Friday, July 15, 2011

Disaster-hit areas in Pakistan face fresh flood threat

Maha Mussadaq in the Express Tribune: As the monsoon cycle begins in Pakistan, areas across the country have been identified as being at risk of being hit by floods once again – some have already been inundated. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has stated that floods have been predicted to occur as early as July 15 if the water level in River Swat rises.

The PDMA has identified areas such as Kalam, Balakot, Uthror, Bahrain and Mankyal in Upper Swat at high risk of being inundated. These areas were hit by floods last year and will become inaccessible if the floods recur this year. An estimated displacement of some 20,000 people is expected in Charsadda and 25,000 people in Nowshera this year. Earlier, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) held a press conference revealing that approximately 20 million people are likely to be affected if faced with a disaster identical to last year’s.

Although Chairman NDMA Zafar Qadir reflected confidence in the preparedness of the government to respond to the challenges, at the same time he was uncertain about the scale of the disaster. The PDMA also revealed that areas in Muzafarghar and Layyah which were one of the worst-hit locations last year are already experiencing early flooding....

Flooding in the Swat Valley in 2010, US Army photo

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