Urban Planning

The recent rains have inundated some parts of Sindh completely. Roads have caved in some areas; the rain has affected over a dozen villages near Hyderabad. While relief efforts are being carried out through boats, imagining the scale of damage left behind by the continuous downpour caused is not hard to guess.

To be fair to the federal and provincial governments, it is true that erratic weather patterns due to global warming are a reason for heavy downpours. And partial blame can be pinned on climate change for submerging towns and inflicting damage on us, physically and financially. These are record proportions of rainfall; the scenes in Karachi this past week all the way up to yesterday are a vivid reminder of the impending catastrophe that the global community is nowhere near prepared for.

Yet, a question worth asking is this: why does a rainfall of over 100 mm wreak havoc in our cities, especially in Sindh? Damage in rural areas is to be expected; crucial infrastructure is naturally missing. The losses in Karachi could have been mitigated had we had a proper infrastructure of sewerage and drain. Adequate rains that are usually deemed a blessing for an agrarian economy become disasters, with relief efforts needed in Pakistan. The immense losses that the people have suffered due to heavy rains this year must be a case study for federal and provincial governments. The authorities and policymakers must come together to formulate a strategy against future rains. Unpredictable weather patterns cannot be accounted for, but this is the world we now live in; it is best to start preparing for more extreme events with greater frequency. This has already been the case everywhere.

Every year, the officials rely on last-minute disaster management. Discouraging ad-hoc solutions is the first step that the authorities must take if the aim is the reduction of damages that uninvitingly come with the monsoon season. Provincial and federal governments must focus on sustainable urban development practices while keeping the altering environment in mind.

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