Floods come every year and are more or less welcomed since flood waters leave the soil silt-enriched. But when they start playing havoc with human life life and property they become a horrible catastrophe. Then they bring disaster and destruction and leave behind hunger, disease and death. Crops are destroyed. Green fields turn into vast lakes. Mud-houses collapse. Both men and animals are drowned. Roads, bridges and highways are swept away. All means of communication and transportation are upset and shattered. Life comes to a standstill. Moans and groans turn glee into gloom.
Even after flood water recede the sufferings of the people are not over. The reconstruction of the houses, roads and bridges and the rehabilitation of the displaced persons create complex problems. The danger of epidemics and other water-borne diseases is also imminent. People have to start their life anew as all their means of livelihood are destroyed.
Last year floods in Pakistan have caused massive devastation in Pakistan. Punjab, Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas have suffered extensive damages. Here thousands of villages have been either completely swept away or very badly damaged. The standing crops rice, sugar-cane, fodder and cotton have also been washed out by the raging waters. Millions of people have been displaced. Much of the livestock has been eaten up by the hungry waters.
Whether it was GOD’s wrath or a natural calamity, no one can anything with certainity. But one thing is evident that the negligence of some government officials and their miscalculations and wrong planning did become a serious cause of last year floods. In Mangla Dam, the lake was filled with water. When the flood water came, some engineer opened the spillways without giving any warning to the people who were living in the areas near the river. This criminal negligence caused colossal loss of life and immovable property.
If we want to avert the danger of floods in future, we will have to do imaginative planning on war-footing. Some of the measures that can be taken to avoid this catastrophe are: protective bunds, river-bank, forestation and increased plantation in the catchment areas, water reservoirs, dams, barrages, strengthening of embankments, dredging of rivers and canals and emergency evacuation. Similarly flood water can be supplied to barren areas like Thal and Cholistan where it can be used for irrigation.
The government and the people should join hands to provide relief to the flood victims. People should donate funds generously. Government should take foolproof steps to ensure that the relief material and funds reach the needy and deserving people, and are not misappropriated by the dishonest government officials.