Floods: lack of will
By: NISAR A. BROHI
Serious gaps have been observed in the emergency response by the government and non-governmental humanitarian agencies during the floods in the last two consecutive years, which are being also repeated this year.
There are reports that rainwater is still standing in most parts of northern districts of Sindh as well as Jaffarabad district of Balochistan, where a large community has already been trapped by the floods.
There are not enough relief services for all flood affected communities. Many of the people are still without rescue and relief support. No one has turned up to them and no serious efforts seem to be under way for dewatering the areas to help out the affected communities.
It is time to learn from past mistakes and gaps to prepare for effectively coping up with all kinds of disasters, current and impending. The district-based disaster warning and coping mechanism should be established all over Pakistan, especially disaster prone districts/areas in order to timely disseminate any possible information/warning and response to any possible disaster.
Comprehensive district contingency planning should be mapped out involving local community representatives and experts to meet any possible disaster in effective way. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and provincial disaster management authorities (PDMAs) should further strengthen their capacities and establish their fully-equipped offices in disaster prone areas in order to deal with any emergency situation on an urgent basis.
The NDMA and PDMAs should develop effective coordination with all national and international humanitarian agencies for quick humanitarian response in any disaster. An effective mechanism should be chalked out to stop unnecessary political interference, which has rather minimising the losses has further increased the woes of the disaster affected communities.
The departments concerned should be allowed to work independently under the supervision of respective PDMAs and district disaster controlling authorities. De-watering machines should be made available in all district headquarters, especially flood prone and vulnerable districts of the country for quick de-watering from flood affected areas to minimise the losses of lives and livelihood.