AS the water level appears to be receding in flood ravaged areas, the focus is now shifting to the reconstruction phase.
The Planning Commission stated on Sunday that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will formally announce government measures for the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase on the 24th of this month.
The announcement came after the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment of the damages and losses has been completed by the Planning & Development Division in collaboration with the World Bank, ADB, EU and UN.
The last few months have been very difficult for our people. There has been internal displacement of millions of people because of unprecedented floods on account of which the flood victims are compelled to live in tents.
All the government departments, especially the defence forces, really deserve appreciation for being prompt in rescue and relief efforts.
But as the winter season is approaching, it must be ensured that these poor victims of climate change have access to warm clothes and blankets.
Separately, a clear roadmap should be chalked out to complete the rehabilitation of these people in the minimum possible time.
The government must decide quickly whether it will build the destroyed homes or give compensation to the victims to construct the same.
If the option of compensation is being considered, then it must be ensured that this amount reaches every affected family in the most transparent manner and that the amount should be sufficient enough that enables them to rebuild their homes.
Both the federal and provincial governments must jointly undertake this task as well as reconstruction of other critical infrastructure which should be resilient enough to withstand future calamities.
According to a report by the World Bank, weather and climate-related disasters have affected over seventy million Pakistanis in the past three decades with estimated economic losses of over twenty billion dollars or roughly one billion dollar a year.
Hence, heavy responsibility rests with the major countries to fully support Pakistan in the reconstruction phase.
As Pakistan is not seeking reduction of principal debt, the future funding for reconstruction activities must be in the form of grants so that the country could build back better in the most resilient manner whie not worrying about the finances.
As the reconstruction phase is commencing, efforts must be accelerated for the early conduct of the donor conference which the French President had promised to host in support of flood victims.
Our government officials are seeking realistic justice for climate induced disasters that Pakistan is facing, not reparations.
We expect the world community will not leave Pakistan alone in the midst but will be forthcoming and generous enough whilst making pledges at the donor conference as it is the matter of healing the wounds of those millions of people who faced the brunt of global carbon emissions.