28 August 2022
30 Million Homeless amid Pakistan declares Climate Emergency
The Pakistan government this week officially declared a `national emergency` in light of the rain-induced floods, calling the incessant monsoon rains a `climate-inducted humanitarian crisis of epic proportions”. As per the latest data compiled by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) the catastrophe have so far killed 937 people, including 343 children, and left at least 30 million homeless or without shelter.
The NDMA’ data further says Pakistan received 166.8mm of rain in August, as opposed to the average of 48mm an increase of 241%. Consequently, the abnormal increase in rainfall generated flash floods across the country,particularly in the southern part of Pakistan. Flash floods caused by heavy rains had swept away bridges and communication infrastructure in various areas of the country, leaving almost 30 million people without shelter, thousands of them displaced and have no food and other relief. Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said a `war room` has been established by the prime ministerat NDMA, which would spearhead relief operations across the country.
Sindh government asks Share in Bahria Town Karachi’ Deposited Fine
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that his government would again approach Supreme Court to seek 40% funds out of Bahria Town Karachi`s deposits. He was speaking at a late night press briefing at Shahbaz Hall after his whirlwind visit of various rain-affected districts. He noted that the Left Bank Outfall Drain had somewhat performed better in the ongoing monsoon rains, and added that the provincial government would again approach Supreme Court to seek 40% funds out of Bahria Town Karachi`s deposits for executing a Rs100 billion drainage scheme for the left bank areas.
It is to recalled on March 21, a three-judge SC bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had accepted the Rs460 billion offer by the Bahria Town to implement the court’s May 4, 2018 judgement which held that the grant of land to the Malir Development Authority by the Sindh government, its exchange with the private land of the developer. However, later in a petition the Sindh government maintained that the Sindh government owed the MDA more than Rs1.6 billion and that money should be refunded from the amount which Bahria Town had deposited in the top court and submitted a proposal in the court asking it to spend the money on welfare projects in the province.
Report exposes flaws in DHA Karachi Drain Infrastructure
The NED University of Engineering and Technology has submitted a report in the Sindh High Court this week about evaluation of drainage infrastructure in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) stating that existing design may be inadequate if stormwater drainage system is also used for sewerage flows. The report suggested that sewerage must be drained out separately to get maximum benefit from the existing and proposed drainage system in future.The NED University filed this report in the light of the SHC orders pertaining to the two petitions, filed about the sewerage infrastructure that caused flooding during the torrential rains in DHA and CBC in 2020.
The report said that the extreme flooding conditions in 2020 and 2022 in Karachi in general and DHA in particular were the recent examples of flooding due to lack of planning and maintenance of stormwater drainage system of a cosmopolitan city. It further said that sewer water and deposition of solid waste had reduced the capacity of stormwater drains, and warned that more inundation was possible at hotspots and overall in the areas of DHA and Cantonment Board Clifton.
Malir Expressway’ Appellants gets more Time
The Sindh Environmental Tribunal has granted more time to the counsel for the residents and environmentalists to make rebuttal to the reply filed by a private firm constructing the controversial Malir Expressway project, while hearing on appeals challenging the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) approval of the project till Aug 23. On a previous hearing, M/s Malir Expressway Limited’ advocate had filed a copy of the `fresh` EIA report dated June 10 and signed by Sepa Director General. Regarding the merits of the appeals, the counsel had argued that the appellants never raised any environmental concerns with regard to the environment of the metropolis.
The Tribunal has granted more time to the counsel for the residents and environmentalists to make rebuttal, however opposing the appellants` requests for granting an interim stay order against any construction activity at the site, M/s Malir Expressway Limited’ advocate cautioned that if due to any technical reasons the project was stayed, the costs would spiral up given the growing rate of inflation, therefore he pleaded to dismiss the appeals for being devoid of merits.