COMMENT: Floods in Dera Ghazi Khan: Stories of resilience and vulnerability from the field
Devastating floods are now a yearly phenomenon in Pakistan. This year, the monsoon has brought with it yet another painful episode of floods. Furthermore, torrential rains and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) have claimed a large number of lives, and damaged natural and agricultural resources as well as infrastructure in the country. Since 1990, natural disasters have claimed almost 17.2 million lives and cost around 1.16 per cent to the GDP of Pakistan every year. The 2010 floods alone affected 18 million people and caused direct economic losses worth US$16 billion.1
The PRISE team at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute recently visited Dera Ghazi Khan, a flood-affected district in Punjab province, for a rapid vulnerability assessment of local communities. Dera Ghazi Khan is a semi-arid region located at the junction of all four provinces of Pakistan. This region is particularly vulnerable to floods since it lies between the Indus River (a common point for flooding) and the Sulaiman Mountains (which have a torrent-spate irrigation system that triggers flooding in downhill areas). Cotton, sugarcane and rice are the major crops and the major livelihood sources that local communities depend on. Another distinct feature of the district is that a huge proportion of its population has migrated to the Gulf countries for employment. Hence, foreign remittances are a prominent source of income that support families.
Fortunately, no-one in the affected areas was killed as a result of the recent floods. However, other losses to infrastructure and displacements have been numerous. Some of our on-site observations and discussions with officials in the district administration and local community members revealed important information regarding the vulnerability and resilience of flood-affected communities.Read more
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.