IRSHAD SALIM (Updated) — The OCHA Humanitarian Advisory Team (HAT) in Pakistan has published its latest situation report (SitRep). It covers the period from 13 to 26 August 2022.
Sixty-six districts have been officially declared to be ‘calamity hit’ by the Government of Pakistan, says the report – 31 in Balochistan, 23 in Sindh, nine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and three in Punjab.
“Most misgoverned parts of Pakistan are worst hit. Is it a coincidence?,” an analyst says, when DesPardes requested him for his comments.
“It is not a coincidence,” analyst Amb. G R Baloch, who is also an academic said. “The flood damages are the cumulative outcome of bad Governance, lack of planning, and mega corruption”. According to him, nature is always kind to its creatures specially humans; “alas we bring ruin to ourselves with bad deeds.”
According to Hasham sahib who has decades of experience as a senior naval officer, and has been observing the bureaucracy closely as a CEO of a foundation after retirement, “One thing obvious is that the state structures which should proactively ought to handle are sadly missing from the scene. The lack of coordination and leadership are also obvious. Disaster management is a science and we still continue to handle in archaic ways. Lastly, the body politics is at its lowest ebb. Public anger is at the highest levels.”
Baloch sahib plans to take the floods matter up the ladder. “I am proposing a high level inquiry commission to inquire into these factors and come up with National Policy on DRR by mainstreaming it in our entire Governance Structure at all tiers.”
According to a political activist, “all rivers flow this way, that’s why…and dams built during God’s era have all broken down.”
In his view, “all flood water destroying all provinces are flowing from KP.” He alludes to the Kabul river overflow, when asked to comment why the two provinces, Balochistan and Sindh are the worst hit.
All said and done. water resources management is not up to the mark, says a professional based in Karachi. He agrees that misgovernance and corruption over the decades have come to the forefront among all the issues behind the lack of managing floods, despite several reports suggesting that Pakistan is in the frontline of Climate Change.
“During the last 40 years, no dams, or check dams, nor retention basins or detention basins, etc. were built for the mega management of surface water resources. The focus has been, and continues to be on importing petroleum and not harnessing hydro resources,” the professional adds.
“And, last but not the least is our culture of taking chances even at the cost of lives. Being safety conscious does not occur to us,” Hasham sahib says.
Rainfall, nationwide, the sitrep says, is 2.87 times higher than the national 30-year average, with some provinces receiving more than five times as much rainfall as their 30-year average.
“The situation remains dynamic, and many more districts have been affected; “the number of calamity-declared districts is expected to rise as rains continue to fall.”
According to the report, “humanitarian situation is expected to worsen as communities and infrastructure are increasingly unable to cope with ongoing heavy rainfall.” Download the SitRep here >
OPPORTUNITIES in CRISIS
ENGR. MASOOD SHAIKH (Tehran-based, of Pakistan origin) shares his views with DesPardes, “There are 3 remedies/solutions to a flood: Either direct it to beneath the earth water reservoirs, or direct it to man-made dams. Many many small dams can be and should be constructed. Thirdly, direct it to the sea via pre-constructed conduits. Each and every drop of rain water is like pure gold. We must conserve it drop by drop. Otherwise we have to pay the price through unwanted calamities. WATER is LIFE. If we do not harness it, water is death.”
Honorary contributors to DesPardes: Ajaz Ahmed, Ammar Jafri, Anwar Abbas, Arif Mirza, Aziz Ahmed, Bawar Tawfik, Dr. Razzak Ladha, G. R. Baloch, Jamil Usman, Jawed Ahmed, Ishaq Saqi, Khalid Sharif, Masroor Ali, Md. Ahmed, Md. Najibullah, Shahbaz Ali, Shahid Nayeem, Syed Hamza Gilani