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Saturday, September 30, 2023
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EditorialAre we ready for monsoon season?

Are we ready for monsoon season?

Climate change is at it again. Unusual weather has become a norm in Pakistan, which is among those countries that are at the mercy of climate change.  The devastation caused by Saturday’s downpour has brought back dreaded memories of last year’s floods and destruction during the monsoon season. The strong winds and thunderstorm that hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially the districts of Bannu, Karak and Lakki Marwat claimed the lives of at least 27 people and left more than 140 injured.

According to the breakdown, 15 deaths were reported in Bannu, five each in Lakki Marwat and Karak and two died in Dera Ismail Khan. Roofs of houses collapsed, walls came tumbling down and trees were uprooted due to the strong winds. Power supply was also disconnected in the affected areas as solar panels, on which the people of the area depended due to extensive power disruption, were blown away from the roofs of houses and government offices.

This is not even pre-monsoon. Just a few hours of rain has left a trail of destruction.

As per the information obtained from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, around 69 homes were damaged in Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Karak. In Bannu, people were buried alive after the roofs and walls of their houses collapsed due to the gusty winds and rain.

Same was the case in Lakki Marwat. Livestock as well as public and private properties were also damaged in the rainstorm. Rescue and civil defence teams were dispatched to the affected areas while emergency was declared in hospitals.

On the other hand, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has warned people not to venture near shorelines as Cyclone Biparjoy was approaching the country’s coastal region.

As per details, the cyclone was just 760km away from Karachi.

The commissioner of Karachi has imposed a ban on entry to beaches, fishing, sailing, swimming and bathing in the sea. Last year in August, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bore the brunt of the floods, which wreaked havoc in the province. Images of people being swept away and buildings collapsing are still fresh in our minds. Videos circulating on social media showed hotels, roads, bridges, houses, hospitals, schools, power stations, and water mills being washed away.

A famous hotel along Swat River came crumbling down due to the flow of water.

Millions of people were affected by the floods in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Balochistan and required humanitarian assistance. The most vulnerable were children who were faced with malnutrition and suffered from diarrhea, malaria, dengue fever, typhoid, respiratory infections and skin conditions. Following the devastating floods, the World Bank concluded that climate change-induced disasters were a major threat to Pakistan. More than 1,700 people died and over eight million people were displaced in the flash floods. The damage to infrastructure, crops and livestock was estimated to be more than $30 billion.

The World Bank’s Country Climate and Development Report for Pakistan said the country required “fundamental shifts in its development path and policies, requiring substantial investments in people-centric climate adaptation and resilience” with international support.

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