Top Story of the Week: In the Aftermath of Floods, A Compounded Disaster in Pakistan

The deadly monsoon flooding that has caused unspeakable suffering for the people of Pakistan in the last two weeks is also expected to severely affect the country’s prospects for economic growth and security.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, said rebuilding the flood-ravaged nation will need some USD10 billion to USD15 billion. The figure, he said, is a rough estimate since a damage assessment has yet to be conducted.

With floods wiping out agricultural lands, there are fears of a surge in domestic food prices. The World Bank pegs farm losses at USD1 billion while Pakistani officials say damage to crops could go up to USD3 billion, Bloombgerg through SFGate reports.

The destruction of nonfood crops such as cotton, a vital component of Pakistan’s textile industy, may also hurt exports and employment, according to The New York Times.

Aid agencies have repeatedly warned of looming health risks such as waterborne diseases, acute respiratory tract infections and skin disorders.

The fatal floods are also putting more stress on the nation’s already volatile security situation. Reports of looting and protests over the slow arrival of food aid have surfaced more than two weeks into the disaster.

“The law and order is not good and it will be worsening,” Jamshaid Dasti, a member of Parliament from Muzaffargarh, said as quoted by The New York Times.

Once the floods recede, more work needs to be done. A consortium of non-governmental organizations suggest that rehabilitation measures be established “in parallel” to relief efforts.

“The national economy was able to quickly recover from the [2005 Kashmir] earthquake, but the devastation caused by the floods could be much more difficult for the economy to absorb. There is a need for a faster and more substantial relief effort, together with a serious commitment towards rehabilitation and recovery,” the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum said.

For Pakistan, there is no other way but forward. However, it would need the international community’s help to get going.

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.