Pak’s Karachi submerged in 2022 despite millions pumped by World Bank: Report


ISLAMABAD: Despite pouring millions of dollars into Pakistan, the country’s biggest city, Karachi was submerged during the extreme flooding last year due to decades of neglect by the authorities to the Karachi’s sewage and waste disposal systems that created the perfect recipe for flooding in the city, UK-based publication Climate Home News reported.

Much of Karachi city is submerged during the extreme flooding of 2022. A major problem is a trash clogging the riverbeds, locally called as nullahs, so that stormwater overflows. The sweep was supposed to help in improving solid waste management. However, there is no sign of progress even after two years into the five-year project.

the World Bank’s Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project (Sweep) was touted as one of the lifelines that would help Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi, with its urban flooding nightmare. But that hasn’t happened.

A USD 100 million project meant to protect Karachi slum dwellers from flooding was found to have been barely spent.

Less than 3 per cent of its USD 100 million budget has been spent. However, none of it was used to build new infrastructure, according to UK-based publication Climate Home News. So far, the authorities have spent USD 91,891 on furniture, Climate Home News reported citing a source associated with Sweep.

The Sindh Government’s procurement plan earmarked USD 8 million for equipment, including bins, and waste collection vehicles. Another USD 30 million is destined for implementation “works”, as per the Climate Home News report. However, the money has not been disbursed yet, as per the news report.

Project officials took the promise of funding as a cue to clear slums alongside the waterways. The authorities demolished thousands of homes without any consultation to find them somewhere else to live.

Government officials have insisted that things are not going too badly and the project has been delayed by three or four months. Sweep director Zubair Channa said, “We’re only delayed by three or fourth months,” according to a news report. The provincial authorities started bulldozing homes that had been built without planning permission.

As per the news report, flooding in Karachi is due to decades of neglect in Karachi’s sewage and waste disposal systems. Every year, the debilitated drainage system clogs and water overflows in Karachi during the monsoon season, as per the news report. Reportedly, over 6 million people in Karachi live in informal settings, many of which have encroached on the city’s riverbeds.

The World Bank defended the project and said the consultancy was “fairly advanced and expected to deliver their outputs soon,” according to Climate Home News. It further said that they expect the construction of the waste disposal facility and transfer stations to begin in early 2023 on the basis of the current schedule. (ANI)