The pictures and videos of many dead bodies of infants floating in flood water, dead bodies of women stuck in the mud, and hundreds of thousands of people stuck in the running torrent of water without shelter, food, water, and emergency medicines, have been very disturbing. In Balochistan and Southern Punjab, in most cases, entire cities have drowned, and the people have nowhere to go. More than a hundred thousand people are still at the mercy of an unexceptional rain spell that wreaked havoc in Pakistan.

We have observed climate change become a great threat to the communities of Pakistan. Although we have contributed very little in terms of pollution generation, we are paying a great price in terms of lives, property, infrastructure, and psychological loss. The world should realise this and compensate us for the loss of life and property we are facing due to uncontrolled pollution in the past few decades by the developed world. It has been estimated that about one million people are affected just because of floods annually, which causes the loss of over $2.7 billion dollars.

Every year we face floods and other natural disasters but unfortunately, we never learn to control and manage these catastrophes. For decades, we have debated about larger dams but failed to build smaller dams and water reservoirs, especially in Balochistan which is the most neglected province of Pakistan. Protecting forests can also reduce the risk of floods. We need to learn from China and the rest of the world, the Yangtze River which is double in length as the Indus River, has been protected by building dikes and dams along the riverside.

Additionally, we cannot shut our eyes to the criminal negligence of politicians, government policymakers, and the institutions that are responsible to implement laws and regulations. There is a lack of coordination and irresponsible behaviour among various departments has caused many issues. An expert report submitted to the ministry of climate change has indicated that the local population has encroached on large areas of approximately 50 percent of the Indus flood plans. These encroachments have been made with the encouragement of local politicians.

It is a matter of great urgency that not only the government and people should contribute but international organisations such as the World Food Programme should provide relief assistance in terms of financial as well as food, shelter, and medicines. More than a hundred thousand acres of cultivated crops have been washed away, and most of the food storage in every district is badly affected or completely lost due to the floods. New food insecurity and price hikes are waiting for us. Lack of access to drinkable water, poor sanitary conditions, and a lack of waste disposal ultimately resulted in the spreading of bacteria and will open another door toward serious health risks for the general population. Respiratory infections and gastrointestinal infections are some of the main reasons behind the diseases and death of people who are displaced due to floods. Viral infections are also considered a major outcome of flood-related diseases even during and after the weeks of flood which results in yellow fever, hepatitis A and E, dengue fever, diarrheal diseases, etc., so it will add more risk to the lives who are already under the very miserable condition

The people of Balochistan, Southern Punjab, and Sindh are equal citizens of this country as others are, move forward from paper promises and do something real for them before it’s too late.

Fayyaz Salih Hussain

The writer is a PhD scholar at the University

of Sindh.

He tweets

@Fayyaz

SHussain.