Post-flood rehabilitation: Pakistan incurs $14b damages from flood devastation
ISLAMABAD-Pakistan has witnessed the havoc of an unprecedented torrential rain floods that inundated almost a third of the whole country under rainwater breaking all records of mega floods with cumulative damages of $14.906 billion. The country needs $16.261 billion to recover from the devastation.
The relief efforts had largely focused on the provision of shelter, safe drinking water, food items, and health interventions amidst supply chain disruptions. The total damage so far is estimated at Rs3.2 trillion ($14.9 billion), total loss at Rs3.3 trillion ($15.2 billion), and total needs at Rs3.5 trillion ($16.3 billion).
The sectors that suffered the most damage is housing at Rs1.2 trillion ($5.6 billion); agriculture, food, livestock, and fisheries at Rs800 billion ($3.7 billion); and transport and communications at Rs701 billion ($3.3 billion).
The transport and communications sector have the highest reconstruction and recovery needs at Rs1.1 trillion ($5.0 billion); followed by agriculture, food, livestock, and fisheries at Rs854 billion ($4.0 billion), and housing at Rs592 billion ($2.8 billion). The provinces of Sindh and Balochistan account for approximately 50 percent and 15 percent of recovery and reconstruction needs, respectively.
The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives has prepared a detailed Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) Report through its Flood Coordination Cell, with the assistance of Asian Development Bank, the European Union, the United Nations donor agencies particularly with technical support of the United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank whereas financial and technical support was from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.
According to the PDNA Report, a mix of torrential rains with a combination of riverine, urban, and flash flooding led to an unprecedented disaster in the country between June and August 2022.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has reported around 33 million people affected due to the floods leaving one in seven impacted along with some eight million people displaced from the flood-hit areas.
Over 1,700 people, one-third of which were children perished during the floods. Moreover, the rain-induced floods, speedy glacial melt and causing landslides that destroyed millions of homes and key infrastructure, sinking entire villages and affecting livelihoods.
The report said, “As per the preliminary estimates amid direct outcome of the floods, the national poverty rate will increase by 3.7 to 4.0 percentage points, pushing between 8.4 and 9.1 million people into poverty.”
Some 94 districts have been declared as “calamity hit,” making it over half of all districts in the country. “The majority were in the provinces of Balochistan, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Out of the 25 poorest districts in the country, 19 were calamity-affected.”
“In the summer of 2022, the country experienced its wettest August since 1961. Sindh and Balochistan provinces witnessed an unparalleled rainfall, outstanding average monthly totals by six and seven times, respectively.
Attribution research has shown that the five-day maximum rainfall, which is a measure of heavy precipitation, of these two provinces was around 75 percent more intense than it would have been had the climate not warmed by 1.2°C.
The floods came on the heels of a severe heatwave — previously a 1-in-1,000-year event — and drought emergency during which temperatures continuously remained above 45°C, resulting in crop losses, power outages, and forest fires.”
The extraordinary magnitude and protracted duration of the prevailing catastrophe demanded a strategic coordination to amicably manage humanitarian response to recovery. The government while leading humanitarian response set up a National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC) to supervise the national response to the monsoon rains and floods.
The Centre comprises of federal stakeholders, provincial governments, and the Pakistan Armed Forces and it has been organising the national-level government assistance. The Armed Forces and civil administration have been providing search and rescue, logistics, and engineering support, while the NDMA is procuring relief supplies and coordinating bilateral in-kind donations for distribution through the Army, which has been mobilized under constitutional provisions.
As per the PDNA Report, the flood devastation would explicitly bring some 2.2 percent decline in GDP of FY22. However, among the mega sectors, agriculture sector value added is projected to decline the most at 0.9 percent of FY22 (fiscal year 2022), with the most losses to cotton, dates, sugarcane, and rice crops. Around 1 million livestock are estimated to have perished.
The government after embracing huge devastation in floods has come up with an inclusive and resilient recovery through a “Whole of Pakistan” approach, leading to sustainable development for the people and country.
The recovery plan was based on three key pillars “and an underlying foundation”. The underlying foundation comprised of three approaches namely, “build back better; people-centred socioeconomic recovery; and developing systemic resilience against natural hazards and climate change impacts—all of which must be applied across the board.”
The recovery strategic plan builds up its foundation on three pillars of restoration of jobs and livelihoods; recovery and reconstruction of critical assets, services, and infrastructure; and strengthening governance and stakeholder capacity for reconstruction, especially communities.
Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman was of the view that the recent floods had destroyed 4,410 million acres agricultural land that required Rs854 billion for its reconstruction of the agriculture sector. She said, “About Rs1,986 billion are estimated collective losses of the agriculture sector.”
Senator Sherry Rehman said, “Sindh and Balochistan provinces had been affected more in the floods, and the government was paying heed on the rehabilitation process and rebuilding the damaged areas. The complete economic loss related to the aforesaid sector is approximately over $9 billion.”
The minister underlined that the federal government will also launch the rehabilitation plan in the coming days that will cover the key aspects of revival efforts to ensure sustainable relocation of the affected communities. She said the fact sheet clearly stated that one out of seven Pakistanis were affected by the recent monster floods whereas four million children were out of health services.