Heavy Downpours

The recent heavy rains in Gwadar and other parts of Balochistan have once again highlighted the vulnerability of the region to natural disasters, particularly urban flooding. A twelve-hour continuous rain spell soaked the coastal region and disconnected it from Karachi and other parts of the region. The flooding and destruction caused by the downpour underscore the urgent need for improved infrastructure and disaster preparedness measures in these areas. Gwadar is a strategically significant city and its cut-off from other areas owing to heavy rains represents a challenge that needs a sophisticated and sustainable plan to ensure that the port city never comes to a stand-still.

Flash floods are undoubtedly a real challenge for Pakistan. The destruction, loss of life, and trauma of the flooding in 2022, which affected areas in Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan, are still fresh in the collective experience of the people of Pakistan. Heavy, unexpected downpours have become a climate change adversity that we have to deal with, unfortunately. Amidst the reluctance of international donors and development bodies, Pakistan finds itself on its own.

The declaration of a state of emergency and the mobilisation of para-military forces for rescue and relief efforts in and around Gwadar was a crucial post-disaster mitigation plan. However, more long-term solutions, such as better drainage systems and infrastructure that can survive such calamities, are needed to prevent similar devastation in the future. In the long-term strategic assets of Pakistan, Gwadar Port stands out. To preserve this asset and to make sure that this international port remains functional no matter what, urban planning must be up to the mark.

Pakistan must step out of the damage control measures to measures that prevent damage when it comes to climate-induced natural disasters. The visuals from Gwadar serve to raise suspicions among the prime investors. Yes, we are on the receiving end of climate change. And so are many other countries and regions of the world. But the only way forward is to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt