Flood crisis to hit GDP growth projection

Published September 10, 2022
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and  UN Secterary General Antonio Guterres are being briefed about the flood situation on Friday. — PID website
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and UN Secterary General Antonio Guterres are being briefed about the flood situation on Friday. — PID website

KARACHI: Pakistan expects to cut its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projection for the financial year 2022-2023 from five per cent to three per cent due to losses from the catastrophic monsoon rains and floods, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Friday.

His warning came as the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reported that the death toll from the deadly floods had climbed to 1,396, while the total number of injured stood over 12,700.

According to NDMA’s latest situation report, the cumulative number of homes damaged by flooding — either partially or fully — was over 1.7 million, while over 6,600kms of roads and 269 bridges had been damaged.

Mr Iqbal, who is also chairman of the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC), was speaking during the joint briefing for PM Shehbaz Sharif and UN Secterary General Antonio Guterres.

Ahsan Iqbal estimates 2pc drop; death toll stands at 1,396

NFRCC Coordinator Maj Gen Zafar Iqbal, in his briefing, said that at least one-third of Pakistan was inundated. He also estimated that overall damages would amount to over $30 billion.

NDMA data indicates that a total of 81 districts (32 in Balochistan, 23 in Sindh and 17 in KP) remained categorised as ‘calamity-hit’.

The minister said that while the 2010s ‘super floods’ had affected around 20 million, the impact of the current flash floods had been felt by more than 33 million people across the country, of which over 0.6 million were housed in relief camps.

Hill torrents proved to be a challenge amid a lack of efficient infrastructure to deal with the disaster, which resulted in heavy losses to human life, infrastructure, livestock and crops.

The APP news agency quoted Mr Iqbal as saying that Pakistan expected a two per cent cut in the GDP growth figure due to a combination of crises, chief among which were the floods, the delayed approval of IMF funds and the economic situation emerging in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The NFRCC official said that coordinated efforts among civil government, military and NGOs including the UN aid bodies were in full swing, adding that an assessment survey on relief operations in the provinces would start by Monday.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2022

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