RECURRING floods with increasing intensity is one of the highly negative aspects of the climate change pheno-menon. However, the human element of the crisis, owing to negligence, inefficiency and lethargy, cannot be denied. It actually had multiplying negative impact on the vulnerable population, unleashing a vicious cycle of never-ending sufferings in the rural parts of Sindh.

Dadu, being one of the most vulnerable districts, faced the threat of floods from the eastern side, while flash floods made matters worse on the western side. One had expected the relevant authorities to learn a lesson from past disasters, but efficiency and empathy are not the kind of attributes one generally associates with government departments.

When the whole world was forecasting high floods, the local people were told by provincial and local leadership not to worry, and not to evacuate, because the embankments were supposedly strong.

The locals did ask the government to drain out the overfilled Manchar as the Indus was not flowing at its capacity at the time. The advice was brushed aside with much disdain because, apparently, the government knew better.

The politicians sidelined the profe-ssionals, and made crucial decisions themselves. The flood came with full fury, the Manchar overflowed and all major embankments crumbled. Soon, the whole Dadu district was under water. During the initial week after the flood struck, the government and local politicians were nowhere in sight. But when it came to the distribution of relief goods, just about everyone sprang into action. While the common man kept waiting, people affiliated with the political elite in areas that were not really affected filled their homes with the so-called relief goods. For a lot of affected people, the wait is still not over. They continue to be without food and shelter.

Roads and other public infra-structure have not been fully repaired, metrological department has predicted heavy rains and another crisis looms large, but the administration is in a slumber. And it is not just about incompetence or complacency. Nobody is interested in preventive measures because floods mean aid and assistance for the politically connected.

This is a glimpse of the unfortunate reality of Sindh prevailing on the ground.

Gulsher Panhwer
Johi

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2023

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