Govt needs to do homework on natural disasters


The government should do its homework and take precautionary measures to avoid devastation in case of floods and other natural calamities, speakers advised at a Shura Hamdard Karachi meeting on Thursday.
The meeting titled “Natural Calamities and Human Determination” was presided over by former chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court, Haziquel Khairi. Hamdard Foundation Pakistan President Sadia Rashid also attended the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan said that the current “economic flood” in the country is much more disastrous than the one caused by the recent floods.
“Most houses in our country are built on drainage systems and when passages are choked with debris and waste material, the sewage ceases to flow, causing a huge disaster,” he added. “There is rampant corruption in the construction sector. Money is allotted for a project but no work is carried out and eventually the amount finds its way into the pockets of contractors and government officials.”
Khan also pointed out that no work has been carried out in the health sector as well and that is why the government has failed to curb the dengue fever epidemic. Justice (retd) Haziquel Khairi observed that that the impact of the floods would not have been so destructive if the government had done its homework. Former diplomat Mohammed Abul Fazal stressed on the need for self-assistance to minimise the effects floods in their aftermath.
He also warned that there could be more disastrous floods in the future as glaciers, currently 14,000 in number, are melting away. Scientist Dr Mirza Arshad Ali Beg said that our irrigation system, constructed in 1932, is now too old and cracks have started appearing in it. “The soil of Sindh is losing the capacity of absorbability because of its crust.  As the soil is not absorbing water, it results in disaster,” he added.
Commodore (retd) Sadeed Anwar Malik said that we do not follow the principles, laid down by the experts, to prevent or minimise the effects of natural calamities. “Some examples of this are that we do not make earthquake-proof buildings in seismic areas, and neither do we raise the borders of irrigation canals in flood-prone areas,” he noted. “We should prepare a comprehensive plan in consultation with relevant experts to face natural calamities.”
Dr Abu Bakar Sheikh said that it is a pity that the brunt of rulers’ mistakes and mismanagement has to be borne by the poor. Brig (retd) Muzzarrul Hasan suggested that a separate ministry for dealing with natural calamities should be formed. Naushaba Khalil said that the government should restore its credibility as people are avoiding giving donations to state-run institutions for the relief of flood survivors.
Qudsia Akbar was of the view that women have their own role to play in the reconstruction of the country and they should work accordingly. Mohammed Saeed Siddiqui said that India has built numerous big and small damsbut in Pakistan, dams have fallen victim to politics.