As Balochistan Is Drowning, Disaster Management Authorities Have Not Risen To The Occasion

As Balochistan Is Drowning, Disaster Management Authorities Have Not Risen To The Occasion
The recent rains have wreaked havoc in Balochistan, mourning is everywhere and people are screaming to help us, but sadly the rulers are dreaming. The indifference of the rulers can be estimated from the fact that the Prime Minister of Pakistan was conducting an aerial inspection of the flood-affected areas via airplane in the past few days. After the camera was switched on, the prime minister started acting. It is obvious that concern for the public is a low priority here.

Naseer Ahmed Nasir, director general of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA in Balochistan, says that 27 out of 34 districts of Balochistan have been affected by heavy rains and floods. According to PDMA's daily flood situation reports, more than 200 people have been killed in floods. According to the PDMA, after the death of thousands of livestock in the last few days, the overall numbers of livestock that died due to floods had reached 177,737. The number of confirmed affected houses is 19,762, but two days ago Balochistan's Advisor for Interior and PDMA Mir Ziaullah Longo told in a press conference that the number of affected houses is more than 40,000. Crops have also been damaged on more than 200,000 acres of land, while the Minister for PDMA had stated in a press conference that crops on 500,000 acres of land have been affected. Apart from government property, the total length of the affected roads in the affected districts is 670 km. In Balochistan, 574 school buildings have been damaged due to rains and floods. Due to the destruction of school buildings during the flood, the attendance of 78,910 students has been affected while 1,121 classrooms, 24 examination halls and 188 four-walled structures have been damaged.

According to the World Food Program, 571 people lost their lives due to floods across the country. Three out of every 10 deaths occurred in Balochistan, the highest number of any province. In the Lasbela district alone, more than 2,000 acres of crops and ready-to-harvest plants have been affected. Crops have been completely destroyed. The Kech and Pangjur districts are major date-producing districts of Pakistan but the date crops have been destroyed by recent monsoon rains. The livelihood of the residents here has been associated with the palm crop for centuries. Landlords are facing losses of billions of rupees.

At present, there is a state of apocalypse in Balochistan. Thousands of people have become homeless and people are compelled to live under the open sky. There is a severe lack of food items. Livestock and businesses have been destroyed. Normal life has been badly affected. So far no satisfactory action has been taken by the concerned authorities and the government.

Some heartbreaking scenes were also seen. Be it the corpses of children, or the scenes of removing bodies buried in the ground – the visuals are unbearable. It is a pity that on one hand, tragedy unfolds in Balochistan, while on the other hand, the celebration of independence in the federal capital could not be even slightly muted. Although Pakistan has institutional structures like National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) at the federal level and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) at the provincial level, preparing for disaster management has never been a priority. Their annual budget is billions of rupees but the efficiency is quite unsatisfactory. Due to their negligence, Balochistan has sunk.

The government must try to feel the pain of the people. It is said in Pakistan that the state is supposed to be like a mother, but unfortunately here public is treated in anything but a maternal way. There is a dire need for the federal and provincial governments to undertake immediate relief operations to ease the hardships of the people. The concerned institutions need to be prepared at all times to deal with any untoward incident.