230 Lives Lost to Rain & when the Billboards came crashing down

Yesterday’s rainstorm was devastating to a remarkable degree, the winds lashed through the city like never before and with it it brought a heavy downpour. It was probably not only the rains that brought the death toll to such large astonishing numbers as the gale-force winds uprooted thousands of trees and more importantly hundred of steel billboard hoardings came crashing down on to the streets below.

http://karachi.metblogs.com/archives/images/2007/06/IMG00051-thumb.jpgThroughout the city we are a witness to a mess of steel structures like this one seen in front of the entrance of Regent Plaza. The death toll as reported in the papers today morning were about 48, probably not much different then the death toll reported during the last years rain devastation but I was really shocked to read that the death toll had risen to a massive 230 !!!! Dawn reports various City officials saying that these were ‘more from the impoverished town of Gadap where roofs of shanty houses collapsed on families living within.’

Poor housing can be used as a brilliant excuse to deflect the blame, but I feel the billboards have done some serious damage bringing the city government squarely in the cross hairs. We were all a witness to these massive steel structures cropping up all around the city helping the City Government with loads of spare change. The advertisement mafia made millions and it started since the days of Niamat-ullah Khan’s tenure and kept increasing through the present City Government. Spoiling the Karachi skyline beyond recognition construction of these billboards have been very poor and compromises have been made in both the foundations and the steel structure above definitely overloading it just to save a buck or two in the process. Whoever took the threat of massive windstorms seriously, the 100 odd year occurrence they thought would never occur in their lifetime, so why the heck prepare for it now.

Yet again I again wonder, if simple natural disasters like these bring our city to its knees what will happen ‘when the big one hits’, we hope it never comes, but living in denial is akin to have lived in a fools paradise. We must prepare at all costs, as our lives depend on it — these 230 lost today should serve as an example and yet as an another eye-opener asking us to prepare.

39 Comments so far

  1. d0ct0r (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 3:41 am

    City Government is just busy finger pointing and blaming others…


  2. x (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 3:48 am

    O.o


  3. d0ct0r (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 3:49 am

    while city was experiencing a serious natural calamity, terrorist’s from MQM’s Khidmat Khalq Foundation hijacked edhi’s morgue..

    Rizwan Edhi’s account
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/interactivity/specials/1839_khi_ewitness_ms/page5.shtml

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/story/2007/06/070624_rizwan_eidhi_sen.shtml


  4. cybele (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 4:19 am

    What terrible news. Billboards are such a menace even when properly built … it’s just disgraceful that they’ve taken so many lives in Karachi.

    Stay safe.


  5. KHIITE (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 5:05 am

    230!!!??? ARE YOU SERIOUS? Allah Ta’ala sab ko salamat rakhein. Ameen. :|


  6. Tamed~. (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 5:27 am

    yeay watan tumhara hay, tum ho pasban iss kay..


  7. atif abdul rahman (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 6:42 am

    Karachi needed a gutter instead of that fancy shmancy 220 million rupee fountain…..


  8. SELF (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 6:44 am

    Badsha salamat General Musharraf hasn’t said a word about the tragedy. Guess he has stopped caring altogether.


  9. amin polani (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 7:07 am

    YES he is getting used to so many people dying i karachi and elsewhere like in miranshah that i wonder who is ruling the country, i remember Hazrat Umer (RA)saying that even a dog dying at the bank of the river he will be asked for. now a days our life is worse than a dog why not it is our own sins which have made these guys be on our heads as our heads


  10. abdul (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 8:06 am

    I hope that the Imams of the Masajids will open their mosques to persons needing shelter due to the rain. In addition, schools, stadiums, and community centers will also allow the homeless to have a roof over their heads in this difficult time.

    This is not a time to criticize and accuse others. It is time for action.


  11. redsnapper (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 8:23 am

    MORE RAIN COMING … there’s more and heavier rain forecast for today and tonight.

    The edge of tropical cyclone 03B is very close to Karachi as I write this. Look south and you will see the huge black cloud cover over the ocean in distance.

    The wind is blowing from East to West – meaning that the cyclone has begun to move just below (south) Karachi. You will also see small pieces of clouds at low height moving east-west as well. This is the outermost edge of cyclone 03B.

    Good luck all. And tell all bus goers in your offices to NOT STAND UNDER TREES or OTHER STRUCTURES when strong winds start blowing. I expect that to happen later in the day or near evening if/when the cyclone tail hits Karachi.

    For a picture of the cyclone see

    http://www.met.gov.pk/TempFrame/?targetLink=http://www.pakmet.com.pk/Subpage1/S_images/html_files/ir_img.html


  12. redsnapper (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 8:36 am
  13. Saad (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 10:35 am

    I totally agree with you there TM ( if simple natural disasters like these bring our city to its knees what will happen ‘when the big one hits’) this is an eye-opener and again exposed us the ones who react rather than be pro-actives.


  14. MB (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 11:54 am

    I heard on TV that there is a chance of STROM today.

    Guys be careful


  15. d0ct0r (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

    Armed takeover

    Dozens of armed men took over the Edhi morgue on Saturday night and told senior Edhi officials to “mind their own business,” along with issuing other threats.

    “They set up a camp outside our premises putting up their party flags and parked their ambulances outside the morgue, interfering with our administrative affairs,” said an official of the Edhi Foundation.

    At one stage, a pistol was put to the head of chief volunteer Rizwan Edhi when he protested against the intrusion.

    “From Saturday evening till late in the night, the armed men didn’t allow the bodies to be shifted to the morgue from the ambulances and private vehicles,” Rizwan Edhi told Dawn.

    “They (armed men) were freely moving about the morgue telling the Edhi workers not to interfere,” he added.

    Mr Edhi refrained from identifying the armed intruders, but expressed his dismay over the fact that the foundation’s humanitarian work was being hindered by such elements.

    http://dawn.com/2007/06/25/local1.htm


  16. d0ct0r (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

    @Saad when terrorists and convicted criminals are running the affairs of the city and are given free hand by the dictator, then things like these are bound to happen


  17. Murtaza (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 12:57 pm

    “A statement issued by the Sindh Governor, Dr Ishratul Ibad, said that only 66 people had died in rain-related accidents”

    Wow the governor uses the word “Only” on 66 ppl dying, How indifferent can one be to the people who made him what he is. I wish even one person of his family had died then he wudve realized how it feels losing a dear one.


  18. d0ct0r (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

    after killing Hakeem Mohammed Saeed MQM’s terrorists had planned to kill Mr Edhi as well but he managed to save his life and went abroad until things settled down and the terrorist govt of MQM was suspended in sindh during Nawaz era..


  19. d0ct0r (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

    @Murtaza maybe these terrorists from MQM might have stolen those 200+ dead bodies from Edhi morgue just to decrease the death toll… afterall its not surprising coz they did the same thing on 12th may when they killed Edhi’s ambulance driver and dragged the injured from that ambulance and shot him and shifted his body to MQM’s Khimat Khalq Foundation(kkf) ambulance..


  20. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

    سٹی ناظم مصطفیٰ کمال کا کہنا ہے کہ کراچی میں تیرہ ادارے ہیں جو شہر کا نظام چلا رہے ہیں اور وہ ان تمام کے بارے میں فیصلہ کرنے کا اختیار نہیں رکھتے۔

    ان کا کہنا تھا کہ سٹی حکومت نے ایک قانون پاس کیا تھا جس کے تحت سٹی حکومت کی حدود میں لگائی گئیں ہورڈنگس کا سائز کم کیا گیا اور سال بھر میں بتیس بڑی ہورڈنگز گرا دی گئیں۔


  21. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

    its scary. The links provided by redsnapper indicates alarming situation.


  22. Khaaksaar (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

    This text and link was copied from DailyTimes.com.pk
    The silly question is WHY???
    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20076\25\story_25-6-2007_pg12_8
    Monday, June 25, 2007

    13,000 out of total of 17,000 billboards illegal: study.

    KARACHI: More than 17,000 billboards stand in Karachi out of which up to 13,000 are illegal, according to a study conducted by Roland D’Souza, head of Shehri, a non-government organization.

    “The city district government of Karachi is responsible for the existence of these billboards, as it completely failed to regulate their legal position,” D’ Souza told Daily Times Sunday.

    There is an entire procedure for the installment of these billboards and the city district government has to implement the laws just as one does for the construction of a building. Approval has to be given for their foundations, boards, height, quality of material, wind resistance capacity etc, he added.

    Karachi, once a city of vast expanses of lush green rambling parks, has been taken over by corporate giants who advertise from Defense to North Nazimabad and from Lyari to Malir through whatever medium they can lay their hands on – buses, bus-stands, railway stations, tea-shops, pan kiosks and gigantic aeroplane-sized billboards.

    These huge billboards use wooden boards, gigantic steel frames, floppy fabric skins, unsightly wirings, and garish lighting. They block off sunlight and the view from apartments and offices, create serious safety issues on the ground, have poor electrical wiring and, as was proven Saturday, can keel over easily. amar guriro.


  23. Ali (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

    why do we blame The city district government of Karachi where we know that they do not owned most of the karachi area? KDA and various other bodies control and own areas across karachi


  24. Petarian_88 (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

    i really do not understand why the MQM people took over the Edhi morgue???

    what was the point!!!!!????

    only an extremely sick mind can come up with this idea!!

    even the israelis, indians….etc do not do such stuff!!!!!!!!


  25. d0ct0r (unregistered) on June 26th, 2007 @ 12:23 am

    @Petarian what else do you expect from terrorists… they even shot dead Edhi’s ambulance driver on 12th may…


  26. iD (unregistered) on June 26th, 2007 @ 6:33 am

    MQM terrorists tookover and stopped Edhi because they have another service called Khidmat-e-Khalq
    Now to make themselves look better (after 12th May) they want to be shown in aid work more than anyone. So if Edhi isn’t working then its Khidmat-e-Khalq who’s getting the awards :)
    you know what I mean


  27. Noman Ali Ansari (unregistered) on June 26th, 2007 @ 10:36 am

    @ Every One Accusing the CDGK/Musharraf/MQM

    This is the time when you should go out and help the victims rather than sitting idle and doing postings here – Please dont take political benefit out of this death toll For GODs Sake …. Please


  28. ShahidnUSA (unregistered) on June 26th, 2007 @ 11:41 am

    Guys keep on posting.I get informed. I trust you guys more than I trust media.Plus its blunt and brutaly honest which I like.About the storm, be safe but it must be nice to get a break from the heat and that (I dont understand) load shedding or rather I say load misshandling.


  29. iD (unregistered) on June 26th, 2007 @ 11:44 am

    @NOMAN ALI ANSARI

    I agree with you asking us to help the victims BUT
    People responsible for all this should not be able to get away with it
    more than 200 people died and responsible authorities should get a whip. If we don’t bash them then they(or next ones) Will remain ignorance and we shall suffer every time :)


  30. bluemax (unregistered) on June 26th, 2007 @ 12:10 pm

    Can someone please report the locations of the billboards that have crashed. The picture shows Regent Plaza, this area is under Cantt. control and not under City government. Everyone is blaming the City Government for everything. City Nazim is still an inferior being infront of the armymen incharge of these Cantts. Yes Nazim’s party is in power at all levels but the uniform cannot allow anyone civilian to tell them what is best for common man.


  31. iD (unregistered) on June 26th, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

    @BLUEMAX

    See bruv, this is always with MQM. They sing the same song all the time
    my point is IF YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DO YOUR WORK EVEN WHEN YOU ARE IN CHARGE THEN RESIGN
    as simple as that


  32. axiomatic (unregistered) on June 26th, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

    CDGK has done an excellent job in very short time. I dont think it would be fair to blame them for all miseries of Karachi.

    Boards have fallen in huge numbers (5 to 10) in areas of each authority including CDGK, Cantonments, Railway and Navy. Winds of more than 60knotts were partly responsible, and the overall corruption of the whole system is evident here also.

    Why blame CDGK if KESC lines/poles are vintage type. My office is in so called poshest slum of Karachi, and I can see cobwebs of electric cables right outside my window.

    Nevertheless, I see ‘only’ CDGK workers on the roads working day and night to do whatever they can.


  33. Noman Ali Ansari (unregistered) on June 26th, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXUdj6GNzNY&mode=related&search=

    Do you think resignation by them would benefit any one of us ??? do you think that any other party has more stake in Karachi than the recent City Govt :)

    We all need to grow up to understand the situation rather than bluntly and blindly accuse any one.

    I wonder why up till now no one accused City Govt for the creation of the storm Yamean.

    I don’t know MQM or any other party nor i am inclined however as a City Nazim I the recent Gentleman has done extremely good in many areas.


  34. Balma (unregistered) on June 26th, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

    * My office is in so called poshest slum of Karachi

    **** Please elaborate.
    DHA or Clifton?
    Can’t be Bath Island, because our crooks destroyed it years ago.

    Arz kyaa hae:

    Puraani cheez bachaa nahee’n saktay
    Na’ee cheez banaa nahee’n saktay

    And that is the result of too much population, and cousin marriages.


  35. ShahidnUSA (unregistered) on June 27th, 2007 @ 1:35 am

    Cousin marriages? Is that still going on? Are they aware about the harm it causes to their genetics? Its like marrying your sister.


  36. Sohail (unregistered) on June 27th, 2007 @ 6:12 pm

    They blame MQM in Pakistan like the west blames Al-Qaeda for every thing that goes wrong in the world. And this attitude is not new this has been going on since this party was founded. So let us ignore these people with vested interests and let us appreciate all the good work that the CDGK and its young and dynamic (and modern educated) Nazim is doing.

    As for Rizwan Edhi’s statement I fail to understand why the “terrorists” of MQM would take over the morgue and put a gun to the head of a prominent person waving their party flags? Are they naive and don’t know the harm it would do to their party? Or is it someone playing someone’s game? On this, I can still recall in 1995 (or so) when Mr. Sattar Edhi said that a group of Mr. Imran Khan has threatened him and that he was so scared that he went to London to save his life.

    As for the bill boards I can remember that last year the city Nazim Ordered removal of the illegal bill boards from the city and there was a huge uproar in the media about this. I think a number of lawsuits were also filed against him by some media companies.

    So my dear friends let us get rid of the bias that is inherent in our hearts and try to understand the real issues, maybe come up with good workable solutions and appreciate those who are trying to do whatever they can for this city.


  37. Balma (unregistered) on June 27th, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

    * ShahidnUSA writes

    Cousin marriages? Is that still going on? Are they aware about the harm it causes to their genetics? Its like marrying your sister.

    ********** Well, well…. lets not get carried away. Marrying cousin is not same as marrying a full brother or full sister.

    Still, cousin marriages do carry risks and lead to intellectual decay (which is obvious all over Pakistan and among Muslims generally), and over generations (i.e. multiple generations marrying their cousins) can lead to total devastation.


  38. Arifa (unregistered) on June 28th, 2007 @ 11:20 pm

    Ok after reading this post, I am confused, what exactly did the MQM wierdos want from those dead bodies. What’s the point of takign over a morgue? Unless there was some specific corpse they were looking for…..Did anyone find out?

    Where is that picture from in the beginning of this post. I personally know someone who puts up these billboards, at least 70 percent of them in Karachi. This company should be sued. Is it possible in Pakistan? Or can it be banned from puttign up any billboards for next couple of years or something?
    How terrible is that? Getting killed by a billboard? How freaky is that???


  39. Arifa (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 12:30 am

    I am getting revelations after reading this post… Hakeem Mohd Saeed got killed? BY MQM? Is he the nice guy who had a children’s monthly *NAUNEHAAL*? MQM seemed fit for the mentally dysfunctional before but now I think these people are greatly disturbed, probably sexually abused in childhood, who have had long bitter lives that turns them psychotic to the point of being sadists.
    One quick thought….the billboards must have fallen while the strongest winds were blowing DURING the storm… What were people doing outside at that point? Why weren’t they inside?



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