Gaddani — A Beach Turned Death Trap!

Salal Ameen
Generally, beaches are considered to be the most popular, attractive and glamorized part of our planet, yet Gaddani beach often turns into a dangerous place for tourists specifically on Eid Holidays.
Last week, a family from Liyari ended up on beach for picnic. Unfortunately, six of the family members lost their lives on the beach when high waves washed them away. Since 2010, Gaddani beach has seen a massive increase in number of tourists, most probably due to large number of people settling down in adjoining cities of the beach coming from across the war-torn areas of Balochistan.
With increase in number of tourists in past few years, there has also been an increase in the number of people drowning off every year. It has been observed that the number of lifeguards, deployed at Gaddani beach, is not enough to handle a crowd of tens of thousands of people on vacations. There is 50 percent higher risk of drowning at sea between the start of May until the end of September.
In this high-risk-like situation, at beaches of Karachi, deployment of lifeguards has increased accordingly and ambulance service is provided by Edhi Foundation and other services. However, this is not the case with Gaddani beach. Given the various topographical features that make it a dangerous beach, it is necessary to have lifeguards who are not just good swimmers but also well-informed lifeguards who may deal with the situation after saving a drawing person. They need to be able to identify sea patterns, high and low tides, various currents and beach surfaces.
Keeping a high number of accidents in view, the government seems less concerned about hiring enough lifeguards, let alone training them properly.
Furthermore, around the globe, countries have adopted the policy of constructing watchtowers for lifeguards along the beaches without which it becomes a burdensome task for lifeguards to handle the crowd of people celebrating national holidays.
Mairaj Khan, who heads KMC (Karachi Metropolitan Corporation) and runs Emergency Response Centre at Hawke’s Bay Beach Karachi, said in an interview with Herald in its issue of October 2017, ” Unlike most beaches across the world the surface of Gaddani and some Beaches in Karachi was not leveled and modified to minimize hazards. “Reducing wave motion, leveling the surface and removing underwater rocks were some of the techniques used to ensure beach safety.”
Apart from lack of management staff, it seems that Gaddani beach, most likely being only recreational site for whole area, has largely been neglected in terms of development and construction.
On the other hand, a huge swathe of garbage littered along beach resembles the proportions to which the beach has been neglected by concerned departments.
However, economists suggest that along Gaddani beach if restaurants, hotels and parks are constructed while beach is provided with an operative management, it could highly boost up the income of poor people living around the beach.
Writer studies in Islamabad. He belongs to Mashky, Awaran.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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