THE rainfall breaking a 30-year record, combined with the power outages has caused havoc in Karachi leading to 52 deaths and widespread human misery. With torrential rains lashing the city, low-lying neighbourhoods turned into virtual lakes where at places boats had to be acquired by the afflicted people to ferry women and children to safer areas. There were cases of drowning, particularly of children, in the Malir River. The power breakdown complicated the miseries brought by the rains. In areas, people had to live without electricity, water and gas supply for up to 30 hours. Water entering houses not only forced residents to look for shelter, but is likely to cause long-term problems on account of damage to the building structures. The rains indicated once again that the city planners had done little to cope with disaster-like situations. Despite its tall claims of making extraordinary improvements in Karachi and having built up the capacity to deal with all sorts of emergencies, rains in particular, the City Government once again let down the Karachiites. Presumably, whatever planning has been undertaken to improve the water disposal and sewerage system has targeted posh localities, leaving the poor and low-lying areas to their fate. This naturally led to protests against KESC and the government. What specially irked the people was the feeling of having been let down by their representatives, both in the City Government and the Provincial and National Assembly. There were vociferous complaints on the electronic media that none of them had cared to visit the flooded areas from Friday through Sunday. Further, no help was extended to the population in the affected areas by the institutions responsible. Both KESC and the City Government officials claim that the rains being extraordinary, things were bound to go out of control. This would hardly satisfy those many thousands who have suffered due to the lack of the monumental shortcomings on the part of the two bodies, brought to light by the rains. While there is hardly any area in the city which has not been disturbed by the unusual downpour, civic infrastructure in the poor and low-lying areas particularly needs to be given the attention that seems to have been denied to it. Whatever happens in Karachi, which is the industrial and financial hub of Pakistan, affects the entire country. Any breakdown of normal activities in the city has adverse repercussions for the national economy. It also bears repeating that since Karachi has already become an ethnic cauldron, there is a need on the part of the federal and provincial governments to show greater determination to resolve the social and political issues of the country's largest metropolis.