Managing natural calamities | By Fayyaz Salih Hussain

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Managing natural calamities

THE images of toddlers dying in flood, dozens of dead bodies in mud, and thousands of people stuck in flood with no shelter, food to eat and water to drink.

Many hard questions arise regarding seriousness of political leadership and those in power for last so many years.

This political class always uses Baluchistan’s and Southern Punjab elected members for their purpose and in returns they got huge amount in term of developmental funds which are never used for the development of common people.

People of such areas are living very miserable life. History will never forget when it writes about the misery of common people, especially during natural calamities.

According to reports, more than a hundred people died and a similar number are injured whereas thousands have been displaced due to flash floods and torrential rains.

A hundred thousand livestock and houses have completely vanished. Flash floods have damaged many connected bridges and about 220 roads are completely damaged.

One of the main reasons behind these heavy monsoons which is 75% more than seasonal is because climatic change that we are facing nowadays.

Pakistan is home to a variety of geographical landscapes which are prone to face different types of climatic change challenges and impacts.

Pakistan ranked 5th among those countries that are the most affected due to extreme weather events in the past few decades.

Extreme heat waves during past days rank Pakistan as the most vulnerable country on Global Climate Risk Index.

It is estimated that Pakistan has lost $4 billion and more than 10,000 lives due to direct environmental change in the last decade.

No doubt climate is continuously playing its part, the pattern of monsoon has shifted to heavy rainfall within a very short period.

Which leads to urban flooding in big cities. Unlike the other areas of Pakistan, Baluchistan is most affected and deprived province in terms of climatic change.

Baluchistan experiences more extreme weather conditions both in terms of economic losses as well as fatalities.

Increased intensity and frequency of events including extreme droughts, erratic monsoon, flash floods, high temperature, and extreme heat waves in the semi-arid and arid region of Baluchistan reduced its agricultural production and livestock.

Despite of higher production capacity and fertile land, a larger portion of land cannot be cultivated due to water scarcity.

The agricultural land of Baluchistan is more fertile than the land in Sindh in terms of production, the only problem is the availability of water and the lack of an efficient canal system in Baluchistan.

During the Ayub Khan regime, agriculture was boosted up with large irrigation systems and dams but Baluchistan was ignored despite of more cultivated land and deprived people, the fruit of the green revolution of the Ayub Khan regime was never ripped by the Baloch people.

The people of Baluchistan are the most ignored people of Pakistan in every walk of life. Baluchistan grabs attention only when the ruling elite class of the country or the feudal class needs them for their own interest.

Due to a lack of interest in the local population, the poverty rate raised more than 47%, and after this deadly flood, it will add more numbers to it.

We are very much interested in 44% of country land, 750 km of coastal line, Gwadar port, minerals, Reko Diq , hydrocarbon deposits, and the CPEC but whenever the deprived people are not politically beneficial to our powerful circles, they are left like this mate.

Baluchistan, the resource-rich province of Pakistan, and Southern Panjab need emergency relief operations followed by a sufficient package in order to save the life of thousands of people.

The people of Baluchistan and southern Punjab need two-fold solutions, for instant, they need emergency rescue operations from government and international donor agencies.

People need to move forward like in the 2010 heavy flood by donating tents, medicines, blankets, and eatables in order to rehabilitate the people.

In the long term, these floods and droughts will happen frequently according to projected climatic conditions faced by the country.

By 2060, the temperature will be increased up to 1.4°–3.7°C, which will lead to uncertain precipitation ranging from a decrease by 20% to an increase by more than 40%, which indicates the extreme weather output in terms of drought as well as heavy rainfall and flood, so adopting reconstruction and recovery strategy should be followed by government and donor agencies to intensify development work.

Dams are useful in order to store the excess amount of water every year due to rain this water can be utilized during drought seasons.

NDMA should focus on precautionary measures rather than relief work after every calamity which leads to the loss of hundreds of innocent lives and the loss of billions of rupees.

Every calamity exposed bad, ill-prepared infrastructure, and the incapability of disaster management authorities.

People of Baluchistan and Southern Punjab are equal Pakistani citizens as any other Pakistani is, for God’s sake do something real for them before it’s too late.

—The writer is contributing columnist based in Hyderabad

 

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