KARACHI: With a fresh warning about a new weather system entering the province, the Sindh government has alerted all the relevant ministries – from relief to local government departments – to be ready to implement the contingency plans they had prepared in advance for the monsoon season, officials said on Tuesday.
“The ministries, including the health, education, local government and relief departments have been put on alert. The chief minister has asked all of them to ensure that precious lives are saved and loss of property should remain minimal,” said a senior government official.
He added the government had asked the education department to identify the number and location of the schools which could be turned into relief camps in case of heavy rains and looming floods.
As the ministry declared a ‘health emergency’ in Sindh, all the government hospitals have already been put on high alert with the leave of staff being cancelled and life-saving drugs being made available at district and taluka headquarters hospitals.
In Karachi, the city administration asked all the municipalities across the city to cancel the leaves of the staff and remain on high alert with maximum availability of manpower and resources with them to deal with rain emergency situation.The KMC imposed a state of emergency at all its hospitals and healthcare centres during monsoon rains. It also established dozens of rain emergency centres in schools in Orangi, Keamari, Lyari, Saddar, Jamshed, Gulberg, Korangi, Malir, Gulshan, Shah Faisal, North Nazimabad and Bin Qasim though they have yet to start functioning. Besides, a central control room with ambulances was also established.
Officials in the areas conceded that none of the centres were operational, the relevant KMC authorities claimed otherwise. “We are on alert already and every emergency situation could be dealt with in a befitting manner,” said an official. Officials in the KMC education department said as schools were closed for summer vacation, all the requirements had been fulfilled to turn those schools for emergency purposes. The teachers could be called for duty if they were required, they added.
The KMC also issued directives to ensure availability of doctors, paramedics and medicines at all of its healthcare facilities. KMC officials claimed that cleaning of 13 major storm water drains of the city was completed. In addition, small nullahs within the jurisdiction of district municipal corporations were also cleaned to drain rainwater.Officials said the departments of technical services, parks and horticulture, municipal services, medical and health services, local taxes (advertisements) and vehicles departments were keeping an eye on the events caused by the first rainfalls.
Officials in the provincial disaster management authority (PDMA) said the authority had asked the district administrations to brace for the rainfall warning that there were chances of urban flooding in Karachi if nullahs were not properly cleaned.
Malir deputy commissioner Syed Mohammad Ali Shah said necessary steps had been taken in the district to cope up with emergencies in the rainy season. He said the district and town officials were put on alert to deal with any uncertain situation and all the possible precautions had been adopted.
Critics said inundation of several key arteries and half a dozen deaths caused by the 35-millimetre rainfall with the advent of monsoon showed serious lapses in the rain emergency arrangements.