Rain in the scorching months of June-August is nothing short of a blessing for middle class families who cannot afford to keep their ACs running round the clock. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief when dark clouds fill up the sky, and start to pour. From getting wet in the rain, to frying pakoras, and making tea, rain puts a smile on everyone’s faces.
But rain is a puzzling event for Pakistan. Lack of proper infrastructure turns this blessing into a test. Flooding during the monsoon is not new. Every year, people living in katchi abadis, and less developed areas have witnessed the wrath of mother nature. Our politicians usually sweep the complexity and wreckage caused by floods under the rugs, and refer to it as a natural disaster.
But for Pakistan, rain is a puzzling situation. Politicians deal with the crisis by constituting a committee, distributing money among the affected, and move on. This callous attitude has wreaked havoc on the poor, and the rich, and due to the increasing global climate, these floods are only going to worsen. While the political elite was busy in by-election and tug of war for power, corpses of children were being exhumed from areas demolished by the flood in Balochistan. About 130 people have lost their lives to the torrential rains in Balochistan, two girls in Punjab died when the roof of their house collapsed due to heavy rains, 27 bodies have been found in Sindh, and the property damage is unfathomable. Heavy rains in KP have inundated low-lying areas, causing damage to houses, commercial areas and public property.
After receiving massive backlash, PM Shehbaz Sharif constituted a committee to assess the damage wrought by the rain, and visited the affected places. But is that enough? Visiting places, and offering funds to the people agonised by rainfall is an interim solution. The rainfall and monsoon does not appear unannounced. Pakistan, like its neighbour, India receives heavy monsoon rain annually. Discrediting the event as a calamity only shows the lack of interest in the wellbeing of the people, and the development of this country. In a country that is at the brink of becoming water scarce, the heavy flood and rain water is worth in gold. Not only this, constructing dams along the paths of flood flow can help us escape the energy crisis.
Heavy floods are spreading countrywide. It is no longer a predicament for the people living in villages. Sector E/11 in Islamabad, and DHA and Bahria Town in Karachi, is a wakeup call for the entire population, especially the government. This continual misery is a result of political crisis, lack of political will, and our own unhinged approach towards such events.
by Amna Sheikh