By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology has, on the directive of its Chancellor Z.A. Nizami, issued an exhaustive report on “Rain Emergency” in Karachi.
The Chancellor issued the directive following Met Office forecast about excessive rains this year hitting the coastal areas of Sindh including Karachi.
Talking to media, Chancellor Nizami observed that whenever there is heavy rainfall in Karachi coinciding with high tides in Arabian Sea, the basic civic services like storm water drainage, water supply, sewerage, power supply, accessibility and movement within city get disrupted. and daily routine life of citizens comes to a standstill during this period besides loss of life and damage to property.
This situation, he emphasized, warrants suitable measures prior to the start of monsoon season preferably well in advance as to minimize possible miseries suffered by citizen, save the loss of life and property.
The Chancellor pointed out that considering the rainfall impact on civic service, the report discuss threadbare problems and solutions thereof..
He pointed out that recommendations of the report are mostly experience-driven, service-oriented and at the same time, the role of civic bodies, efforts of NGOs and media coverage have also been included and can go a long way to improve on-ground situation on lasting basis.
He said that precautionary measures are immediately needed for uninterrupted service during rains.
According to the report, there are 100 vulnerable spots in Karachi where flooding occurs whenever there is rainfall for which technical solutions for permanent remedy are needed.
“Purpose of these works would be to improve conditions, he said and pointed out that since monsoon season is approaching it is necessary for authorities to undertake proactive steps on fast track and on war footing..
It may be mentioned here that on the Chancellors directives, the SSUET’s Institute of Human Setlements and Disaster Management of University, has published many reports on Environment and Disaster Management as a public service activity..
The report hinted that heavy rains are expected this year and it was imperative to make full proof measures before rains start.
Considering gravity of situation and problems faced by citizen during emergency, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) has decided to contribute towards the public service by effectively using the expertise available in the institution.
The role of SSUET is to serve as a think-tank through independent scientific approach to reinforce efforts of the City District Government, Karachi (CDGK), and other stakeholders to cope with natural or manmade disaster situation.
The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology has established the Institute of Human Settlements and Environment that produces research reports with recommendations on disaster management. As a part of this activity this report focuses on the heavy rainfall during 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 1010 and 2011. Monsoon season synchronizes with high tides and windstorm.
The overall impact on civic services is covered in the report and highlights problems. Report also includes some recommendation to address the issue on lasting basis. Now that Global Warming is a real phenomenon and after experience of Pakistan Floods 2010/2011, possibility of heavy downpour can be expected. Common problems that arise in provision of civic services include flooding of rainwater at a number of places, shortage of water, contamination of drinking water, sewage overflows, hazards of billboards, uprooting of trees, and power failure for long duration and live wire snapping.
The emergency situation has caused adverse consequences on infrastructure of city as a whole. The underlying weaknesses in our system, which originate from temporary solutions, do not last and break-down is common feature during emergency. Situation that occurred in past showed that local authorities are yet to get fully prepared to cope with the hazards.
It said considering difficulties faced by citizen during rains of 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009-2010, City District Government Karachi (CDGK), KWSB has taken a number of measures, but, a lot of work is required in future. More efforts are needed on immediate, short, medium and long term leading to master plan of city Storm Water Drainage. Rainfall 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 was although rainfall runoff was of less quantity, but it was of high intensity. It synchronized with high tides along coastal belt and wind-storm. During Monsoon season May to August although the quantity of rain is less but of high intensity both in space and time the flow of runoff from outfalls also gets affected.
The report suggests that there is a need to immediately undertake and prepare a storm water drainage master plan by concerned authority in the light of pervious history.
De-silting, cleaning of all nallahs and drains by CDGK and TMAs as a continuous activity. The report says that keeping in view the gravity of situation discussed above it is proposed to have a conference at SSUET to review the whole scenario and to suggest future course of action.