Monsoon flooding: Sindh ‘vulnerable to disasters for two more decades’

Monsoon flooding: Sindh ‘vulnerable to disasters for two more decades’

Monsoon floodingISLAMABAD: The meteorological department’s data suggests that Sindh is going to face disasters during the monsoon season for the next two decades, bad news that has the authorities making plans already.

“If this time the disaster is as bad as it was last year then we have to work in advance,” said the chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir while speaking to The Express Tribune. There are only four months left to the monsoon season. The government is already struggling with several challenges, including the aftermath of two years of flooding in Sindh. If another disaster emerges in 2012, it will only add to the financial burden.

According to Qadir, the federal government has given Sindh Rs10 billion directly for the 2011 floods.But about 30 companies have complained to the prime minister over unpaid bills. These companies were asked to respond to the needs immediately and government was going to pay them later which hasn’t happened, said Qadir. Thus the government initially owed Rs5.2 billion out of which Rs2 billion has been paid.

The NDMA is now trying to rehabilitate flood survivors before the next monsoon. An informal consultative meeting took place on Tuesday to discuss all the projects Sindh and Balochistan have proposed. The UN and government are also going to sit down to talk about targeted people and costs. The projects will then go for approval to the steering committee which is chaired by UN resident coordinator Timo Pakkala and Qadir. The NDMA chairman estimates they will need $440 million for these upcoming challenges and donor appeals will be launched.

The NDMA is going to use its Islamabad monsoon contingency plan for all districts. It is also working on disaster insurance for vulnerable communities so that they are no longer dependent on government response or donors for finance. “There is a financial model and mechanism to generate disaster risk financing and the government is on board and the World Bank has agreed to provide technical assistance,” said Qadir.Sessions with the media on reporting on disaster are also in the pipeline. The government spent more than Rs20 billion after the floods of 2011. – Thetribune