ISLAMABAD: With the onset of the monsoon season, massive floods have engulfed major parts of the country. While taking a heavy toll on the lives of poor people dwelling in the densely populated rural areas, the onslaught of the floods, according to media reports, has also so far razed more than 2,700 settlements to the ground. In the process, roughly 0.7 million innocent people have been rendered homeless, and are passing sleepless nights under the open sky. The gallant officers of the Pakistan Army, NGOs, community-based organisations and government bodies like the National Disaster Management Authority and the various provincial disaster management authorities have all become active and are tirelessly involved in rescuing marooned and devastated people in flood-affected regions.
The Pakistan Army and the bodies referred to above are also engaged in providing necessary relief to the affected people. The prime minister, taking serious notice of the devastation, has announced massive financial support, running into billions, for relief and rehabilitation work. The efforts of the government, the Pakistan Army and NGOs, to deal with the situation and alleviate the suffering of the flood-affected, is worthy of appreciation.
What, however, is excruciatingly painful is the failure of those at the helm of affairs to find a permanent solution to this grave problem. Seasonal floods have become a regular feature in Pakistan. This devastating problem has grown out of controllable proportions over the past three decades. Nonchalant attitude towards the resolution of this gigantic and people-centred problem has made it grow over time and it has taken a heavy toll on the downtrodden millions of this country. The solution to this problem lies in building mega dams. This is the only way to survival. Building mega dams must be declared a national priority. Otherwise, Pakistan would confront severe water shortage. Construction of dams across the country would not only help resolve the recurring flood issue, but also help generate cheap hydroelectricity that is urgently needed to meet our electricity needs.
M Fazal Elahi
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2015.