Absence of dams caused flooding


Nearly one in every three Pakistanis believe that the absence of dams was the main reason behind the catastrophic floods, reported a survey. Another 19% of respondents blamed their sins for the floods, which have taken over 1,500 lives and projected losses of around $40 billion.

Ipsos, a major Global research firm, ran a survey from September 7 to September 12, 2022, across Pakistan with three-fourths of the total respondents living in urban areas. Showing some interesting trends, the survey also revealed that only 2% of the respondents were satisfied with the role played by the provincial government in managing floods.

As many as 57% of the respondents were unaware of the term ‘climate change’ and of those who were aware, only 29% believed climate change is a serious problem in Pakistan.

Lack of awareness among a majority of Pakistanis indicates that the authorities have not been able to sensitise people about the burning issue of climate change.

The survey showed that only 7% believed that the floods were caused by climate change while 19% of the respondents said: “our sins” caused the floods.

The Express Tribune reported this month that a project conceived in 2013, aimed at mitigating the damage caused by floods and building resilience through civil work and the installation of advanced monitoring systems, remained unimplemented due to low priority given by all three successive governments. If, however, the Rs96 billion was duly allocated to this critical scheme it could have helped save lives and assets today.

Read UN experts urge member states to help floods-hit Pakistan

Although work on a detailed Post Damage and Need Assessment Report is underway, the government has projected losses of approximately $40 billion and has claimed 1,539 people have lost their lives so far.

The Ipsos survey showed that 28% of respondents cited the absence of dams as the primary reason behind the flooding while 25% blamed the government’s lack of planning.

Over the past five decades, no mega dam or reservoir has been built; the Kalabagh dam has become controversial, while no sufficient funding is available for the Diamer Basha dam’s construction.

Nearly 50% of Pakistanis opine that the armed forces have played the best role in dealing with the disaster, followed by the federal government whose approval rating was 34%.

Half the respondents said they were willing to donate and contribute to relief and rehabilitation efforts in flood-affected areas. While only 13% of respondents appreciated the role of non-governmental organisations, a 52% majority said they would prefer to donate via NGOs instead of the government.

Among the NGOs, Edhi Foundation followed by Al-Khidmat Foundation appeared as the most trusted. Only 2% said they trusted Hilal-e-Ahmar as the medium for flood donations.

Only one in 10 Pakistanis consider the natural disaster a personal threat. Half of the respondents said that the floods were a threat to the country.

The floods have also aggravated Pakistan’s external sector problems, exposing the fault lines that are keeping the country at the edge of default, despite the revival of the International Monetary Fund programme.

About 65% of Pakistanis think that the country will face this disaster again next year; this fear persisted on the higher side among females, the elderly and the rural population.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2022.

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Originally published at tribune.com.pk

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