Flood mismanagement or a calamity? | By Naveed Aman Khan


Flood mismanagement or a calamity?

PAKISTAN is ranked eighth among the counties most vulnerable to climate crises despite contributing less than one percent to global carbon emissions.

Since the beginning of the monsoon season in mid-June this year, more than 20,650 people have died across the country and hundreds of thousands have been displaced, with no respite from nature on the horizon.

Exceptional monsoon season has wreaked havoc across Pakistan. After 2010 heavy floods and torrential rains, record flood has devastated this country.

Tens of thousands of people are at the mercy of floods. It has been raining non-stop everywhere. The flood has swept houses, hotels and restaurants.

When the people heard the noise of water rushing towards them , they ran inside the house and yelled to their families to stop everything and immediately leave.

Tens of thousands were able to save their families leaving belongings behind on the mercy of the floods but hundreds of thousands were not as lucky.

Women and children are compelled to live under the open sky because they have lost their homes and the flood water still stands there.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was established to manage disasters by adopting a disaster risk reduction perspective in development planning at all levels and through enhancing institutional capacities for disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

Since, NDMA’s establishment could it ever perform complete spectrum of disasters at national level?

Could NDMA manage disasters by adopting a disaster risk reduction perspective in development planning at all levels and through enhancing institutional capacities for disaster preparedness, response and recovery?

Could NDMA achieve sustainable social, economic and environmental development in Pakistan through reducing risks and vulnerabilities, particularly those of the poor and marginalized and by effectively responding and recovering from all types of disasters?

The NDMA was aimed to develop sustainable operational capacity and professional competence to undertake disaster risk management at national level.

Could NDMA organize training and awareness raising activities for capacity development of stakeholders, particularly in hazard-prone areas?

Could it collect, analyze, process and disseminate inter-sectoral information required in hazards management approach?

Could it ensure appropriate regulations framed to develop disaster response volunteer teams?

Could it create requisite environment for participation of the media? The answer to these questions is a big.

Today we require the government to make available such men and resources for the purpose of emergency response, rescue and relief.

A critical juncture has reached and the time has come to demonstrate national spirit to deal with the extraordinary disasters.

The entire nation should donate generously to help the flood victims. A lot is required for the rehabilitation of the victims.

The federal and provincial governments are not making tireless efforts and all the resources are not being mobilised.

Owing to heavy rains and severe flooding, there are difficulties in relief operations and public contributions are needed to ramp up rescue efforts.

This is a national emergency and we will have to treat it as such. The entirety of Pakistan’s south is inundated and all resources will have to be gathered for this major crisis.

The NDMA is inactive in relief and rescue operations. More than 20 million people have been rendered homeless or without shelter.

Shamefully, like 2010 devastating floods once again the federal and the provincial governments are doing nothing for badly flood hit masses.

Once again the government is requesting world for help. We must not forget flooding is not the only trauma plaguing this country.

In 2010, after devastating flood Angelina Jolie UN Ambassador visited flood hit areas of Pakistan.

Everywhere she observed havoc. She found the then PPP government more concerned to herself, not the shelterless and drowning people in the water.

During her visit Angelina had least interested in photo sessions but the then Premier Yousaf Raza Gilani and his family remained busy in photo sessions with her.

The common people were dying with hunger but the PPP government remained busy in hosting her lavish lunches and dinners.

Pakistan will have to think about unusual strategies, take technical advice from the world and increasingly use scientific modelling to control heavy floods.

There should only be singular focus in Pakistan right now, which is the resourcing, coordination and provision of relief to millions stranded by the monster monsoons hitting Pakistan in a cascade of catastrophic cycles.

The extent of the destruction is so huge that the federal and provincial governments can not complete the rehabilitation of the flood affectees on their own.

As usual the government has urged international organisations, financial institutions and countries to cooperate with Pakistan government on an emergency basis.

I have not seen philanthropists and politicians rescuing people. In a video clip Munawar Talpur, husband of Faryal Talpur, is seen distributing Rs.

Fifty note to flood victims. Are fifty rupees enough for rehabilitation? Is not it inhumane? We need to reach out every affected Pakistani who needs help.

We need essential items and medical staff to overcome the difficult situation. In the past Bangladesh has been facing frequent heavy floods causing unbearable losses to the country and the nation but it has managed these floods by constructing dams and barrages.

To save our country and the nation from disaster can’t we learn lesson from Bangladesh? Where are 350 constructed dams during Imran Khan regime?

Where is Diamir Bhasha Dam? Is there any one who could ask Imran Khan and Saqib Nisar about Diamir Bhasha Dam?

Can’t we come out and help our nation? At this stage our media and government should ignore non issue of Shehbaz Gill focusing issue of disastrous flood?

We need to stop calling flood a calamity. Our rulers of present and past are our culprits. They should be held responsible.

It is our gross mismanagement and incapability of handling such situations. The writer is editor, book ambassador political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad.

—The writer is editor, book ambassador political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad.


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