The images of toddlers sinking in flood, dozens of dead bodies in the mud, and thousands of people stuck in the flood with no land to stand on, shelter to cover, food to eat, and water to drink, have paved the way to arise many hard questions regarding the seriousness of political leadership and those who are really in power to govern the country.

Apparently, there is an alliance of all major parties in the federal government in the form of PDM, and whenever these elite political parties need seats in the senate or in National Assembly to form or derail the sitting government, this political class always uses Balochistan’s and Southern Punjab elected members for their purpose and in returns they got huge amount white bribe in term of developmental funds which are never used for the development of common people. People of such areas are living a very miserable life. History will never forgive you when it writes about the misery of common people, especially during natural calamities, people are drowning and dying, they are losing their homes, agriculture, and livestock, and the state and its whole machinery were busy saving their dynasty in Lahore by allegedly using billions of rupees.

It is a matter of shame for the ruling class despite heavy flood warnings from the metrological department, they have done nothing to ensure the life of underdeveloped areas of Pakistan. Is there any other poor Pakistan within Pakistan? According to reports, more than a hundred people died and a similar number are injured whereas thousands have been displaced due to flash floods and torrential rains. A hundred thousand livestock and houses have completely vanished. Flash floods have damaged many connected bridges and about 220 roads are completely damaged. According to the Met Office, monsoon rainfall will continue, and more floods are expected. It is said that every calamity has come to end so this will end but many other calamities will be borne from this. In the aftermath of the flood are diseases that can take the life of large numbers, especially in areas like Balochistan where health facilities are not sufficient.

One of the main reasons behind these heavy monsoons which are 75% more than seasonal is because of climatic change that we are facing nowadays. Pakistan is home to a variety of geographical landscapes which are prone to face different types of climatic change challenges and impacts. Pakistan ranked 5th among those countries that are the most affected due to extreme weather events in the past few decades. Extreme heatwaves during past days rank Pakistan as the most vulnerable country on Global Climate Risk Index. It is estimated that Pakistan has lost $4 billion and more than 10,000 lives due to direct environmental change in the last decade.

No doubt climate is continuously playing its part, the pattern of monsoon has shifted to heavy rainfall within a very short period. Which leads to urban flooding in big cities. Unlike the other areas of Pakistan, Balochistan is the most affected and deprived province in terms of climatic change. Balochistan experiences more extreme weather conditions both in terms of economic losses as well as fatalities. Increased intensity and frequency of events including extreme droughts, erratic monsoon, flash floods, high temperature, and extreme heat waves in the semi-arid and arid region of Balochistan reduced its agricultural production and livestock. Despite higher production capacity and fertile land, a larger portion of land cannot be cultivated due to water scarcity. The agricultural land of Balochistan is more fertile than the land in Sindh in terms of production, the only problem is the availability of water and the lack of an efficient canal system in Balochistan. During the Ayoub khan regime, agriculture was boosted with large irrigation systems and dams but Baluchistan was ignored despite more cultivated land and deprived people, the fruit of the green revolution of the Ayub Khan regime was never ripped by the Baloch people.

The people of Balochistan are the most ignored people of Pakistan in every walk of life. Balochistan grabs attention only when the ruling elite class of the country or the feudal class needs them for their own interest. Due to a lack of interest in the local population, the poverty rate raised more than 47%, and this deadly flood will add more numbers to it. We are very much interested in 44% of country land, 750 km of coastal line, Gwadar port, minerals, Reko Diq, hydrocarbon deposits, and the CPEC but whenever the deprived people are not politically beneficial to our powerful circles, they are left helpless.

Balochistan, the resource-rich province of Pakistan, and Southern Punjab need emergency relief operations followed by a sufficient package in order to save the life of thousands of people. The people of Balochistan and southern Punjab need two-fold solutions, for instance, they need emergency rescue operations from government and international donor agencies. People need to move forward like in the 2010 heavy flood by donating tents, medicines, blankets, and eatables in order to rehabilitate the people.

In the long term, these floods and droughts will happen frequently according to projected climatic conditions faced by the country. By 2060, the temperature will be increased up to 1.4°–3.7°C, which will lead to uncertain precipitation ranging from a decrease by 20% to an increase by more than 40%, which indicates the extreme weather output in terms of drought as well as heavy rainfall and flood, so adopting reconstruction and recovery strategy should be followed by government and donor agencies to intensify development work.

Dams are useful in order to store the excess amount of water every year due to rain this water can be utilized during drought seasons. NDMA should focus on precautionary measures rather than relief work after every calamity which leads to the loss of hundreds of innocent lives and the loss of billions of rupees. Every calamity exposed bad, ill-prepared infrastructure, and the incapability of disaster management authorities.

FAYYAZ SALIH HUSSAIN,

Karachi.