Forgotten disaster

By Editorial Board
March 30, 2023

The impact of the floods which hit Sindh, parts of southern Punjab and Balochistan last year has been largely forgotten by much of the population of Pakistan. But what is not recognized is the fact that the devastation caused by the floods has a huge human impact as well as a future impact on food production and therefore an increase in food insecurity in a country where, inflation put at nearly 46 per cent, more and more people are unable to purchase even their most basic needs.


According to a report by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 1.8 million people mainly in Sindh still live in areas surrounded by floodwater and most often stagnant floodwater. To add to the problem, people are facing waterborne as well as vector-borne diseases, including malaria and dengue. The high temperatures in Jhal Magsi, a factor in the presence of mosquitoes and waterborne diseases, have affected people everywhere in flood-hit areas, mainly due to the lack of clean drinking water and the presence of stagnant water surrounding the places where they live. According to the Sindh PDMA, around 26,203 people have been internally displaced, the majority of them living in adequate shelters across the province. It is reported that 5,132 people live in a tent city in Malir where conditions are obviously inadequate and partially as a result of the conditions they live in, 1.5 million children have not received the severe acute malnutrition aid that they need in a country where the rate of stunting among children is amongst the highest in the world, affecting both their physical and mental health. According to the ILO, 4.3 million workers in the agriculture sector will also be affected. In total 1.9 million people have been affected by the floods, according to the OCHA.

Pakistan, according to the report by the UN organization, has not received more than 50 per cent of the funds it had sought so it could help flood victims after they were hit by the virtually torrential rains in Sindh and other places. This adds to the misery of the victims. There is simply not enough aid available to help them, and their plight has been neglected as politicians fight over who gets to sit on the seat of power. As the political battles continue, and people look to saving every penny they have due to the economic disaster in the country, what hope do the flood IDPs have of surviving this time? The government needs to become their advocate for any and all international help on a large scale.