Post disaster strategies vital to avert insecurity, crises: Experts

The experts in a seminar on Tuesday stressed the government to devise effective strategies in aftermath of devastating floods, hitting almost one-fifth of the country’s land, to avert the much-feared food insecurity, besides other economic and social crises.

Addressing a discussion forum organized by Centre for Research and Security Studies, they were unanimous to say that during last 80 years, the region has not witnessed such a catastrophe as of 2010 floods and for country’s riddance from catastrophe the government needs to adopt matching strategies by taking hard decisions.

Giving an oversight of the flood situation including the reasoning factors, Chairman Federal Flood Commission Zarar Aslam said as of 1992, the amalgam of easterly and westerly waves begot floods across the country.

He said the ongoing floods are 80 year high those have destroyed one million homes, affected one-fifth of land and devastated 4.4 million acre crops, adding that eight hill torrents have contributed 239,600 cusecs of water, mounting the magnitude of floods to above 1.1 million cusecs.

He said the second attack of floods took place on August 14 to 17 and now the water reservoirs are at high level with Tarbellla at 6.770 million acre feet, Chashma at 0.163 MAF, and Mangla at 4.804 MAF with total 11.137 MAF in three reservoirs.

He told the audience that Indus is going to be normal at Tarbella and Taunsa but still high at Guddu and medium at Sukkur barrages, adding that Met department has again predicted scattered rains in first week of September.

Advisor of Finance Ministry Saqib Sherani brushed aside the assumption that farmers will soon be able to sow their crop and said in various parts of the country, particularly Swat, the lands have been washed away.

He said it would take several months for farmers to take back their lands adding revival of agricultural sector is inevitable to avert collateral damage of industrial sector.

For its deliverance from prevailing crises, he said the country needs fiscal shock absorbers those can be made possible though hard decisions.

Abid Sulehri from Sustainable Development Policy Institute highlighted the aspects of food security in wake of floods which have devastated almost one million tons of wheat.

He said once the situation turns normal, the issue of land demarcation would surface and most of the flood victims are worried about the property rights of their land as in some of the areas, land record has also been washed away.

Sulehri suggested the government to put a ban on export of livestock as country has already suffered loss of millions of animals due to floods feared to trigger a sever shortage of meat and secondary products.