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Karachi Endures Monsoon Season
Citizens suffer on the city's streets
Fiza Fatima Asar (FizaPK)     Print Article 
Published 2006-08-19 15:31 (KST)   
As you drive through Karachi, a city adorned with colorful lights and bristling with energy, it is easy to ignore the problems in the lives of its citizens. On Aug. 14, Pakistan celebrated its independence day.

People were out in their cars celebrating, listening to national songs and wearing green and white, the national colors.

Everyone had come out to look at the buildings and streets, which had been decorated with lights and flags.

As I drove around the city, I saw a sight that made me admire humans.

Four homeless men regularly sleep amid the debris underneath a well known bridge. I see them often in the morning, waking and sitting up to eat their breakfast.

On independence day, I saw four small flags -- similar to the ones that decorate the stone houses and driveways of richer people -- hoisted up on each corner of their cemented area. It was one of those sights that fill you with ambiguous thoughts -- of income disparity, and about the contentment that allows people to move on and look forward to each new day.

As I write, my heart goes out to those people, and to the many others just like them.

It is now Aug. 17, one of the worst evenings of the monsoon season. Rains have flooded the city and weakened communication systems. The dark clouds make it seem as if it were time for sunset even though it is only 4:30 p.m.

Twenty-six people have already been reported dead in various parts of the city, electrocuted where wires have come into contact with the collected rainwater.

The roads are not constructed well enough for these rainy conditions. There is no proper drainage system. As a result, in most parts of the city, the water has risen high enough to cover the tires and bumpers of cars.

Many cars have broken down in the middle of the road, further exacerbating traffic problems in the city.

Many travelers are complaining about the time it is taking them to reach their destinations. It now takes an hour or longer for what is normally a 15 minute journey.

The drainage system, such as it is, has failed the citizens of Karachi. There is fear that the water level will rise even higher with more rain. Karachi is a coastal city. During the monsoon season, despite the rain, the tide is high.

To make matters worse, the citizens of Karachi have had to endure periodic blackouts over the past few months. We can only expect worse conditions following the heavy rains. Weather forecasts point out that the rain is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.

It makes you wonder how the city is going to cope. Let us hope and pray for Karachi's citizens, especially the ones out on the streets.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Fiza Fatima Asar

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