As the flood waters began to recede in various flooded areas across Pakistan, the country is preparing for line of secondary disasters that experts warn could be “more catastrophic and protracted.
From disease outbreaks to severely damaged infrastructure and looming threat of food security, the nuclear nation of South Asia is racing against time to mitigate the aftershocks of devastating floods expected to affect millions for for a long time.
Since mid-June, destructive rains — 10 times heavier than usual, and violent floods claimed the lives of almost 1,400 people. people and wounded over 12,000 others besides flushing hundreds of thousands of houses, bridges, roads and buildings throughout the country, which already struggle with political and economic upheavals.
Over 33 million of about 220 million in the country. population hit by raging floods, resulting in staggering losses of about 10 billion dollars in damage already weakened infrastructure.
Read more: Pakistan hardest hit country despite minimal contribution to climate change: UN chief
rain season in Pakistan, like in Another countries in in the region usually results in heavy rains, but year was the rainiest since 1961.
Heavy rains and melting glaciers followed by raging floods one-third of country.
hundreds of thousands of displaced people are also a business with outbreaks of skin and eye diseases transmitted through water, with health experts warning of a higher amount of deaths from diarrhea, typhoid fever, malaria, dengue fever, gastrointestinal and other infections than from rains and floods.
The next two months are “decisive”
Food safety, repair of infrastructure and reconstruction of houses are basic challenges for cash- tethered Islamabad in short termexperts and government officials think.
In their opinion, government is facing three main challenges meet in in next two months; to save the upcoming winter season, repair dilapidated roads and highways, provide of shelter for hundreds of thousands of flood victims who will begin return to hometowns in days ahead.
UN and Islamabad made joint appeal for $160 million in international to help last week as raging floods still pose a threat to at least five densely populated areas. of southern province of Sindh.
In interaction with Anadolu Agency, Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah says hidden food shortages are urgent challenge the country must cope.
The upcoming winter season, he said, is crucial. for food security of the country.
Almost 45% of country’s arable land already were inundated by floods, which poses a serious threat to food security and further increases already rampant inflation.
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“The upcoming rabi (winter) harvest season will be the biggest challenge for us how the farmers lost everything. We plan give they are relieved in terms of fertilizers, seeds and cashShah assured.
For this watering system also needs to be restored added.
“It will be a serious threat to the food security of the country if we cannot ensure winter, he warned.
More than 300,000 adobe houses in rural Sindh have been completely destroyed. destroyed massive floods added.
“No, it’s not like that possible to rebuild all of these houses at once, but we must provide a permanent home flood victims, especially farmers who will return to their homes and land in coming days.”
To ensure transport return of displaced people and construction and others materials, scores of destroyed roads and highways need be repaired to the extent that at least vehicles you can weave,” he said.
“Is not like going for a walk in a park. we are racing against watch because it all has to be done in in next two months,” he explained.
Sindh alone needs at least 500 billion rupees (roughly $2.23 billion) to meet these immediate needs. challenges according to Shah.
Reduction growth rate
Pakistan emits less than 1% of greenhouse gases, but this is at the forefront of human-caused climate crisis.
Khakan Najib, Islamabad-based economist and former ministry adviser of Finance, said repair and renovation cost Good over 10 billion dollars.
Najib said that in addition to causing heavy casualties and damage Anadolu Agency that floods also forced the country to reduce growth forecast for this fiscal year to 2.3% from 5%.
In addition, he said that damage to cotton and rice harvest may reduce exports, previously valued at about $36 billion, are putting pressure on on in current account deficit up to rise higher than previous estimates of $9.3 billion for fiscal year 2023.
Hard tasks forthcoming
Dr. Tabassum Jafri, official with Alkhidmat Foundation, a non-governmental relief organization that participated in rescue work in all four provinces, counts casualties and government are in for “tougher” tasks.
‘While help and salvation of hundreds of thousands of people was a difficult task, challenge ahead of rehabilitation of such a huge displaced population it’s far away tougher” Jafri said. Anadolu Agency.
He referred to the 2005 earthquake. in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which killed over 80 000 people said so took years for displaced people relocate.
“Combined Resources of in government as well as private aid organizations are not enough to cope with rehabilitation challengehe remarked, and added: “They will soon be exhausted, given the colossal nature of disaster”.
Jafri noted that his organization, which one of the country’s largest non-governmental aid organizations, set reserve funds for house reconstruction, as well as the provision of livestock and other income resources for flood victims.
“This is a huge task. Even government and non-governmental organizations together cannot handle this,” he said, urging international community to join hands to deal with challenge.
Moreover, he added what a huge number of people may suffer for “longer period” from complications of illnesses and infections transmitted as result of “extremely” impure environment.