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Unfortunately, people of Pakistan are facing the exceptionally most difficult and crucial phase of their lives as the cannons of natural and man made disasters have shaken the whole nation economically, politically and psychologically.

First of all in the last month a deadlier incident took place when an unfortunate PIA flight crashed in the Margalla hills killing all 152 people including crew members. Then the riots erupted in Karachi claiming almost 100 lives along with a large number of injured.

The recent wave of devastation not only ruined the development activities going on but it also resulted in huge loss of life all around the country. The number of people affected from the massive floods in Pakistan could exceed the combined total in three recent mega disasters – the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake as reported by The United Nations Organization.

The death tool in each of those three disasters was much higher than the 1500 people killed so far in the floods that first hit Pakistan few weeks ago. But the Pakistani government estimates that over 13 million people have been affected – two million more than the other disasters combined.

   
 

The comparison helps understand the intensity of the crisis, which has overwhelmed the Pakistani government and has generated widespread anger and anguish from flood victims who have complained that aid is not reaching them quickly enough or at all.

Most of the people affected by the floods, which were caused by extremely heavy monsoon rains, were located in Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Thereafter, heavy rainfall along with flood played havoc in Punjab and Balochistan also leaving millions of people at the mercy of Government and aid from other non governmental organizations.

In order to take refuge thousands of flood-hit people have entered Balochistan from Sindh causing problems for the local administration that is already affected by the scarcity of resources in terms of finance and shelters.

It is learnt that a number of families had taken refuge at Dera Allahyar bypass and on the banks of Pat Feeder and other small canals.

   
 

A large number of trucks, tractor trolleys and other vehicles were seen moving towards Sibi and Quetta.

The families entering from Sindh have yet to get food and other aid from the administration, but local people were providing them with food and other help.

Now this devastating water flow has entered into the province of Sindh where provincial and district authorities are trying hard to lessen the affects where there is any danger of disaster. But sources said that the measures taken in this regard are completely cosmetic in nature and in these circumstances it is very difficult to avoid any big damage.

Expectedly the Indus River flows at Guddu and Sukkur barrages surpassed all previous records as ‘exceptionally high floods’ crossed the barrage capacity at Sukkur and remained a little short of designed facility at Guddu, with increasing water level.

The Sukkur Barrage was originally designed by the Britishers to pass 1.5 million cusecs of flood water but its design was later reduced by closing down some of its gates for some technical reasons.The original capacity of Sukkur barrage at present is 900,000 cusecs but recently it received 1.13 million cusecs. An expert said the designed capacity of Guddu barrage was 1.2 million cusecs which had been reduced by silting any yet it received 1.149 million cusecs.

The Federal Flood Commission informed that the Indus was still flowing in exceptionally high flood with rising trend in Guddu-Sukkur reach and in very high flood with rising trend at Chashma. The flood bunds like Tori along the right bank and Qadirpur Loop bund along the left bank of Indus downstream of Guddu Barrage had breached, causing damage to crops and property.

The worst floods in Pakistan’s history hit the country at a time when the government is fighting with a faltering economy and a brutal war against Taliban by putting increased burden on the exchequer. Fortunately the US and other international partners have offered help to support the government by donating tens of millions of dollars and providing relief supplies and assistance which is given below as stated by the officials of National Disaster Management Authority.

In the light of the situation prevalent around us, it is evident that the government was yet to maintain the standards of Disaster Management which has now been developed as a science and we as a nation are far more behind the measures of pre, during and post disasters due to budgetary constraints, lack of technical knowledge and dedication.

The recent floods in Pakistan are natural and due to the environmental changes taking place formidably all around the globe. The ongoing disastrous situation has created an urgent need of taking immediate and long-lasting mitigation measures to avoid future economic impacts and loss of life and property. Disaster mitigation refers to measures which can be taken to minimize the destructive and disruptive effects of hazards, and thus lessen the magnitude of a disaster. Mitigation is an activity that can take place at any time: before, during, or after a disaster.

Mitigation measures can range from physical measures such as flood defenses, safe building designs and establishment and maintenance of storm and wastewater drains to legislation, training and public awareness. There is also a dire need of capacity building on war footing basis for those engaged in the activity of disaster management.

Floods and Waterborne Diseases

According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), at least three million people (more than one third of them children) have been affected by the monsoonal rains and floods in Pakistan.

United Nations humanitarian agencies warned of the possibility of waterborne disease outbreaks emerging in north-western Pakistan, where an estimated 2000 people have already died in the region’s worst flooding in living memory and more heavy rains are forecast. The agencies are stepping up their relief efforts as thousands of people remain trapped by flood waters, awaiting rescue and evacuation by boat or helicopter. Food, clean drinking water, tents and medical services are among the priorities for survivors.

Supporting Pakistani Government relief efforts, the World Health Organization (WHO) is dispatching medicine and other health supplies capable of treating more than 200,000 people to affected areas. The Pakistan Red Crescent & International Red Cross are also distributing aid and evaluating further needs in areas isolated by washed-out bridges and roads.

WHO pointed to the control of waterborne diseases, such as diarrhea and respiratory infections, as well as treating the injured, ensuring the quality of drinking water and enhancing public access to health facilities as the main health concerns at present. One third of Pakistan’s 135 districts have been impacted by the flooding.

The distribution of relief is severely constrained by damaged infrastructure and the widespread contamination of water supplies has the potential to create major health problems. Patients with stomach problems from dirty water are being treated in government medical camps. Though officials have yet to receive concrete reports of cholera cases fear of an outbreak is high.


 
 
 
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