Woman with polio drowns in her home, becomes symbol of Karachi floods' devastation

Special Woman with polio drowns in her home, becomes symbol of Karachi floods' devastation
Residents sit over the debris of their collapsed houses at a flooded residential area after heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Aug. 26, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 31 August 2020
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Woman with polio drowns in her home, becomes symbol of Karachi floods' devastation

Woman with polio drowns in her home, becomes symbol of Karachi floods' devastation
  • Nearly 50 people have died, according to official figures, but many remain missing as search efforts continue
  • Parts of Karachi remain submerged after thunderstorms started to lash Sindh province on Tuesday

KARACHI: When floodwaters started to enter homes in eastern Karachi on Thursday afternoon, Nusrat Aashiq was alone. Disability made it difficult for her to struggle to the surface. Nobody could hear her cries for help.
Nearly 50 people have died, according to official figures, since the worst thunderstorms hit the coastal city of 15 million on Tuesday. As search and rescue efforts are still underway, many more people remain missing, feared to have lost their struggle against the flood, like Aashiq.
“Suffering from the poliovirus, which had crippled her body, the woman might have made efforts and called for help. But no one was there to help,” Bilal Siddiqui, Aashiq’s neighbor in the Karachi Administration Employees Housing Society (KAEHS), one of the city’s most affected, told Arab News.
Police say the 42-year-old woman could not move as both her legs were paralyzed. Her husband was reportedly away when she drowned, but the case will be investigated, local police Inspector Shoaib-ur-Rehman said.




Residents sit alongside their houses at a flooded area after heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Aug. 26, 2020. (AFP)

Many others still remain unaccounted for and families of the missing are in anguish while footage circulated on social media fuels their fear. On Saturday evening, a widely shared video showed the body of a young man being recovered from a clogged sewage drain.
Hina Waseem, a resident of Karachi’s Jamshed town whose family was also torn apart by the flood, is still waiting for her husband who went missing when he was accompanying his mother. The mother’s body was found on Saturday. 
“Till yesterday Hina would ask about her husband and complain that we are not doing enough to find him, but since the body of her mother-in-law has been recovered, she is only crying,” Waseem’s cousin, Owais Ali, told Arab News.




People ride in a vehicle during heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on August 27, 2020. (AFP)

As the provincial government has ordered a survey to determine the economic losses caused by the floods, after the business community claimed that Karachi alone had suffered damages of about Rs12 billion ($71.7 million) in the past few days, many ordinary people have lost their future and dreams.
Nusrat Jehan, a resident of Manzoor colony, said the items she had bought for her daughter’s dowry were all washed away by the flood. Years of saving for her child’s wedding vanished in no time. “I don’t know if I will be able to manage it again,” she said.
Shahid Rasam, a famous artist from the DHA area of the city, shared with Arab News a video showing all his paintings, books and furniture submerged in murky floodwaters. “This is DHA phase 4, a so-called posh area, with highest tax payers, and look at their suffering. In fact, the whole city has become a river of filth,” he said.
“See the condition of my studio, the canvases, the books, everything has been destroyed. The water has completely destroyed my work.”