With the monsoon season in full swing, much of the country is experiencing urban flooding and landslides that have severely affected civic infrastructure and power supply. As many as 50 people have been killed in rain-related incidents across the country. The provincial and national disaster management authorities have failed to take timely measures per usual. While a complete overhaul of infrastructure is impossible in a short period, the municipal authorities should have taken preventative measures and issued timely warnings.
Most cities in Pakistan lack an effective drainage system, which causes urban flooding as has been witnessed in Lahore recently. Negligent waste disposal practices among citizens and the absence of a recycling mechanism have raised challenges as drainage lines are choked with garbage causing waterlogging. With seasonal rains becoming heavier and more unpredictable, the Ministry of Climate Change needs to work with NDMA and PDMA to implement wide-ranging pre-emptive measures such as regularly examining infrastructure and repairing it accordingly.
Crucially, the public need to be considered as a stakeholder and included in disaster preparation and response efforts. Climate activists and urban planning experts have suggested equipping locals with the means to deal with urban flooding as well as building climate-resilient infrastructure. The government must realise that it cannot deal with climate challenges alone and must incorporate a host of experts from different fields along with civic and nongovernmental organisations working on climate change and adaptability.
A multi-faceted and comprehensive approach is the only way forward for a climate-vulnerable country like Pakistan to deal with the forthcoming disasters. In the meantime, residents across the country should be advised against travelling to areas witnessing heavy rainfall to avoid being stranded and caught up in accidents. Urgent arrangements should be made to relocate people living in unstable infrastructure and flood-prone regions to reduce casualities