THERE seems to be no end to our monsoon misery. Deadly rains continue to lash several parts of the country, destroying transportation networks and homes as they wreak havoc on human and animal life. The situation in Balochistan, the region worst-hit by floods, destruction and disease, is dire, with a damaged rail and road network practically cutting off the provincial capital from the rest of the country for the past few days. The Balochistan government, while expressing its inability to tackle the crises and offer large-scale relief, has requested the centre to provide financial assistance to the tune of Rs50bn-Rs60bn. The statistics are dismal: over 200 people have died in the rains, nearly 800 km of roads have been destroyed, 20,000 homes have been washed away, and more than 100,000 livestock have perished. Media reports indicate that as many as 7,000 people were living in relief camps by the second week of August. Given this terrible situation, it is not surprising that the Balochistan government, with its meagre human and financial resources, finds itself unable to carry out repair and reconstruction work. Considering that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has repeatedly promised relief and aid to the people of Balochistan, it is hoped that the federal government will respond quickly to the province’s call for help and provide the resources needed to rebuild homes and roads and rehabilitate the affected families.
Meanwhile, scores of people have died in torrential rains in KP and Sindh as well. Karachi, with all its significance as the country’s largest city and financial hub, has not been immune either, with the rains taking a toll on human lives and an already creaky infrastructure. Unfortunate as the destruction and the loss of life is, it is, as research suggests, the new norm. The authorities have no choice but to shift away from traditional approaches to development and adopt more sustainable ways that can protect against environmental hazards that have come to stay. Climate resilience, it seems, must be strengthened.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2022