ALLUDING to the devastation wreaked by unprecedented flooding across the country, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif whilst addressing a ceremony at Dera Ismail Khan on Wednesday very rightly emphasized the need for putting in place a sustainable system to cope with the challenge of climate change – something which will require a serious and concerted effort on the part of government and also funds from international community.
This is an acknowledged fact that Pakistan is amongst the most vulnerable countries to climate change and the recent catastrophe has reinforced the need to review our strategy to deal with this challenge often described bigger than the issue of terrorism, in an effective manner to avert both human and material losses in future.
This year, for the first time, we saw a multitude of floods taking place concurrently and simultaneously, reinforcing and overlapping with each other, urban flooding in Karachi, torrential rains in Balochistan and Sindh, glacial outbursts in the north, cloudbursts along the Kabul River and Nowshera.
If we compare the current floods to those of 2010, we have had four times more land inundated.
Experts believe that the recent flooding is just the beginning for Pakistan and the country will continue to face extreme weather and climate change-related disasters in the future.
Whilst nothing was done in the past to cope with the situation, implementation of a holistic and multi-pronged strategy is need of the hour to save the country from future devastation.
Focus on risk reduction and resilient infrastructure development is crucial in this regard.
Investment in improved data modeling is also key alongside promoting and training and next generation of climate scientists and urban planners.
Had we only built big dams, we would not have been faced with the situation confronted by the country today.
On the one hand, the floodwaters cause ravage whilst on the other hand our country is also faced with the issue of water scarcity.
Whilst international community is helping Pakistan in relief efforts, it should also collaborate and invest in systems that enhance our preparedness and resilience against disasters.
The Paris Agreement does say that the developed world should finance the developing world.
Pakistan should receive more funding since we are vulnerable in a way that the Global North is not.
Those responsible for climate change should take financial responsibility this time. It is also for our government to raise the matter more forcefully with the world community.