Karachi's nullahs to be ‘cleaned from tomorrow’ as next spell of rain to start soon

Pakistan Army has been tasked to ease sufferings of rain-hit Karachiites, says NDMA chief


APP August 02, 2020
People wade through a flooded street after heavy monsoon rains in Karachi on July 27. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD:

Two pronged strategy has been devised in collaboration with stake holders to avoid flash flood losses in Karachi permanently, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman Lt-Gen Muhammad Afzal said on Sunday.

Speaking to the media in Islamabad, he said working on a short term strategy would be started from Monday to mitigate flash flood losses up to optimum level during the next two to three wet spells expected in August and September.

“Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) will start cleansing main nullahs (storm-water drains) from Monday and local corps of Pakistan Army has also been tasked to work for giving relief to the people from flash floods.”

The work would be started on Monday to mitigate sufferings of people and NDMA will provide all possible assistance, he added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had last week asked the Pakistan Army and NDMA to help in cleaning up the economic hub of the country as the ongoing monsoon spell turned many roads into rivers of filthy rainwater and left many houses and shops flooded.

As many as 10 people, including children, had died during the last spell of monsoon rains in the provincial capital.

The NDMA chairman further said efforts have already been started to evolve a long term solution to mitigate the woes of Karachiites by taking all stake holders including federal, provincial, local governments and others for a permanent solution of overflowing nullahs and roads.

“We should give relief to people with joint collaborated efforts. The flash flood losses would remain in check during August and September rains. Afterwards permanent solution would be in place for getting rid of flash floods.”

Encroachments, he said, are abound around most of the nullahs of Karachi and the widths of most of the nullahs have been narrowed from 400 metres to three to four metres. Karachi produces over 20,000 tonnes solid waste per day which has become a source of bane as comparing to other countries where solid waste is utilised for producing electricity, Lt-Gen Afzal said.

The water has already receded on roads of metropolitan city, he said, adding that according to the Pakistan Meteorological department predictions the weather will remain dry in Karachi in next six days. "The next wet spell will start from August 7 and last till August 10. Another one or two days spell is expected from August 15, however the expectations of rain are 40 per cent."

Yet another spell would be from 24 to 26. The chances of rain will be 60 to 65 per cent.

Covid-19

Responding to a question, the NDMA chief said due to prudent measures taken the situation of Covid -19 has improved.

The number of deaths have become lowest in recent weeks, he said while urging people to follow standard operating procedure (SOPs) to avoid second spike in the cases. "The situation may worsen in Muharramul Haram, if SOPs will not followed."

He said the government has added 3,000 oxygenated beds and sufficient quantity of ventilators are also in godown. NDMA has over 700,000 personal protective equipment (PPEs) in stock. Some 141 laboratories have the facility of Covid-19 testing.

Preparations were complete to cope with the onslaught of desert locust, nine spray planes, 250,000 pesticides were in stocks.

Provinces have also build capacity to cope with the fresh influx of desert locust. The NDMA will have 388 sprayers on August 20 comparing to only 14 right now.

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