Tuesday March 05, 2024

‘Karachi’s 52pc population living in informal settlements, not included in uplift schemes’

By Our Correspondent
October 17, 2021

Urban planner and architect Muhammad Toheed has said 52 per cent of the population of Karachi has been living in informal settlements, which the policymaking authorities and bureaucrats consider illegal and don’t include them in development schemes, thus causing people living in these settlements to suffer a lot.

“Participation at grassroots level like common people and civil society, including NGOs, in policymaking is often absent,” he said, while addressing an online webinar titled ‘Climate Change: The Disconnect Between Communities and Policies’. The webinar was organised by The Knowledge Forum, a Karachi-based think tank.

Recently, Toheed said, urban flooding was a problem in Karachi, but the federal government entrusted the National Disaster Management Authority and the Frontier Works Organisation with carrying out projects like the cleaning of storm water drains. But the interventions of those federal organisations had created problems for the community as thousands of people had been displaced as their homes had been destroyed, he remarked.

Basil Andrew from the Karachi Urban Lab said the media needed to do climatic change reporting concerning what was happening at the ground level, and there was a need to know about local climate change issues.

He pointed out that during the last lockdown in June this year, most people were confined to homes where they were facing heatwaves along with loadshedding. Some people started investing in buying UPS and batteries. He said still over 6,000 climate migrants were living along the Super Highway in Karachi, who migrated there after the 2010 floods.

Afia Salam, a journalist who covers environment-related issues, said that due to climate change the rain pattern had increased in Pakistan. “Also, sea intrusion in the coastal areas of the Indus Delta area has destroyed millions of acres of agricultural lands. It has affected peoples’ lives and their livelihood.”

She said big dams and barrages were constructed to irrigate agricultural lands. “Media’s role in Pakistan on climate change issues is unfortunately only event-based except for a few in-depth writings by those environmental journalists who do investigative stories and go to the communities,” said Salam.