Karachi rains: Scores displaced from Naya Nazimabad

Residents protest lack of action by management, dub dewatering efforts ‘too slow’


Sameer Mandhro September 06, 2020
Days after rain battered Karachi, Naya Nazimabad, a newly developed residential society, remains submerged in knee-deep water. As a result, over 400 families have had to relocate to safer abodes. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI:

Over 400 families have been displaced from Naya Nazimabad, claim the residents, with their homes still submerged in water even over a week after torrential rain thrashed the newly developed residential society, along with the rest of Karachi.

Located between hills in Central district, the residential complex comprises four blocks, among which Block C and D are most affected. However, knee-deep water inundates the rest of the area, too, forcing many residents to shift to safer abodes.

Among them was Syed Hamza Amir, who had planned to get married in the coming months and start the new chapter of his life at his new home in the area. He and his family had shifted to Naya Nazimabad two days before Eidul Azha. However, just about a month later, they ended up having to move out as rainwater surged into their house.

Reliving the nightmare, Amir narrated, “Water flooded the society from all sides…We were hardly able to save our lives.”

The flooding has ruined all the furniture in his house and put a damper on his hopes and plans. “We shifted to Naya Nazimabad because the environment there was peaceful. But now we don’t have a home,” lamented Amir.

According to another resident, Saleem Javed, the residential society has actually been built over a lake. “People still refer to its location as Manghopir Lake,” he claimed.

Complaining of the lack of proper drainage in the area, he told The Express Tribune that the society was flooded after last year’s rain too. “But not at this scale and intensity,” he added, sharing that the entire ground floor of his house in Naya Nazimabad was under water.

As the residents voiced their grievances, dewatering measures continued in the flooded residential society - though the glacial pace tested their patience.

Observing the exercise, a displaced resident, Muhammad Wasif, dubbed the dewatering efforts by the society’s management too slow. “It will take at least a month before I can shift back home,” he said dejectedly.

The sentiment was shared by many others.

They told The Express Tribune that the Pakistan Army, Rangers and Pakistan Navy personnel, along with district administration officials, had come to their help during the record-breaking rain, and several suction machines were installed at various points.

However, now it seems the society’s management has abandoned everyone, they decried, adding that it hadn’t made sufficient efforts to help displaced residents move back.

This was further affirmed when The Express Tribune approached a senior official of the West district administration. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he said the Naya Nazimabad management hadn’t formally approached the administration for any assistance. “[Still], we helped the residents in shifting to safer places and dewatering the society,” he said, adding that further assistance would be provided if the management approached the district administration.

“It is a private housing society and it is solely the management’s responsibility to take measures for ensuring residents’ safety and security,” he commented.

The realisation seemed to be lost on the management, though, unmoved by over two dozen families staging a protest outside the administration office.

A security guard stood alert outside the administration block, telling The Express Tribune that he had been instructed to not to allow anyone to approach the management

Khurram, one of the protesting residents, said over 400 families had been displaced from Naya Nazimabad in the downpour’s aftermath. “They now want to come back, but the management has been of no help to us,” he said amid shouts of protesters demanding the water’s drainage.

An official overseeing the drainage efforts, Ghazi Khan, later approximated that around 1,500 families lived in the society, while vowing to put in all-out efforts to drain the water.

Exasperated by their prolonged ordeal, residents, however, have demanded that relevant authorities dewater the area at the earliest possible.

Their yearning for their homes was evident by some among them trying to wade across the flooded streets to get a glimpse of their houses. But the efforts proved futile.

“I wanted to see my home but unfortunately, it is not possible,” said a dismayed resident after his failed attempt. “I cannot even get to it.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2020.

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