By Sardar Khan Niazi
Our dear homeland on average receives approximately 140 to 145-millimeter rainfall during monsoon season whereas the rainfall volume exceeding this number is termed above normal monsoon rainfall. These normal rainfalls are dangerous which create massive water volume in a very short time and cause urban flooding.
Reportedly, Pakistan will experience monsoon rains until at least August 2022, during which the rainfall will be above normal in Punjab and Sindh.
There is a forecast that Pakistan could experience a similar scale of floods that occurred in 2010 when one-fifth of the country was flooded. Timely directives were issued to provincial governments on waste collection, cleaning, and management of storm drains amid early warnings for flash floods across vulnerable locations.
Despite all the warnings rains have wreaked havoc in various parts of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, causing floods and roofs to collapse, damaging crops and properties, and leaving several people dead and injured.
Parallel situations have been reported in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, while floodwater of mountainous regions and pre-monsoon rains in Central and Northern Punjab created an emergency in Southern Punjab and Sindh.
Rains have submerged the whole country and caused billions of rupees loss to the national economy, destroyed costly infrastructure, caused heavy losses to public and private properties, and killed dozens of people in different parts of the country.
This did not happen for the first time, but a cycle begins each year when the federal and provincial governments allocate funds to disaster management authorities and local administrations to mitigate flood emergencies.
Each year floods occur and inflict huge losses to the public, government expands valuable reserves and after the flood gets over, the country hits acute water shortage and our farmers become helpless for the cultivation of crops due to unavailability of water.
This heartrending cycle has repeated itself continuously over the past seven decades but neither political leadership nor bureaucracy could devise a scheme to control floods and use rainwater for cultivation purposes instead of burning national resources in battling the destruction brought by the torrents.
Pakistan has witnessed floods each year after its existence; however, twenty floods were the most disastrous and put lasting effects on the country’s infrastructure and national economy. As said, an average inland flood cost an estimated loss of 1% of the annual GDP of the country.
Ostensibly, flood, water scarcity, and climate change have common reasons and solutions, therefore, government departments and ministries should work coordinately and must use their resources for forestalling the hazards instead of mitigating the aftershocks of the disasters.
A national strategy must be devised while considering long-term and short-term actions raging from district and city level safety measures including cementing of protective boundaries of rivers/canals, desilting and removal of encroachment on the edges of rivers and streams along with clearance of waterways
Building water storage and tree plantation are essential to achieve the goals of climate change, flood prevention, and water deficiency. However, all that was for pro-public governments, sincere bureaucrats, and local politicians who want to serve their nation instead of self-service and nepotism.
The regularity and intensity of hazards that develop into disasters have drastically increased over the years. This is the result of a rapidly growing population, urbanization, climate change, and poverty.
The Federal Flood Commission coordinates flood management at a national level. It provides technical and financial support to the provincial irrigation departments. The NDMA and PDMAs, which manage the whole Disaster Management Cycle, have relegated themselves only to the response and relief phase in the case of floods.
Regrettably, flood management, which requires clear decision-making on mitigation, preparedness, early warning, communication, and response, finds itself lost between different organizations of the center and provinces.