Torrential rains and flash inundations are continuously ravaging several parts of Balochistan.
Officials have put the death toll across Balochistan at 205 after floodwaters swept away five people in Pishin district. The body of a five year old girl was also recovered from Syed Hameed River. The railway track that connects Balochistan with other provinces has also fallen victim to the monsoon rain and submerged causing suspension of train services and disconnecting the region from the rest of the country.
“Around 5km of the main railway line is still under water,” a senior official of the local administration reported, adding that the road traffic was facing the same situation.
The erratic rains and the damage caused by them is just a glimpse of the repercussions of climate change and what it holds for us in the future. Balochistan is primarily a dry region, with arid land. It is met with extremes of climate change: droughts, water scarcity, and heavy rainfalls with massive flooding.
This year’s monsoon rain has broken a 30-year record, turning everyday life of the Baloch people into a complete nightmare. The devastation caused by the rain fall is seen in the submerged villages, train tracks and the political aloofness in the region.
The PM visited the region, once, and he did seem to show care for the people who were in the affectees’ camps. He even suspended the district coordination officer and called for an immediate supply of food and rations.
Meanwhile, the Balochistan government has asked the centre to provide PKR 60 bn package for repair of infrastructure and rehabilitation of flood-hit families. But this is a temporary solution. We need to assess the disaster and work towards containing the damage. Most dams in Balochistan are ill designed and poorly constructed. Small dams and reservoirs broke after their maximum capacity was filled. The severity of the situation can be mitigated through proper weather friendly infrastructure.
by Amna Sheikh