Flood brings Biodiversity crises in KP

Murad Khan

Biodiversity is essential for human food, oxygen and drinking water but due to the severe flood in June 2022 in the whole country and especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province created biodiversity crises, because in this flood countless trees, crops, animals and livestock have vanished, which ultimately created food crises. Due to this flood the expensive hatcheries of trout fish have vanished and the trout fish has been captured in Charsada district at (MondaHeadworks) near Mohmand Dam.

Besides this countless kinds of bird’s species, fishes, crops and agricultural land have been badly affected due to this flood, which has created a crisis situation in KP, and the environmental scientists believe that due to these losses our food is directly being affected, but unfortunately the international community is also not helping directly in biodiversity loss due to flood.

The Economic losses are estimated to be in excess of $30bn, 50 million people have been internally displaced, and more than 400 children have died. According to the livestock department, more than 2 thousand cattle have been washed into flood water, but it seems that there will be a huge loss to livestock in the affected areas and the department is calculating the exact figure.

According to the official report of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forest Department under 10-BTTP (Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project) regarding Flood Damages, 2216 Ha of land (estimated worth Rs: 255 million) have been damaged due to flood. The report shows that in region-1(Banu, Kohat, South Waziristan,Peshawar, Kurram, Orakzai) 968.4 Ha of land have been damaged, the estimated worth of that land is Rs:108530473. Similarly in Region-2 (Kohistan, Bunir, Haripur) 460 Hectare of 10 BTTP have been damaged, the loss has been estimated at Rs: 41448541. At the same time in region-3 (Kalam, Upper Swat, Dir, Kohistan, Alipur and chitral) 787.88 Ha of Hectare of 10 BTTP have been damaged, the loss has been estimated Rs: 104791932.

BachaZeb (Working as Transmission Engineer for Pakhtunkhwa Radio Bajure) Belongs to swat (As he had three Trout fish forms in Kalam). In a telephonic conversation he said that they have lost three trout fish forms in swat and some hotels also have vanished due to the monsoon flood. “All the three Trout Fish forms were in around 3 kilometers area, and all of them (with their Hatchery) have flowed into flood water, due to which all breeds have been lost. “ Mr. Zeb added. He estimated the total loss at more than 50 to 60 million rupees.

Forty-two-year-old Usman Ali belonging to Swat says that the trout forms worth Rs: 300 million, have either died or been washed away in rainwater drains due to the floods in Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on August 26. Usman Ali, who has been involved in the trout fish business since 1992, said that in the recent floods 7 of my trout farms have been flooded causing a total loss of 30 million.

According to data obtained under RTI from the Department of Fisheries, Swat, 136 private and two government trout farms in five tehsils of Swat have been completely destroyed by the floods, while 99 more farms have been partially affected by the floods. 159 farms were affected by the flood in Tehsil Matta and the loss was Rs. 70 million and four million. 1 farm in Rs and tehsil Charbagh and the loss is 1 million rupees. In Swat, the trout fish farm as a whole has suffered a loss of 1 billion, 35 crore and 4 million rupees due to recent floods.

Detailed list of losses and damages due to flood in KP issued by PDMA: According to the official details provided by PDMA (Provincial disaster management authority), in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at least 311 people died and 381 people were injured as a result of various accidents due to rains and floods across the province since 15 June 2022. The detailed report says that in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 37,525 houses were completely damaged while 53,943 houses were partially damaged. The total number of house damages are 91,468 across the province. PDMA, District Administration and other relevant departments evacuated 406,538 people to safe places before the floods while 69,775 people were rescued through rescue operation in different districts, 674,318people have been displaced and 866,363 people have been provided dry food and cooked food.

According to Director General PDMA KP Sharif Hussain, plastic mats to benefit 22456 individuals, apart from it 28,473 blankets, 14,884kitchen sets, 18,139 hygiene kits, 15,839Water containers, 15,529 plastic mats, 1,640 life-saving jackets, and 12,551mosquito nets Baskets, 1,660 searchlights and 14,161pillows have been distributed. PDMA has already released PRs. 1752 million to the District Administrations since July to deal with the emergency situation. As per policy, the fund can be utilized for compensation of the victims and relief activities.

Prof. Dr. Mohammad Nafees, Chairman Department of environmental sciences at University of Peshawar says Biodiversity is very vast field, all kinds of organism, trees, plants, birds, micro-organism, algae, fungi, bacteria and other species came in the term of Biodiversity, all these living organisms should be present in our environment with a specific ratio, then the routine of human life will be normal, for example we need oxygen, which is provided by plants and trees, similar different species depends upon directly or indirectly on our food. Some species like bacteria, fungi and algae cleans water, earth and air, besides this these organisms maintain oxygen, carbon and nitrogen cycles. With the balance of these species it makes a complex system, in which each organism plays an important role.

About loss of Biodiversity due to flood Prof. Dr. Mohammad Nafees said “when flood comes it flows mud from soil, so either it destroys the habitat of countless micro-organisms, birds, fishes or it brings some nutrients due to which their food system destroys, so these organisms get out of the system, ultimately they have directly or indirectly affects our food, water and air.”

About the judging criteria of biodiversity loss due to flood, the Chairman Department of environmental sciences said that there are special mechanisms and scientific techniques for each and every organism, besides this we do surveys from people and compare it with old data and we do special monitoring for this purpose.
Regarding the importance of each and every organism in biodiversity he said that if the crow is separated from the system, there will be no decomposition of waste product, besides this there are some organism which helps in greening of soil, if they are destroyed, the fertility of soil will be disturbed, these will affect the crops and plants production, which directly related to our food, environment and economy. So there should be more options present in our environment for oxygen, nitrogen cycle and for our food. Ex. Director National Insect Museum at NARC (National Agricultural Research Center) Islamabad Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ather Rafi defines Biodiversity as “the distribution of living species in any ecosystem”, the biodiversity loss occurs due to flood, construction and other human civilization.

About the help in biodiversity loss from international organizations like UN and CBD (Convention of Biodiversity) DrAther said they are not directly helping the losses due to floods and if they help in the form of compensation, I don’t think it reaches the affected people, although there are some organizations who release funds for some conservation projects but unfortunately our country has a political environment rather than a scientific, that’s why many important projects have been wasted.

In response to a question “How to minimize biodiversity loss due to flood?” DrAther replied that plantation, public awareness and seriousness are very important, besides this government has established biodiversity Parks and took ban over cutting of trees and hunting of birds and other animals, due to these activities biodiversity conservation is possible.

The Ex-Country head of IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) Dr Muhammad Rafiq said that flood destroys the basic components of Biodiversity i-e Animals, Plants, fishes, living organism, forests and in short the rain damage the overall ecosystem. These losses can be calculated by scientific methods, calculations, and pre and post surveys. About the help of international community in this regards he said that there a fund called GEF (Global Environmental Facility) who give funds to Biodiversity and environment related projects globally, but unfortunately due to shortage of technical mechanism, Pakistan gets very little benefits from that fund.

Dr Muhammad Rafiq suggested government should not only takes his rights from international community, but also should properly utilize their own Resource, the govt. should focus on low cost solution, rive forestation and plantation on huge scale, which can be sued for sale purpose in Corban exchange market, besides this every individual should get awareness about the importance of our planet, ecosystem, plants and trees. We should change our attitude and behavior’s regarding climate and Biodiversity, because Biodiversity is nature, which is directly depending upon our food, water and oxygen.

It is very difficult to calculate the exact amount of Biodiversity loss due to flood, but there will be in thousand stories about biodiversity loss after sometime. The global organization working on Biodiversity CBD (Convention on Biodiversity) in its last meeting COP (conference of parties) held in Canada in the end of December 2022, fixed a huge amount for different sectors of biodiversity, the scientist working on biodiversity had expressed concerns as they did not discuss the loss and damages of biodiversity due to natural disasters like flood, because they are of the view that countries like Pakistan which are on the frontline of climate and environmental changes should be awarded special funds in order to take concrete steps to safeguards biodiversity in their respective countries and if proper steps were not taken on time, there will be biodiversity crises in the whole universe, which will ultimately badly effect the basic necessities of life like food, water and oxygen for human being.

The writer is Radio producer and freelance Journalist, who tweets on @Muradonline123