The floods of 2010 were the greatest natural disaster that Pakistan had to face in a hundred years or more. It was even a greater calamity or catastrophe (a very violent attack of nature in a series) than the Asian tsunamis (attacks of sea waves), the mighty storms in America and the earthquake here in 2005.
The floods began in July after the heavy monsoon rains in the – Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Sindh and lower Punjab. Around one-fifth of the total area of the country came under floodwaters. Twenty. million people became homeless. More than two thousand died. The affected people had to leave their homes to stay on high ground, natural shelters and hastily arranged camps. The monsoon heavy rains filled the waterways and rivers beyond their capacity. The melting of the glaciers on the mountains added to the quantity and force of the rainwater. Global warming was the basic cause of all this.
The floods resulted in the dislocation of huge populations, livestock losses (of cattle), damage to · the infrastructure (roads, railways, transport, telephone, electricity installations, etc.) and worsening of the economic situation. It will take months and years to repair or rebuild the damaged or destroyed · houses and buildings and to restore the fields. The affected farmers and laborers will have to be supported by government funds and aid during this time.
The condition of the flood-affected people is mostly hopeless. Nobody takes notice of their present uselessness, which is the result of their ignorance of English and practical skills of handling machines and procedures. They cannot work constructively in the country or abroad. An intelligent government can take steps right now to frame laws banning feudalism and changing the structure of the rural society on Chinese lines.
The funds and help the world has provided and local organizations have collected should be used honestly and exactly. But without a structural political, social and economic change on modern lines, there is not much hope of the birth of a newly prosperous and vibrant (vii brunt- energetic and active) society.
Lastly, it should be investigated why early-warning-flood systems were not installed or used by government officials. Why were many small dams (if not big) not constructed on the waterways and rivers to store floodwater? Why were river. embankments not properly raised even by putting the common people and villagers to work? If all this is done now, we can defend ourselves against future floods and can even use floodwaters profitably.