Will the Moon soon repeat the devastation of last year?

The death toll has climbed to 29 with 169 Injured as torrential rains and heavy windstorms hit most parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) including districts Bannu, Karak, DI Khan, and Lakki Marwat, while the pre-moon soon rainfalls equally affected several districts in Northern Punjab. The powerful brunt of storms swept away homes, collapsed walls of muddy houses, uprooted trees and electricity pylons resulting in the loss of precious lives and injuries leaving hundreds of people stranded in affected regions. According to the details, the devastation has resulted in significant financial losses, primarily affecting the solar panel plants installed on the rooftops of mosques, schools, and houses. Moreover, a majority of the affected areas are currently deprived of electricity, and Electricity Supply Corporations are still working on the restoration of power supply in certain areas in the country. The Prime Minister has directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to initiate relief and rehabilitation work in cooperation with the PDMA and Rescue 1122. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army Rescue teams have reached the affected areas in KP and Punjab and started their rescue and relief operations on an urgent basis.

The Climate Change spectacle is at its peak in Pakistan while the South Asian nation has become zero ground for climate-related events, and environmental and weather changes that cost heavy monetary and material prices and cause tremendous challenges for the poor nation. After suffering the repercussions of a super flood last year, the country is currently passing through another series of unexpected heavy rains, storm winds, and heavy hailing contrary to the forecast of the Pakistan Metrological Department and South Asian Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF) which predicted a below-normal rain in Sindh and Balochistan while forecasted a regular or above normal rains in KP, Punjab, and North Areas during the upcoming moon soon season. There is a prediction of above-normal temperatures during the moon soon season from June to September throughout South Asia which has increased the risk for sharp glacier meltdown, and glacier burst that can cause floods in major rivers, or brought destruction in the lower stream.

Pakistan faces severe devastation caused by floods during the moon soon season annually. Moon soon regularly brings heavy rainfall that causes mountainous and Urban flooding and inflicts heavy life and property losses because of insufficient water storage infrastructure, unplanned and irregular construction over waterways and alongside banks of rivers and ravines, encroachment near/over sewerage lines, and lack of forestation in the country. At the same time, no implementation of flood protection measures including the construction of dams, the regular clearance of flood Nullahs, the construction of safety walls/ bands alongside waterways/ canals, or the removal of encroachment on a permanent basis, so the flood water can pass through its designated waterways without obstruction and causing damage to the population in the hilly and urban areas. Meanwhile, all government agencies including the Metrological Department, NDMA, PDMA, and local government institutions must have a close liaison to proactively mitigate the situation without any loss of life and property of the public.

Unfortunately, the Pakistani nation had not learned a lesson from the annual destruction brought by floods every year. The government institutions including NDMA, PDMA, and local governments failed in performing their core functions in a timely manner because of corruption and institutional laxity, while those institutions do not work proactively and often wait for the occurrence of calamity before coming into action. The government annually allocates funds for strengthening flood protection measures, and the construction and repair of dams, canals, and other irrigation infrastructure prior to the moon soon season but no single penny incur on the required job by the local governments and revenue departments. At the same time, unrestricted encroachment and unethical living of the people often block the waterways and play a role in making up the disaster.

Historically, the recurrent floods not only ruined the national economy but bring havoc to the public in the lower stream on a regular basis in the shape of displacement, loss of property and livestock, damage to crops and livelihood, etc. The Federal government must in place a credible mechanism to ensure the judicial utilization of allocated funds at the local level, along with the timely mobilization of the Federal and Provincial institutions to reduce losses in the forthcoming moon soon season. Although, the government can not stop natural calamities yet it could reduce the devastation of those events through in placement of proactive strategies and kinetic measures. The Pakistani nation suffered through superfoods unprecedentedly last year while the upcoming moon soon will be a test for the leadership and the institutions.