Amid the scorching summer, citizens of Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi are faced with acute shortage of water and electricity that could potentially claim hundreds of lives.
We continue to be fed with a daily dose of information about a number of natural and manmade disasters that are causing deaths and destruction in the world that we share. While such sensitization does help build-up public opinion to overcome it, some ‘silent disasters’ that remains out of news leave the people facing it on their own.
Two years ago, a severe heat wave with temperatures as high as 49 °C (120 °F) struck Karachi and adjacent areas that caused the deaths of about 2,000 people from dehydration and heat stroke. Experts fear it might reoccur this year.
The city has two main sources of water supply, the Hub Dam and the Kenjhar Lake, and the supply from both is too little to meet the demand. According to the city’s Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KW&SB), the supply of drinking from the Hub Dam has been cut by more than half by the federal Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) due to a dispute in outstanding dues between the federal and city’s water management boards. Water supply from the Kenjhar Lake is also affected by little rain.
Karachi requires a 1000 million gallons per day but unfortunately the poor, inefficient system is only able to supply half or maybe less of that amount to Karachi. Pilferage of water, poor maintenance of water pumping stations and extremely worn out water pipeline network are among other factors contributing to the crisis in the metropolis. This water shortage combined with electricity blackouts are causing large protests in various parts of the city on almost everyday basis.
The fact that nothing substantial has been done since 2015 to avoid the catastrophe from recurring speaks volumes about the apathy of Pakistani government towards the masses. The Islamabad government seems only care about issues that make it to the news headlines.