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Facing the flood

Published Aug 07, 2012 12:00am

EVEN though relatively moderate, the rain has already caused a flood-like situation in some parts of Punjab. At least two of the major rivers are in medium to high flood, and 13 villages in the Sialkot area have been inundated, with crops over hundreds of acres damaged. We could expect the situation to worsen, because the met office has forecast more rain and thunderstorms for Punjab, KP, Gilgit-Baltistan and northern Sindh. Are we, then, going to see a repeat of the devastating flood of 2010 and, for Sindh, a third visitation? While this economic and humanitarian catastrophe had a national dimension in 2010, Sindh suffered twice when floods revisited it last year, causing misery that in some respects exceeded what was seen the preceding year. Yet regrettably, there is no evidence that the authorities have learnt their lessons.

On paper, federal and provincial officialdom is on its toes, flood relief centres have been set up, and the Sindh government has started registering volunteers. But Pakistan’s institutional ability to respond to disasters has come under severe international criticism. A research report by British NGOs says Pakistan isn’t ready even for “much smaller disasters” for a country prone to natural calamities on a big scale. The shortcomings the report listed included lack of coordination among government agencies, a below-standard flood warning and forecasting system, extensive deforestation, and failure to mobilise local communities. The pity is that a large number of those rendered homeless by the 2011 deluge have still not been rehabilitated, and in some cases damaged embankments beg for repairs: this much for the post-disaster effort. The ability of the National Disaster Management Authority will now be tested when rivers overflow and canals breach embankments. Clearly we will have to blame ourselves and not the elements if a new flood inflicts a fresh set of miseries on the nation.

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Comments (3) Closed

Shakeel Ghouri
Aug 07, 2012 07:59am
The two consecutive floods have caused a damage at large scale. This time it will be wise if the authorities take some measures to plan to deal with the impending calamity. It is better to prepare for the problem than to compensate for the loss.
Aug 07, 2012 03:57am
I have noticed that some International donors and INGO's are much more active than the Government Officials. its the job of NDMA and PDMA not only to prepare plan but also involve different tiers of the Government, community and other stake holders. Education department is taking a lead role supported by UNICEF and other donors.
Asif Ansari
Aug 07, 2012 10:57pm
We the people do not learn from our past. 2010 flood destroyed every thing in our country, world accept it. This time again flood is coming, but its scale is short, now the time is starting of preparation for coming flood, We people do not depand this time only the government as well NGO's, this time we people do as we can. This is very sad, there is little bit truth the flood fund was distributed between some institutions, NGO's and culprits, common people saw all these things with open eyes, Foreigner as well local people reported this fraud in front of Media. Again some of the Pakistani is praying for flood, because this the way to go rich and rich due to the help of flood relief fund.

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