History of disaster: Floods affecting lives, economy since independence

August 15, 2013

By Azam Khan

Floods affecting lives
Floods affecting lives

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has suffered heavily due to floods in its 66-year history, primarily due to the absence of a disaster management mechanism, experts believe.

According to the Federal Flood Commission (FFC) report Pakistan has witnessed 20 major floods; in 1950, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

These floods affected 599,459 square kilometers area, snatched 11,239 precious human lives and caused losses worth over Rs39 billion to the national economy. During last 63 years, floods have affected 180,234 villages.

The first catastrophe, which hit the country in 1950, was the deadliest in terms of human losses. It claimed 2,190 lives and flooded 10,000 villages, spreading over an area of 17,920 square kilometres.

In 1992, floods killed over 1,000 people and submerged 13,208 villages. Flood eliminated around 848 lives in the 1977 flood and damaged 2,185 villages.

The floods in 2010 were the second deadliest. They took 1,985 lives and inundated 17, 553 villages over 160,000-square kilometre area, affecting 21 million people.

During 2011 and 2012, floods claimed 516 and 571 lives respectively. Cumulatively in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Pakistan lost 3,072 precious lives and $16 billion.

Up till now, the recent monsoon floods have killed around 69 people, including 22 in Sindh, 18 in Balochistan, 15 in Punjab and 14 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reports.

The NDMA says the floods have so far affected 81, 674 people of 333 villages, damaged 135,076 acres of crops, completely destroyed 2,533 houses and partially damaged 1,782 houses

The NDMA assessment shows that the floods in the last five years have proved more disastrous to the national economy than the calamities of the last 63 years’ put together.

Due to absence of a disaster management system to counter floods, Pakistan suffers a loss of around $800 million each year.

These floods have affected every area of social infrastructure from housing, health and education to Irrigation, transport and communication, water supply and sanitation and energy sectors.

The agriculture sector, which is a source of livelihood of Pakistan’s major population, is badly affected, followed by private sector and industries in economic sectors.

Published in ZaraiMedia.com

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