Fearing heavy rainfall in the city the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) had established 36 rain emergency centres in different schools of the metropolis but they have yet to start working.
These centres are located in Orangi Town, Keamari, Lyari, Korangi, Malir, Saddar, Jamshed, Gulberg, Shah Faisal Colony, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, North Nazimabad, and Bin Qasim zones of the city.
According to Gulshan-e-Iqbal additional education director, Muhammad Qamar, six schools in his area have been declared as emergency centres but none of them have started working as such. “As most of the schools have female staff, it was not possible to call them a week before the summer vacations end,” he said, adding that they have yet to receive any rain emergency equipment from the KMC.
Similarly, the additional education director of Orangi Town, Javed Ahmed, said only watchman are so far deployed at the schools. “Staff will be called in from Monday,” he said, adding that they have yet to receive first-aid equipment from KMC.
In North Nazimabad, seven schools have been declared rain emergency centres, said the area’s additional education director, Faiz Bano. According to her, the staff is not coming in due to the two-month-long summer vacations. The KMC officials have yet to make their rounds of the schools, she said. “In case of emergency, the schools will remain open 24 hours,” she added.
Meanwhile, KMC’s education director SM Farooq insisted that the school staff is very much alert for any rain-related emergency. “Since this is the last week of summer vacations, teachers and other staff of the schools have already been ordered to be in their respective schools for a cleanliness drive which was supposed to be completed before August,” he said, adding they have made all rain emergency arrangements. “We have mattresses available in our schools, sweepers, watchmen, electricians and water tanks, which are all on stand-by,” he added.
According to him, KMC’s education department is in contact with all the district metropolitan corporations’ employees and the commissioner’s office. “As soon as any emergency occurs, all these preparations will be brought into use,” he claimed, adding that they will serve notices to any additional education director who failed to attend school. Farooq did fear that summer vacations may be extended if it rained heavily in the city.
Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui has already declared a ‘rain emergency’ across all Karachi divisions.
Meanwhile, the met office has forecasted another rain system that is entering Karachi from Monday. It can cause heavy rainfalls which may generate urban flooding in the next 36 hours, said a meteorology official.
According to KMC statement that was issued on Friday, various KMC departments – KMC secretariat, technical services, parks and horticulture, municipal services, medical and health services, local taxes (advertisements) and vehicles departments – will continue working round-the-clock to carry out the required functions and to avoid loss of lives in case of rain-related emergencies.
The statement also claimed that KMC workers have cleared major storm water drains, including Kalri Nullah, Gujjar Nullah, Pitcher Nullah, Nehr-e-Khayam, Soldier Bazaar Nullah and Golden Nullah, with the help of heavy machinery. “Pumps were also installed at seven different locations in the city for immediate drainage of rainwater,” it added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2015.