‘Short-term measures won’t control future floods’

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KARACHI: Repeating short-term measures for responding to future floods and rehabilitating flood victims would not be helpful, speakers at a two-day conference titled ‘Flood and Beyond: Recovery, Reconstruction and Reforms’ observed on Thursday.
The event was jointly organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK), Sungi Development Foundation and the Centre for Peace and Civil Society.
Development experts, flood victims and government officials discussed the effects, interventions and role of both government and non-governmental organisations (NGO) in helping the flood affectees. Representatives of civil society organisations, who had helped local communities in rescue, relief and early recovery operations from all over the country, shared their observations and experiences in the conference.
PILER Executive Director Karamat Ali said that Pakistan had witnessed three major natural disasters in its history and should have learnt lessons from the two past experiences including partition in 1947 and the fall of Dhaka in 1971. He said that the third disaster was floods in 2010, which had exposed a large part of the population to vulnerable circumstances.
Noted architect, town planner and Urban Resource Centre Chairman Arif Hasan commented on the experiences shared by community representatives, civil society activists and journalists in flood-relief activities and said that during the floods, civil society and urban philanthropists had come forward to assist the internally displaced persons at scattered relief camps across the country.
National Humanitarian Network’s Dr Manzoor Ahmed gave a presentation on the functioning of national and international NGOs providing relief services in disaster-hit areas. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum General Secretary Saeed Baloch gave an overview of destruction caused due to breaches in various dykes in Sindh. SAP-PK Deputy Director Irfan Mufti said that since a majority of people were directly associated with the agricultural sector, floods had greatly affected their lives.
Noted journalist and Executive Director of Centre for Peace and Civil Society Jami Chandio said that due to mismanagement and ill-planning, people had suffered during the floods. Sungi Development Foundation Director Operations Dr Manzoor Ahmed said that the government’s capacity for responding to such a huge disaster was inadequate.