05/31/2021, 13.00
PAKISTAN
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Caritas preparing for monsoon disasters in Karachi

by Shafique Khokhar

The Catholic charity held a seminar with local urban communities to lay out what is needed to reduce casualties and flood damage. Focus also centred on the poorest areas where the most vulnerable populations live, especially in emergencies.

Karachi (AsiaNews) – Pakistan is getting ready for monsoon rains, both those associated with the gap in temperatures between land and sea and those caused by short-term phenomena that have become intense in the last few years.

The weather is currently pleasant in Karachi, but in a few weeks heavy rains will come, often bringing disasters.

For this reason, Caritas held a seminar last Thursday on monsoon preparation and mitigation as part of a project on community risk management. This brought together local civil protection committees and volunteers from the Shireen Jinnah Colony, FC Area, Lalu Khait, Yousaf Goth, Saifuel Maurri Goth and Kuasar Naizai Colony.

The aim was to raise awareness about prevention and how an efficient response can reduce the impact of disasters and save many lives in the event of heavy rainfall and flooding in urban areas.

In his welcome speech, Caritas coordinator Mansha Noor stressed the need to take every precautionary step and engage in careful planning to face flooding, citing Noah's biblical story as an example.

Amir Robin, coordinator of the National Monitoring and Evaluation Commission for the South Region, highlighted the importance of protecting homes and neighbourhoods to reduce the loss of life and property during floods in Karachi.

In particular, he cited the extreme vulnerability of the homeless families in Gujjar Nalla and those at risk of eviction.

The adoption of construction techniques to build more disaster-resistant housing was also mentioned.

Sarfraz Anwar, one of the project's organisers, was tasked with explaining some simple rules of conduct that can help save lives during a flood.

Such rules include staying away from power lines and being extra cautious with electronic devices; staying away from trees, poles and signs posts; preparing emergency supplies of food, medicines, drinking water, torches, and fuel; avoiding food made damp and stale by flood water; and paying special attention to seniors, children, women and the disabled.

Anwar also recommended that the authorities follow government directives to keep up to date with the latest information about the rain and emergencies.

Participants received posters to increase awareness of these rules.

For their part, local civil protection committees called for more training exercises with rescue teams and asked for plastic bags to save documents and essential household items during emergencies. Caritas Pakistan plans to meet both requests.

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