More than Average monsoon rainfall expected

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Meher Azeem Hakro
The NDMA has warned provincial governments that this year the monsoon isexpected as above-average
rainfall across the country. Therefore, the provincial governments should make all the precautionary
measures in the districts to improve the drainage system of the cities, strengthen the canals and the
deteriorating condition of the river banks so that the damage caused by the flood can be minimized. On
the one hand, the Covid-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly, which has infected more than one and half
hundred thousand people in Pakistan alone. Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the country’s economy,
leading to rising unemployment, affecting daily wage earners, rising food prices, shutting down
industries, closing shopping malls and educational institutions. On the other hand, due to the
governmen’s soft lockdown policy and Covid-19 and politics between the federal and the provincial
governments, the numbers of patients in the country are being increased. Hospitals no longer have
enough beds and medicine to treat coronavirus patients. Imran Khan, Prime Minister, has also warned
the nation in his address that in the next two months July and August, the spread of coronavirus may
increase. The pandemic has highlighted the weakness of government, resources, political leadership
ability and institutional strength. It has now forced the government and policy makers as to how create
resources, secure food, and develop warning system and prepare the country as well as the nation like
from the recent disasters. The second challenge facing the government at this time is the locust
invasion. The locust attack has now engulfed 61 districts of the country. This attack is considered to be
the most dangerous attack after 70 years in the history of Pakistan. These locusts, in the form of swarms
attack the crop in millions destroying the crop. Locusts are still attacking fruits, rice, cotton and
vegetables in Punjab, Sindh, KPK and Balochistan. By this time, the country has lost Rs. 900/- billion
rupees. It is also being said by the experts that the further swarms of locusts are about to enter in
Pakistan territory directly from Africa passing through Iran, which might enter in the country from July
month. Besides that, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has predicted more rains than
usual and a flood situation is going to arise in the country. The nation will remember that floods in
Pakistan began in July 2010 with heavy monsoon rains in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and

Balochistan. Heavy rains inundated several cities, causing severe damage to the economy and caused
deaths. About one-fifth of the total land area of Pakistan was affected by the floods and also caused a
humanitarian disaster. It was the worst flood in Pakistan’s history. The floods directly affected about 20
million people, mostly property, livelihoods and infrastructure and killing nearly 2,000 people. The
floods destroyed homes, crops, livestock and infrastructure, and left millions suffering from malnutrition
and water-borne diseases. All the destruction in 2010 happened because we were not ready to control
floods. We could not keep ready the government departments to combat the disaster Rainfall forecast is
made for July and August 2020, and experts believe the corona will spread rapidly in July and August as
well. It is also being said that the locust swarm will further enter Pakistan from Africa via Iran. The
months of July and August will bring major challenges for the government. The government is already
facing a number of natural calamities and political challenges at one time. The government now needs
to take concrete steps. The entire political leadership, including the opposition parties and the nation,
should be taken into confidence and these issues should be handled with courage, planning, strategy,
wisdom and mutual understanding. Irrigation department should arrange regular cleaning of
watercourses. Provincial governments should release special budget to irrigation departments for canal
cleaning. WAPDA should be kept at high alert because as often in heavy rains their feeder get trip which
kill inhabitants with electrocution. ? The army should also be kept on high alert. If the situation worsens,
they should immediately call for rescue the residents. ? Livestock departments of the provinces should
also be kept vigilant and they may be directed to create awareness in local residents of flood risk areas
and take appropriate action in the event of emergency to save animals lives. The district administration
should also be on high alert and form a committee at its district or tehsil level to ensure timely
protection of people and farms, animals and lives. Thy can be given the responsibility of raising
awareness about the dangers of floods. Eid al-Adha is also expected in July, so the district administration
should be ready to remove offal and wastage of sacrificial animals from cities so that water does not
accumulate in cities due to them. Departments of Irrigation and Agriculture should identify the
vulnerable embankments in advance and keep sending updates to flood cell so that a solution of
vulnerable can be found in time. Rain or flood can cause a number of illnesses such as diarrhea, vomiting
or other illnesses; therefore the hospital must be prepared to ensure timely delivery of medicines so
that people’s lives can be saved. ? An emergency helpline should be set up at the Ministry of NFSR to
listen to the complaints and suggestions of residents and flood victims.