Monsoon rains have wreaked havoc across the country. Flash flooding has been witnessed in the provinces of K-P, Sindh and Balochistan while major cities such as Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi were left paralysed due to severe urban flooding. Houses and hospitals were inundated with water while infrastructure was severely damaged — with broken roads and bridges — due to thundering downpours. Around 304 innocent lives have been lost, according to reports, while thousands of people were left stranded without food or shelter.
The situation forced the Army to step in and carry out relief operations in severely affected areas across Sindh and Balochistan. Their emergency response teams were seen dewatering affected localities and supplying basic food necessities along with medical supplies to citizens in need. Relief camps have also been set up while standby teams are stationed at various locations to assist people. This collaboration between the armed forces and the civil administration is a rare but commendable sight.
But waiting for destruction to escalate before the Army steps in to save the day is not the ultimate solution. With shifting weather patterns, monsoon spells will increase in intensity and frequency, causing widespread destruction and chaos. Therefore, we cannot solely rely on the Army alone to provide emergency relief. Local relief and rescue mechanisms must be strengthened and institutions must be equip with adequate resources along with manpower to cope with the increasing yearly threat. Local governments must also seriously consider restructuring drainage systems.
More importantly, concerned efforts must be made during the rest of the year to prepare for the monsoon season. This will require bringing climate change and disaster management experts onboard in order to chart out plans to fight climate change
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2022.
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