarish Republic of Pakistan ”

    ” Haqdaar Haq ko tursay

    Angharoon ka mein barsay ”

    the worse thing is that our society doesnt even think twice about Sifarish….

    even the most religious… most well educated… most patriotic people use Sifarish as an un challenged norm….

    however our Religion as well as our founding father and the basis of pakistan was entirely against sifarish…

  4. the article appears impressive but…
    i cant find the answer that “why karachi suffers when it rains?”

    the writer didnt mentioned any cuse of it, neither suggest any solution. he does write that its bcoz of slow drinage, but y its slow.
    im not a citizen of karachi but i know that its on the sea side, so what are the hurdles that rain water cant be drained to sea.
    i was here to seek the answer of the question
    but cant find

  5. Assalam-o-Alaikum,

    It is a very important article written on this topic.

    “After 4 years of Rule in CDGK, what we got , a flyovers, and underpasses, nothing improved in the field of Education, Health, Sanitation, Building by Laws, water drainage, what we just got is propaganda nothing else.”
    Very true Danish Saleem

  6. Salaam to all,

    After 4 years of Rule in CDGK, what we got , a flyovers, and underpasses, nothing improved in the field of Education, Health, Sanitation, Building by Laws, water drainage, what we just got is propaganda nothing else.

  7. This is, indeed, very silly of the government that it has not build facilities that tackle such common natural occurrences.

    Countries that go through such natural incidents should be well-armed in dealing with these sudden problems. For instance, the remarkable drainage system in U. K.

    Earthquakes are a common occurrence in Japan. Therefore, their homes are built simply by wood and their interior decorations are done using natural things like woods, bamboos etc. Hence, the number of people getting crushed under heavy debris is tremendously reduced.

    A country should first understand its weaknesses and then develop such means to overcome those weaknesses for its welfare.

  8. Pakistan should have done some advancement in the field of Disaster management after earthquake 2005. Karachi is not prepared for any kind of Natural calamity or unfortunate incident. CDGK should own the responsibility of almost flooded city after rain. There were no drains with the underpasses newly built. They get filled up fast blocking traffic and causing lots of trouble.
    Disaster management should be included in curriculum and Government of Pakistan should train people to combat situations like this in future.


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