KARACHI: Speakers at a post-flood dialogue underlined the need to take measures to prevent the causes behind the natural disasters as the current flash floods in most areas in Pakistan has not only destroyed physical infrastructures but also badly affected the lives and livelihood of rural populations.

Organised by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) at Karachi Press Club on Saturday the dialogue was attended by civil society and human rights activists. Prominent labour leader Habibuddin Junaidi chaired the meeting.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included Executive Director PILER Karamat Ali, Member of South Asia Partnership (SAP) – Pakistan Shahnaz Shidi, Prof Aqdas Afzal from Habib University, Secretary General of National Trade Unions Federation (NTUF) Nasir Mansoor, prominent social service provide Faisal Edhi, Program Coordinator of FES Abdullah Dayo and Director, Aurat Foundation Mehnaz Rehman.

Karamat Ali welcomed the participants and said Pakistan is going through a recovery phase for a major disaster of this century, where more than 1700 people have lost their lives, millions have been displaced and lost their shelter and livelihood. Thousands of people suffered various water-borne diseases. Dengue and Malaria is rampant. We must also think about and prevent the causes behind it before going into another disaster.

He requested the participants to provide recommendations for relief and rehabilitation of millions of flood-affected people.

Aqdas Afzal Highlighted the impact of climate injustice on Pakistan and said Pakistan only contributes 1% to world’s carbon emissions and is currently facing the wrath of climate change the most.

He shared that in addition to handling this crisis Pakistan is also burdened by 130 Billion dollars of foreign debt. He emphasized that the government should demand that Pakistan’s debts should be nullified as an act of solidarity with a crisis-ridden country. Aqdas also highlighted that democracy is inevitable for a country to make swift, comprehensive and practical policies to protect human rights and avoid such disasters from repeating again in future.

Abdullah Dayo Programme Officer at Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, while sharing the statistics of the destruction the flood has caused to human life and infrastructure shared that currently there are 67 lac people displaced across the country and at least 70,000 women were expected to give birth in the initial days of the disaster.

He shared that the flood victims were reluctant to leave their homes even if they get washed away because in government shelters they would have to share space with unknown families and they are worried of the security of their family in such situations. He emphasized the need for collaboration among government institutes, NGOs, International NGOs and media cells.

He also underlined the need to include climate awareness in the school syllabus for younger generations to plan for the future from now. Abdullah Dayo also stressed the need to introduce a proportional electoral system to make everyone’s voice accessible to the authorities as only this can lead to the elimination of social injustice.

Nasir Mansoor from National Trade Union Federation shared that he has been directly involved in flood relief work in Interior Sindh and one thing that remained the same from the earthquake in 2005 till this year is that whenever a disaster occurs the state is seen nowhere to protect its people. Right now almost one million workers employed in the garments sector are expected to lose their livelihoods because of the destruction of cotton crops and we don’t see any planning or policy-making to prevent such a disastrous situation. He also endorsed the need to strengthen the network between Government and Non Government organizations.


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