Floods, water shortage and government’s creed

Written by The Frontier Post

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), the pre-monsoon rains have wreaked havoc in various parts of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, causing floods and roofs to collapse, damaging crops and properties and leaving several people dead and injured. As per detail, heavy showers in Sibi, Kohlu, Ziarat, Quetta, Chaman, Harnai, Loralai, Sherani, Musa Khel, Barkhan and Zhob had ruined road links while disconnecting major cities from rural areas as well as with the Provincial capital. While wind followed by stormy shover caused floods in almost the entire Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and destroyed bridges, link roads and damaged houses and public properties. Similar situations had been reported in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, while flood water of mountainous regions and pre-monsoon rains in Central and Northern Punjab created an emergency situation in Southern Punjab and Sindh. The government also issued warnings of urban flooding in major cities including Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan, Lahore and Faisalabad.

Pakistan is a Water deficit country and Federal Minister for Climate change, honourable Sherry Rehman has informed the nation that due to the climate change, the country is likely to strike a grave water crisis by 2025, just three years hereafter. After a week of her forecast, pre-monsoon rains submerged the whole country and caused billions of rupees loss to the national economy, destroyed costly infrastructure, caused heavy losses to public and private properties, and killed dozens of people in different parts of the country. This did not happen for the first time, but a cycle begins each year that the federal and Provincial governments allocate funds to disaster management authorities and local administrations to mitigate flood emergency, metrological department and NDMA issue flood warnings, every year floods used to occur and inflicts huge losses to the public, government expands valuable reserves and after flood gets over, the country hits acute water shortage and our farmers become helpless for cultivation of crops due to unavailability of water. This tragic cycle has repeated itself continuously over the past seven decades but neither political leadership nor bureaucracy could devise a scheme to control floods and use rain water for cultivation purposes instead of burning national resources in battling the destruction brought by the torrents.

According to the federal flood commission, Pakistan had witnessed floods each year after its existence, however 20 floods were the most disastrous and put lasting effects on the country’s infrastructure and national economy. As said, an average inland flood cost an estimated loss of 1% of the annual GDP of the country. Apparently, flood, water scarcity and climate change have common reasons and solutions, therefore, government departments and ministries should work coordinately and must use their resources for forestalling the hazards instead of mitigating the aftershocks of the disasters.

In fact, a national strategy must be devised while considering long-term and short-term actions raging from district and city level safety measures including cementing of protective boundaries of rivers/canals, desilting and removal of encroachment on the edges of rivers and streams along with clearance of waterways, while construction of water storages and tree plantation is essential to achieve the goals of climate change, flood prevention and water deficiency. However, all that was for pro-public governments, sincere bureaucrats and loyal politicians who want to serve their nation instead of self-service and nepotism.

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The Frontier Post

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