While Pakistan was recovering from the impact of the unprecedented floods of 2010, it was hit by another flood in August 2011.

Unlike the previous year, when over flooding of river caused havoc, this disaster was triggered by exceptional rainfall in localised areas within Sindh.

Whereas Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab also received widespread rainfall, the devastation was more pronounced in middle and southern parts of the Sindh province. Specifically, Mithi, Mirpurkhas, Diplo, Chhachhro, Nagar Parkar, Benazirabad, Badin, Chhor, Padidan, Sanghar, Nausheroferoz, Dadu received record rainfall during August and September.

Due to the relatively flat land gradient in southern Sindh, rain water inundated large areas in Tando Mohammad Khan and Badin. The situation became more serious due to breaches in Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD), and caused loss of life and extensive damage to property, agricultural produce and livestock.

The widespread rains even affected the Tharparkar district which is mainly dessert, where the rain water was fortunately contained within the soil.

In terms of losses to agricultural produce, it will be too early to provide any firm estimate at this stage. However, a snapshot of the main kharif crops in Sindh provides some pointers on the likely impact of the floods.

It may be noted that the months of August and September are generally harvesting season for cotton, rice and vegetative crops.

In some areas of southern Sindh, farmers were able to complete the first cotton picking before the monsoon rains. Similarly, in other areas kharif vegetables have already been harvested, and it was time to sow rabi vegetables.

The cotton crop is most vulnerable to floods so far. Major damages have been reported in Mirpurkhas, Benazirabad, Sanghar, Ghotki, Tando Muhamamd Khan and Tando Allayar.

Damages to the rice crop are limited to Badin and Thatta in the lower Sindh region. However, most of the rice crop (around 70 per cent of output in Sindh) is produced in the upper region (e.g., Kashmore, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Larkana) where precipitation was lower.

It is expected that rains at this stage may result in higher crop yields in these regions, which may partially offset losses in lower Sindh.

In the case of sugarcane, almost all major sugarcane producing districts were affected due to floods. However, losses to sugarcane are expected to remain low as the crop is relatively resilient to flooding. Furthermore, rains may improve water contents of the crop thereby increasing its weight.

Extensive losses in some minor crops (e.g., onion, tomato, chilli) have been reported in Sindh. It may be noted that Mirpurkhas, Badin and Umerkot together account for more than 65 per cent of chilli produced in Pakistan.

Although the major share of vegetable produce was already harvested before rains, these floods have damaged the crop, and sowing of rabi vegetables is expected to be delayed. Finally, nearly 70 per cent of the country’s banana produce comes from Khairpur, Thatta, Benazirabad, Matiari, Naushero Feroz and Sanghar – all affected by the flood.

Apart from crops, these floods have led to significant losses to livestock as according to NDMA, over 15,000 cattle heads have been lost in Sindh due to floods.

However, its impact on overall GDP will be minimal as the value addition by the livestock subs-sector is computed on the basis of inter-census growth rate and the last census was completed in 2006.—Extracts from SBP annual report 2010-11

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