Lack of preparedness


Kazim Laghari
The effects of climate change have largely become unstoppable. Though developed and developing countries have vowed to clamp down on green gas emissions, the practicable measures have still not been meted out completely. Subsequently, Pakistan has been affected badly by climate change’s effects, as last year’s torrential monsoon spells and rampaging floods have caused dozens of populations dislocated and most of the infrastructure of the country severely damaged including roads, railways tracks, and barrages.
As Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif stated at the Geneva conference that the catastrophic floods and torrential monsoon spells have caused unprecedented devastation, affecting 33 million people immediately, and more than 800km of roads and 3,100 km of railway tracks have been destroyed badly.
Notwithstanding, such a big loss to the country both the federal and provincial governments have allegedly not taken safety measures against containing the coming monsoon season. The time flew unnoticing manner, the sword of the monsoon spell and flooding season has hinged on the country not far from two months.
Unfortunately, flood-affected people have still not been rehabilitated fully, some flood-affected are reportedly living on the sides of national highways and embankments because their houses and surroundings are yet inundated by flood water. The authorities have not paid heed to them for restoring their life and receding the stagnant and polluted flood water.
In spite of being affected widely and severely, the Sindh province specifically is reportedly not yet taken serious actions for rehabilitating the flood-prone. There are some reports that some areas of Sindh province especially the rural areas where people were residing peacefully before the floods have been drowned manipulated actions for saving the fields of influentials, though the canals and tributaries had created in the map which was designed in the British rule. In the case of flooding, they had designed particular areas in the map where the water can be stored or drained. But with the passage of time and the ineptitude of the government, these areas have been forcefully occupied by the locals and influentials. They have created their own embankments illegally and without permission.
Moreover, in certain areas, the government’s designed embankments which are under the supervision of the provincial Irrigation Department have been destroyed completely and cultivated for the crops. And the Irrigation department is not taking any legal action against those culprits who have demolished the government’s embankments. Further, alleged reports of corruption have been heard in such illegal demolishing of the embankments, the reports added that the irrigation department’s officials are involved in such illegal demolishing of the embankments.
Given such an ineptitude scenario of the official department, things do not come over there, the woods are also destroyed in the areas of the Indus river illegally with the involvement of the forest department’s officials. The loggers are cutting trees inthe light of day but no one is asking them for this illegal action from the department. Such deforestation is also one of the big causes of climate change and floods.
Fortunately, the country is enjoying the blessing season of spring. In this timely opportunity, the governments should come forward and avail of the opportunity and start the plantation drives enthusiastically. The plantation drives should not only be encouraged but the drive strictly is implemented accordingly. As in this worst climate-hit situation, the trees will play a fortification role for our land and can save us from climate change-inducedstorms. The forest also must be taken care of unreservedly by the official departments. These forests have inestimable value for the lives to survive in this climate change monster’s era.
Taking these illegal activities and lack of preparedness for the imminent storm of the monsoon season, both the federal and provincial governments must wake up from RIP Van Winkle. The country’s ailing economy cannot afford one more storm of catastrophic floods again. The National Disaster Management Authority and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority must be taken on board and the rehabilitation work should be started ata quick pace those who are still residing out of their homes due to stagnant flood water, they must be brought back to their homes safely. And last but not least the government must draw a resilience policy for the storming season by putting the climate change saga in the mind.
The writer is a freelance columnist and can be reached at [email protected]