Pakistan Needs to Quantify the Cost of Rehabilitation in the Aftermath of Floods Irfan Iqbal Sheikh

Karachi (PR): In his message on the occasion of a high-profile seminar “Devastating Floods – Mitigation & Way Forward,” Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has expressed his concerns that Pakistan has not yet come up with a broad-based, pragmatic, detailed and reliable estimates of the damages caused by the floods; reconstruction cost of the damages to the infrastructure and rehabilitation of the flood affectees.

Chairing the high-profile seminar at the Federation House, Engr. M. A. Jabbar, VP FPCCI, explained that the recent floods were not the result of climate change alone as he has been keenly observing the history in the making over the last 5 decades and the recurrent incidents of devastating floods in Pakistan. The truth of the matter is that we, as a nation, have failed as well to mitigate the dangers of floods through not creating the rainwater management infrastructure to cope with the effects of the climate change.

Engr. M. A. Jabbar also pointed out that the estimated $30 billion rehabilitation estimates are not backed by sufficient data; and, he agrees, the real damages may be even higher or lower as well. He also emphasized that we should approach the donor agencies and friendly countries with empirical and first-hand data to arrange the required funding.

Engr. M. A. Jabbar maintained that Federal Flood Commission established in 1977 has failed to provide leadership and foresight in mitigating the losses to the national economy due to recurrent floods over the last four and a half decades. It is an utter failure, he added.

The guest of honor, Dr. Khalid Iraqi, VC Karachi University, offered that Karachi University is ready to assist federal and provincial governments to conduct studies and surveys in floods damage mitigation and the way forward.

Dr. Faizullah Abbasi, VC of Dawood University of Engineering & Technology (DUET), appreciated the research studies of Karachi University; where they have pointed out the problem areas for rainwater accumulation and lack of drainage; which, in turn, causes much of the damage.

Dr. Sardar Sarfaraz, Chief Meteorologist of Karachi, apprised that Pakistan has experienced exceptionally high levels of monsoon this year; and, warned that the trend in the last decade shows that monsoon pressures will continue to be more aggressive in Pakistan in the years to come.

Dr. Viqar Husain, convener of FPCCI’s central standing committee on environment, apprised the audiences that Pakistan is stuck in a vicious cycle of natural disasters – one after the other – and, we as a nation need to plan meticulously for our future generations in the broader national interest.

Mr. Suleman Chandio, a former MD KWSB, regretted that the country has not been able to develop human resources equipped with the city planning skills, disaster management and water drainage management; who could rise up to the challenges of climate change and we need to strive to work towards this goal.

Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari, Founding Director, Institute of Development Studies & Practices, said that even the drinking water in Baloshistan is not available to masses and the recent floods have eroded hundreds of kilometers of roads in Balochistan. She suggested to make reformed islands for objective developments; instead of taking the huge size of adverse basket for resolution.

Brig Iftikhar Opel, SI (M), Retd.

Secretary General