THE protracted spell of monsoon has all but paralysed life in Balochistan. The forecast suggests there is no immediate end in sight, which is making things worse because even rescue operations have been affected. How precarious is the situation can be imagined by the fact that even a military helicopter with senior officers on board failed to survive, adding to the overall gloom in the province.
One of the worst affected districts is Lasbela which is the gateway to Sindh, connecting the industrial city of Hub with Karachi. A portion of the bridge connecting the two provinces has been washed away, and, for now, the entire province is relying on the alternative link, which is the bridge on the western Hub bypass.
Frankly speaking, the said bridge is unable to sustain the flow of heavy traffic, simply because it was not built for that purpose, and might itself end up in a tragedy. As for the main bridge, it will be functional not before a year. Life is tough and is going tougher by the day if you happen to be a resident of Balochistan.
Reports coming from various affected areas across the province suggest people have been starving to death because of the non-availability of food and other essentials needed for human survival. The Met Office has predicted another spell of rains this week, and there is bound to be further trouble because the relevant authorities are still struggling to manage the damage caused by the previous spells.
Indeed, what we are confronting is a natural calamity, but the provincial government and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) would have done no harm to anyone had they paid heed to early Met Office warnings and forecasts. If they had prepared ahead of time, they could have worked together and considerably minimised the scale of loss; loss of both life and property, mind you.
Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2022