After the unprecedented floods that have badly affected more than 30 million people in the country, the government and aid agencies are battling the most arduous and difficult task of the rehabilitation of flood victims. The challenge is enormous but one must remember that every cloud has a silver lining. No matter how bad the given situation might be, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just there is a need to channelise all available resources in a coherent way under a proper action plan.
Currently, the government is busy meeting the victims’ immediate needs like the provision of food and shelter, but in the long run, a proper action plan is required to ease their lives in the coming days.
Every disaster does carry certain lessons and it’s the responsibility of the authorities concerned to put in place necessary measures for either averting or decreasing the magnitude of losses. At a time when vast terrains are under flood water, the identification of available barren land is necessary for building new housing facilities in a planned manner. Haphazard development of housing schemes and construction of houses in areas where floods occur on a regular basis must come to an end. Besides, a ban must be imposed on any construction near the banks of the rivers as well as on fertile land that must be reserved for agriculture only. The foundation of new cities under a proper building code can be laid keeping in view all safety aspects. New road infrastructure can be laid connecting new cities with the existing ones. Thus a boost in the construction sector will offer livelihood to millions of flood victims, who have been left jobless.
In the construction sector, the real estate attracts many national and international investors. The involvement of investors in the construction of new cities in a public-private partnership mode can give quick results. Just there is a need to announce incentives for investors for playing their role in the national development.
Pakistan is an agricultural state and its seventy percent population is attached to the sector. Modern agriculture techniques and farming can bring a revolution. The government needs to tap the huge potential in the Agri sector. The government needs to patronise small and big farms producing quality crops and food items. It can be done first on a small scale and later big farms can be set up for the promotion of livestock and agricultural products.
Pakistan is highly dependent on agriculture which in turn is dependent on water. The problem of water can be solved only when the decision makers forget their personal interests and think for Pakistan. All stakeholders should put their energies to build water reservoirs both small and larger ones. In this way, the recurrent disaster of flooding as a result of climate change can be averted. The government needs to build small water storage structures to recharge groundwater. Collecting rainwater to recharge the aquifer is also a good option. Farmers should be imparted awareness on how to more efficiently use limited water to boost food production while conserving water sources. New reservoirs must be built in areas that are hit by flash floods every year.
Another immediate need of flood victims is the provision of healthcare facilities. Currently, medical facilities are few and far between in some of the most severely affected areas. Survivors are facing tough conditions in flood-hit regions. Desperate victims are still waiting for help. The outbreak of epidemics like dengue and malaria has exacerbated the situation. In order to ensure the provision of health facilities, the government needs to erect hospitals and announce incentives for doctors and paramedical staff, who are willing to serve the afflicted citizens.
In order to rehabilitate victims, both the federal and provincial governments need to work jointly. They should utilise all resources for relief work. Amid this catastrophic situation, it is the responsibility of the central government to reach the victims and provide them with the necessary help. The government needs to understand that the affected citizens are desperately waiting for relief items and it should also welcome international aid.
It is a fact that floods and rains have played havoc across the country and it is one of the worst disasters. A central authority must be in place to make a strategy for the rehabilitation of flood victims on a long-term basis.