“Right now, Indus River is in high flood,” according to Aziz Soomro, the supervisor of the barrage that regulates the Indus river’s flow near Sukkur. It seems Sindh is bracing for more devastation.
The annual monsoon is essential for irrigating crops and replenishing lakes and dams across Sindh but the rainy season also brings with it death and destruction. Due to the destruction wreaked by flash floods in interior parts of Sindh, there is acute shortage of fruits and vegetables in Karachi, the largest city of the country as well as Sindh’s. The prices of onion and tomato, for example, are skyrocketing due to growing scarcity of these items. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a brewing health crisis in Sindh.
Nevertheless, it’s heartening to note that Pakistan People’s Party chairman and foreign minister of Pakistan Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari has brought a wrecked Sindh into the global focus in an effective and meaningful manner. Explaining to the representatives of donor agencies and foreign diplomats the plight of the people of Sindh who have been devastated by the flash floods havoc triggered by torrential rains, Bilawal has urged the world community to come forward immediately.
It is quite understandable that the plight of people affected by floods is profoundly profound. The losses inflicted on them by the protracted spells of rains that caused flash floods are unimaginable. They have lost their family members and friends, livestock, and standing crops in the current deluge. Although the provincial government, which luckily enjoys the full support of the incumbent federal government, is finding it extremely difficult to lend a helping hand to the flood-hit people in an effective manner due to a variety of factors, including unprecedented enormity of the challenge facing the province and its people.
Although the federal government has announced a Rs 15 billion grant, the losses in Sindh run into billions of dollars. That the relief efforts are hamstrung by resource constraints is also a fact. It is, however, heartening to note that the military and paramilitary troops, a very large number of NGOs, and individuals are working in tandem with the provincial government to help out the flood-affected people. The residents of Karachi, the capital of Sindh, appear to have come forward in a big way insofar as collection and dispatch of relief aid is concerned.
The city has been witnessing the presence of a very large number of relief aid camps dotted around big and small thoroughfares, streets, lanes, and by-lanes of this city of teeming millions. That hundreds of relief aid-laden trucks forming long queues on Super Highway and National Highway as these vehicles leave Karachi for interior Sindh on a daily basis is a fact. In recent days, Karachi has seen the arrival of thousands of people who have been displaced by floods in various districts of Sindh. A large number of them have found shelter in government schools in different Karachi neighborhoods. Many have erected tents on open spaces as well. They must be helped by us in every possible way.
Be that as it may, the situation offers a clear answer to the question why floods in Sindh are so devastating. Climate change can be described as the prime reason but the vulnerabilities of people of this province such as poverty and backwardness are not less important factors.