MONSOON rains have started wreaking havoc in parts of the country, especially Balochistan province.
Sharing details of the damage caused by what was termed as national disaster, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said the monsoon downpours have so far claimed lives of seventy seven including thirty nine in Balochistan where the provincial government has now declared Quetta a calamity-hit area and imposed a state of emergency.
According to the Balochistan Disaster Management Authority, Qila Saifullah, Zhob, Pishin and Harnai districts have also been affected by rain, whereas flood conditions have also been reported in Muslim Bagh, Qamaruddin and Khushnoob.
The current situation warrants that the relevant departments, especially National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), especially in Balochistan fulfil their responsibilities.
Whilst there is dire need to accelerate the rescue efforts in rain-affected areas of Balochistan, the affected population must be shifted to safer places and provided with ration and shelter.
Since the heavy rains have also caused serious damage and destruction to the houses and livelihoods, a damage assessment should also be carried out in order to provide compensation to the affected families.
As is often seen, the damage assessment should not remain only on papers rather the compensation must reach the affected families.
There is already great sense of deprivation amongst the Baloch people and any negligence at this point in time will only amount to rubbing more salt on their wounds.
It is time not only to express solidarity but also extend all possible assistance to them. As the current weather pattern will shift from Balochistan to Punjab in the days ahead, the relevant departments must remain alert to cope with any emergency like situation in the province.
Apart from preparing contingency plans ahead of monsoon season, the federal and provincial governments must also prepare both short and long term plans envisaging construction of such infrastructure that enhances our adaptability to the changing weather systems.
We are ranked amongst the most vulnerable countries to climate change and we have to take the requisite steps to secure the future of our coming generations.
Construction of big dams needs to be accelerated to save not only the precious water but also the lives.