The devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan is now final­ly receiving due attention from the international community. The Pakistan government’s call for assistance in flood relief, after identifying that developed countries, having contributed most to climate change, also have a responsibility for the floods, has been met with millions of dollars in donations.

This time now is instrumental, as it is up to the government now to ensure that the millions donated are utilised efficiently and in a way to prevent further damage to the communities affected. Federal Secretary for Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Syed Za­far Ali Shah has said that his ministry is preparing a reassessment plan of Rs 1 trillion for flood-hit areas. The majority of the funds are being directed to infrastructure development- a total of 197.265 km length of highway/motorway across Pakistan has been affected due to mas­sive floods. A total of 92.63 km of road network in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 54.25 km in Balochistan, 36.285 km in Sindh, and 14.1 km roads in Punjab have been affected. The reassessment plan will also focus on the construction of dams, railway infrastructure, and rebuilding of houses- all spheres which have been badly affected by the floods.

This is a good strategy- focusing on rebuilding roads and railway infrastructure is prudent as these are important connection points, and construction of these will aid the more immediate relief devel­opments. Even if roads and railways do not become a way for affect­ed communities to communicate, repair of the same shall at least speed up the transport of relief goods and medicines, as there are currently several reports of relief packages not being able to reach certain areas due to issues of accessibility.

While this emphasis on roads and railways is necessary, it is also im­perative that health infrastructure is prioritised. One of the most com­mon devastation caused by floods is felt after the floods have subsided- and that is the spread of diseases that fester through still water. There is an increased risk of the development and spread of water-borne vi­ruses like typhoid and polio, as well as dengue; and the priority should not only be relief but also prevention of further deterioration.