No one can avoid or stop a natural disaster but we can minimize its devastation and damages by taking sound, well-planned and strict safety and precautionary measures. Our level of preparedness is the key to lessen the catastrophic situation.
Unfortunately, Pakistan is among the topmost vulnerable countries in the changing global climate, yet the ecological and climate change issues stand at the bottom of our priorities which is a very sorrow sate of affairs. Similarly, according to the World Resources Institute, on an average, the floods cost an estimated loss of 1pc of the total GDP of Pakistan per year.
Disaster management and rescue operations pose an additional economic burden on the economy and the government so it is better to wake up early and play a proactive role to minimize the losses.
Recently, Chitral town, especially Mughlandeh and Jughore Dawashish, have been jolted and devastated by flash flooding. The magnitude of devastation and destruction is unprecedented. Many houses were buried under the debris, water channels and pipelines were wiped out. Many land properties were also affected.
No doubt, torrential rains and flash floods are the wrath of nature but at the same time especially in our case in Jughour Dawashish village no one can deny and ignore the triggering anthropogenic factor.
Anthropogenic activities, such as irresponsible goat grazing on large scale and deforestation (fuel wood collecting practices) are adding fuel to the fire as far as the phenomenon of flash flood is concerned. The catastrophic situation in my village is beyond description.
As a resident, if timely actions are not taken I can say our future is very dark. If urgent and emergency precautionary steps are not taken I can say with confidence in near future more than 80pc of the total population of my village will be forced to displace or migrate to other places for safe shelters. Therefore, I am appealing both to the KP and federal governments that on an urgent and emergency basis they should mobilize and utilize all there machinery and resources for our sake to protect our lives and properties. We can ill afford any delay because the situation is getting away from our hands day by day.
It is not only a matter of our survival but some key government departments (PESCO, TMO office, Rescue 1122 and the National Highway Authority (NHA) have their key stakes and interests.
There will be billions of rupees losses to our national economy if these departments and the KP and federal governments did not realize the gravity of the situation. Now I will present my case and will try to prove my point logically.We already know that Pakistan is an energy deficient country.
We do need every single unit very badly to lift our economy. In this regard, the federal government has invested billions of rupees in the power generation sector in Chitral in Golen Gol hydro power project etc. One can see already that three mega towers are passing through this area prone and vulnerable to flash floods.
Tower 1 has been already partially affected by this flash flood. Therefore these flash foods are posing great danger to these three mega towers from which heavy transmission lines are passing supplying power to our national grid. Any time this flash flood can uproot and dismantle these towers resulting non supply of power to our national grid as a result there will be billions of loss to our national economy.
These towers and the heavy transmission line passing over them are our precious national assets so the government should protect them. So I am appealing to the PESCO chairman that he should coordinate with other concerned departments to save his assets.Secondly N45 (NHA monitored) main road is passing through Jughour. I am afraid if the current situation continues NHA will be forced to construct at least four bridges from TMO Chowk to the Judicial complex building.
This road very soon will be washed away. So NHA can easily provide us there engineering technical and logistic support ie excavators etc. So they have to play there role due to there stake. This road is not only leading to the judicial complex but indeed it connects us with other down districts. Similarly, these flash floods are posing great threat to TMO Chitral and Rescue 1122 offices. They should protect there offices otherwise alongside with the buildings the debris can bury worth millions of fire tenders, ambulances, excavators and other vehicles etc.
While on the other hand these flash floods are damaging our water channels and pipe lines. It demands a Herculean effort to clear the water channels and the pipe lines from the debris.
Now I will try to present an idea and a solution that how we can prevent these flash floods in order to minimize there devastation and damages to a great extent. This will not only ensure better and safe shelter environment for our future many generation to come but billions of loss to the national economy could be avoided.
In the first phase by means of excavators a zigzag road should be constructed. As they say there is no substitute of experience. We have learnt from our ancestors the idea of “BAN”.
Chitral is mainly a hilly and mountainous area. The word terracing could be used in English for BAN. This practice is applied to prevent rainfall run off on sloping land from accumulating and causing and causing serious soil erosion. Terraces consist of ridges or step like structures on a slope. The main idea of BAN approach or terraces is to lessen the steep slope thus we can ensure stoppage of soil erosion and land sliding. The debris left over can be used for filling the creeks (Prashogh Gol). These creeks are becoming wider and larger with the passage of time.
2. In the second phase plantation campaign should be adopted to ensure prevention of landsliding. Similarly, there will be complete ban on goat grazing and fuel wood collecting practices should be discouraged. Afforestation is the best policy instead of deforestation.
At last I am very optimistic that both the KP and federal government will realize the gravity of the situation. and proper measures should be taken in the best interest of the masses.