The government has sought help of international community for the rehabilitation of people displaced by floods but critics are of the view that floods happened due to sheer negligence which converted a natural calamity into a man-made disaster.
“The 2014 floods are classical example of bad government response which converted a natural disaster into a man-made one,” said Halim Adil Sheikh, chairman Pakistan Relief Foundation (PRF).
Talking to The Express Tribune, Sheikh, who had also served as minister for relief for Sindh, underlined the need for a national climate change policy while lamenting that the incumbent government had converted the Climate change ministry into a division.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had made the appeal for rehabilitation of around 1million people affected by floods and military operation in North Wazirstan at a donors’ conference attended by representatives of foreign diplomatic missions, aid agencies, development partners and United Nations agencies.
Citing the reports, Sheikh said Pakistan would be facing similar floods due to global warming and changes in climate till 2022 therefore there was dire need of a consolidated policy.
Responding to a question about the role of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Sheikh said “NDMA had restricted itself to merely becoming a supply depot”. The coordination with provincial authorities and planning on its part was simply missing, he added.
Talking about the recent floods, he said that government has failed in all five stages that include prevention [no policy in sight], rescue [done by army], relief, recover and rehabilitation.
He said that the government’s response to floods in 2014 is compromised and it was also reported in national media that the response was just shown in papers and no catalyst act was seen.
According to the NDMA’s latest report, the death toll has reached 367, whereas 673 were injured, approximately 107,102 houses were damaged, 4,065 villages affected, 9722 heads of cattle perished and 2.53 million people have been affected by the recent floods.
Sheikh said that resources should have been allocated to mitigate the disaster, however, even after the huge cries of affected people, government is unable to justify whether the response was real or fake game played to become a lead in national media.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2014.