PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said infrastructure repair and reconstruction following the devastating floods in the country is a humongous challenge that requires excellent planning and resources.
Chairing a meeting of the Federal Cabinet, he said that Sindh needed a revamped drainage system and announced that the government would start work on it soon.
Fuller details are not yet available but media reports from across the country speak of large-scale damage to and destruction of roads, highways, bridges, gas and electricity networks, water reservoirs as well as telecommunication system.
It would, indeed, be a gigantic task requiring both short and long term planning on the part of the authorities concerned not just to restore the infrastructure but rehabilitate it in a better shape.
The way many roads, highways and bridges were wiped out is a testimony to the oft-repeated allegations that required standards are not ensured during construction stage due to corrupt practices, similarly, a comprehensive and minute study needs to be undertaken to find out the reasons for large-scale human and material losses and how it could be averted in future.
This is important as scientists are warning that Pakistan would continue to suffer due to effects of global warming.
There are also reasons to believe that most of the human losses and damage to the houses was avoidable if timely measures were taken to deal with the problem of encroachments around river courses and flood-prone areas.
There are civic agencies to regulate existing and new construction but they generally close their eyes to illegal construction and unplanned mushroom growth of housing societies.
Action should also be taken against all societies which failed to ensure proper drainage and they should be given a timeframe to do so to minimize losses in future.
Going by the fact that the Punjab Government could not implement plans to avoid losses caused every year due to flooding in Nullah Leh during the last over seven decades, there is little hope that any worthwhile plan would be devised on regional or national level to deal with the issue of urban flooding in a scientific manner but the country and its people would continue to suffer if proper planning and implementation for flood mitigation measures was not ensured.