Cost of rain

 
August 12,2019

The cost of rains is not just flooded roads and loadshedding, it is real lives. Only last week, more than 23 people died of electrocution in the first spell of monsoon downpours in Karachi. These...

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The cost of rains is not just flooded roads and loadshedding, it is real lives. Only last week, more than 23 people died of electrocution in the first spell of monsoon downpours in Karachi. These two dozens joined the over 70 people who have lost their lives in rain-related incidents in Karachi in the last five years. Every year, monsoon rains claim dozens of lives in the country’s commercial capital. It is clear that these lives do not matter. Recently compiled data has shown that the worst killer is the city’s creaking electricity system. Rain-related electrocution is followed by roof collapses and drowning as the leading causes of death. Two of these causes can be controlled through improving the infrastructure of the electricity grid as well as enforcing construction laws. The compilation of these deaths contests the approach of officials which continue to treat each rainy season as a new incident. No one wants to admit that the responsibility for these deaths lies on the public and private authorities in charge of providing infrastructure to the public.

With the rains returning on Friday night, another two lives were lost to electrocution. With a long weekend of rains ahead, there will no doubt be more lives lost. Nepra has blamed K-Electric, which has been ordered to pay compensation to those who have lost their lives. However, the absence of Nepra directives itself is a problem on its own. No doubt the core responsibility lies with the electricity supplier in Karachi, which means K-Electric must take the blame (though it has denied any responsibility for the loss of life) – but regulators cannot be absent. What is clear is that the state of infrastructure is getting worse rather than better. This is already the worst year on record in the last decade – and the rains seem to only be getting started. The lives of the citizens of Karachi cannot be treated so cheaply. Those responsible for maintaining public infrastructure cannot be let off the hook when lives are lost.


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