Super Flood’s Socio-Economic Implications and Response of Islamic Countries 1


Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

Pakistan is passing through a severest super flood which has already produced multiplier effects in its socio-economic fabrics. According to the latest report of the UN (August, 2010), the number of people suffering from the massive floods in Pakistan exceeds to 30, more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. According to the official estimations the most affected province is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Natural Calamity Deaths Toll
Tsunami 5 million
Kashmir earthquake 2005 3 million
Haiti earthquake 2010 3 million

Socio-Economic Costs

Saga of super floods is going on and on and creating havoc to people of Pakistan. The damage has affected up to 40 million people and destroyed more than 750,000 houses. At least 1,600 have been killed by the super floods. 3.5m children are at risk of waterborne diseases in the flood affected areas in the country. According to the Ministry of Finance, “Pakistan Floods 2010: A Preliminary Look at the Macroeconomic Impact” economy is faced with zero percent GDP growth and a galloping inflation of 25pc in the financial year 2010-11. The ministry’s report states that the wiping out of the 4.5 percent GDP growth target translates into Rs751.5b loss to the economy due to damages done by the ongoing floods.

The devastation caused by recent floods has been unprecedented. Apart from the immediate losses of lives and public and private properties, the overall impact of the catastrophe may be enormous and far-reaching than can be currently estimated. It is feared that super floods has already set the country back by many years. The United Nations says Pakistan requires millions of dollars for rescue and relief operations and billions for reconstruction of the flood-hit infrastructure. Keeping in view the multiplier effects of the floods it is predicted poverty, ratios of unemployment, incidents of militancy, rise to urbanization and the last not the least high inflation ratios will be our national fate in the days to come. Moreover, government would also be in pressure due to widening budgetary deficits and current account deficits in the near future. Some prominent Islamic countries are extending their political and socio-economic support to help the hapless, helpless and homeless people of Pakistan. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey, Iran and even Uzbekistan are among the prime Islamic countries in this regard.

More than 50 bridges in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on main highways had been washed away or damaged due to flash floods, in addition to hundreds of schools, hospitals and other basic service facilities. Same is the case with Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan provinces where infrastructures have been broken and flash-out. Four major bridges in Gilgit-Baltistan on the Karakoram Highway have been completely damaged while damages to main roads and bridges in Azad Kashmir are also big. The government badly needs billions of rupees to repair or build again the huge infrastructures throughout the country. Throughout the country the prices of basic necessities of life have been increased. The essential food items both perishable and non-perishable have climbed substantially.

Expected Fallouts

Short-term

Food shortage, crop inundation and emanating high food prices are likely to affect every consumer

Medium-term

Damage to major cash crops i.e. cotton, sugarcane and rice could result in lower textile exports and higher sugar and rice prices. Widening current account deficits etc.

Long-term

The recovery process would perhaps get a boost from higher needs for cement, steel and allied industries.

Colossal losses to Agriculture and Livestock

Super floods has badly affected our agricultural sector and ruined its related sub-sectors too. The floods have damaged at least 3.2 million hectares (7.9 million acres) about 14 percent of Pakistan’s entire cultivated land. According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MinFA), the country has caused damage worth Rs 244.6 billion to the agriculture sector with maximum losses suffered by the small farmers of around Rs 98 billion, while some facing total annihilation of their crops.

It is estimated that the losses to agriculture and livestock would have a spillover effect on industry and commercial activities to a great extent. It is because agriculture continues to play a central role in the national economy. It accounts for over 21 per cent of GDP and remains by far the largest employer with 45 per cent of the country’s labour force. It will affect raw material supplies to the downstream industry that contributes to the export sector and reduce the appetite for industrial products like fertilisers, tractors, pesticides and other agricultural implements.

Cotton

Economic Importance

It being a non-food cash crop contributes significantly to foreign exchange earning. It accounts for 8.6 of the value added in agriculture and about 1.8 per cent to GDP.

Expected Losses

Cotton losses are Rs 71.4 billion. It was sown over 3.1 hectares in the current Kharif season out of which the floods have destroyed crops at 0.51 million hectares, as a result the production is expected to decline by almost 15 percent to 11.7 million bales as against the targeted cotton production of 14 million bales in 2010. Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) The textile sector of the country has to bear a burden of $1010 million import cost on cotton as the total requirement of mills and spinning sector.for 2010-11 is estimated to be around 15 million bales.

Sugarcane

Economic Importance

It being a non-food cash crop contributes significantly to foreign exchange earning. It accounts for 8.6 of the value added in agriculture and about 1.8 per cent to GDP.

Expected Losses

It is a major crop which is an essential item for industries like sugarmils, chipboard and paper. Its share in value added of agriculture and GDP is 3.6 and 0.8 per cent, respectively.

Expected Losses

Sugarcane is likely to suffer a loss of Rs 19.351 billion from 7.646 million tons. Its estimated production was 54.834 million tons, and remainder is now 47.188 million tons. Its sown area was 1.047 million hectares and damaged area is 0.146 million hectares. Sugarcane price is calculated at Rs 2500 per ton.

Rice

Economic Importance

It being a non-food cash crop contributes significantly to foreign exchange earning. It accounts for 8.6 of the value added in agriculture and about 1.8 per cent to GDP.

Expected Losses

Rice paddy suffered a damage of Rs 56.386 billion causing a loss 1.597 million tons from earlier estimates of 5.949 4.352 million tons. Now rice crop is estimated at 4.352 million tons. Rice paddy was sown on 2.525 million hectares and damaged area is 0.678 million hectares.

Pulses, vegetables, fruits and fodder

Economic Importance

Their share in GDP are substantial

Expected Losses

It show loss of Rs 97.502 billion and it is sown at 2.8 million hectares and damaged area is 0.588 million hectares. Its total damaged sown area is 1.926 million hectares, while total sown area is 9.57 hectares.

The floods may cut economic growth by up to a half percentage point from the 4 percent growth target for the current fiscal year. The damage to crops, supply disruption of essential food commodities and the impact of reconstruction and rehabilitation costs on government finances has significantly increased inflation risks. According to the joint study of United States Ball State University and University of Tennessee (August 2010), Pakistan may suffer loss of $7 billions due to ongoing super floods. The study estimates structural and content damage in Pakistan to be around $4.3 billion, including $2.1 billion in losses to residential contents and $1 billion to public buildings.

It is also feared that country will face increasing shortages of natural gas and electricity, both in the short and the long term, with existing structures damaged and future supplies threatened. Moreover, flooding, will fall short of the 38.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas it was forecast to produce during ongoing fiscal year, as floods, which have submerged more than 7 million hectares of farmland, forced a halt to production at the nation’s largest gas field at Qadirpur, Sindh province, and led to the closure of pipelines and processing plants.

Islamic Countries’ Response

Pakistan is passing through difficult times of its socio-economic integration and survival due to on going deadly suffer floods. After the appeal of the government many prominent Islamic countries started its unending relief operations in the different parts of the country. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Iran and Uzbekistan being the only country from the CIS launched their humanitarian assistance/relief operations and won the souls and hearts of the common people of Pakistan. Muslim countries, organizations and individuals have pledged nearly $1 billion in cash and relief supplies to help Pakistan respond to the worst floods in the nation’s history Following are the details of their relief operations.

(a) Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has become largest flood relief donor to Pakistan. It has overtaken the US as the largest donor to Pakistan’s flood relief effort after pledging $105m in aid to Pakistan. On the directives of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz his countrymen have separately raised $19 million. Saudi Arabia donated $80 million for the flood relief operations in Pakistan, taking its total contribution to the flood-hit nation to over $100 million. Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz kicked off his campaign for relief with a donation of $5.33 million, followed by Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz donating $2.67 million and Second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz donating $1.33 million for flood relief operations in Pakistan.

The first Saudi relief plane arrived Peshawar on August 4 and 21st arrived in Quetta and caravans of brotherly socio-economic assistance goes on and on in the different parts of the country. The humanitarian supplies transported by the Royal Saudi Air Force consisted of food, medical supplies, tents, blankets and other necessary items. Now, the Saudi government is engaged with establishment of four field hospitals in Pakistan along with the medical team of 300 doctors. Each hospital will be equipped with 200 beds, a pharmacy, an intensive care unit, an x-ray room and an operating room. In addition to providing needed medical supplies and clinics, King Abdullah issued a directive sending rescue teams from the Saudi Civil Defense and Border Guards to Pakistan to participate in rescue operations. The first rescue team left the Kingdom today and the second team is leaving tomorrow.

Most recently, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud visited Pakistan and reassured his country’s commitment for the wellbeing of the flood affected people in the country. He also said that Saudi Arabia will be with government of Pakistan in its rescue, relief and rehabilitation phases in the days to come.

(b) United Arab Emirates

We are passing through a deadly super flood which has already devastated our socio-economic fabric and the UAE is one of the first countries to send aid and aerial transportation and support to flood hit areas of Pakistan. Army Chief General Kayani has made a special visit to the UAE military camp in Pakistan to express his gratitude for this effort. In this time of crisis, President of UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered urgent delivery of relief materials to shelter displaced people in the areas of Pakistan. For compliance of the directives by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation (KBZF), UAE’s Red Crescent authority (UAERCA), Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Foundation and UAE Military Relief Force started their diversified relief operations in different regions. These are still engaged and coordinating with the authorities to speed-up the relief operations in the different parts of the country.

A telethon, “Your Help” was launched by the UAE Red Crescent Authority, in line with the directions of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. A total amount of AED 85 million was collected so far during the telethon campaign. Among the prominent donors are Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA), generously granted Dh1 million, Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and honorary head of the RCA, kindly deposited Dh5 million, and Shaikha Aisha Bint Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, approved Dh3 million. Moreover, Maximus Air Cargo, a part of Abu Dhabi Aviation Group has pledged three free of charge cargo flights to Pakistan during the UAE Telethon for Pakistan. A delegation from the UAE’s National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) has visited Pakistan

Most recently, Dubai Islamic Foundation (DIF), a non-profit charitable foundation and a subsidiary of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has donated an amount of Dh15 million to provide aid for the flood victims in Pakistan.

Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation

It started its humanitarian operations in many parts of Pakistan. KBZF was among the first foreign aid agency/organization that responded on and intensified our humanitarian and relief works in various regions. Balochistan was the first place of its relief operation activities. Afterwards, it launched its relief operations in the most affected areas of Swat, Peshawar, Nowshera and Ranjanpur. Now KBZF is engaged in Southern Punjab and trying its levels best to help the wandering souls of hapless and hopeless massive population. More precisely, it distributing tents, bags of wheat flour, bags of lentil, food packages, dry fruit, dry milk, beans, cloths, basic medical kits, biscuits, and canned food stuff.

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Foundation

It handed over many tons of food consisting of canned foods stuffs and 11 tonnes of tarpaulin sheet “tents” which expands to accommodate more than 8500 families in these most affected areas in the country. They are also planning more aid distribution to needy/deserving people especially children and old-aged people.

UAE Red Crescent Authority

Secretary General of UAE Red Crescent, Mohamed Khalifa Ahmed Al Qamzi and Ali Saif Al Awani, UAE Ambassador in Islamabad, meet with the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Haider Khan Hoti in Peshawar today as a part of their tour to analyze the situation of floods affected people and their basic needs. In the meeting Al Qamzi briefed him about the different relief operations carrying by Red Crescent for the affected families in all the provinces. He further said that it shows our brotherly concerns, true human emotions and signs of solidarity with the people of Pakistan in their difficult times. . The RCA is preparing to donate/distribute 200000 fully equipped tents (shelter house) to homeless people

Upon directives from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, The Red Crescent Authority sent many cargo planes loaded with tons of relief supplies for the flood affected people. It is now engaged with Internally Displaced Persons) in Nowshera. The RCA will deliver 1500 iftar packaged meals daily in the city as part of its escalating relief efforts to improve health and living conditions of affected families. A field clinic has been established in the city to offer the floods-affected population with free healthcare. Moreover, it will provide its diagnostic and curative services to about 300,000 people in the city

Foodstuff, tents, medicine, children’s food and clothes are being directly distributed to deserving people. Most recently, about 227 tons of dates and another 40 tons of food and sheltering assistance were airlifted by the UAE air bridge to Rahim Yar Khan for helping the floods affected people. It is engaged with the health preventive programme in coordination with the UNICEF in the country. It established a field hospital to work hand in hand with Ibrahimi hospital in Peshawar. UAERCA also remained busy in the massive vaccination drive in the floods affected areas. It is also working on equipping a team of medics and paramedics to reinforce the medical mission on ground in Jacobabad.

UAE Military Relief Force

The UAE Military Relief Force operated an air bridge between the flood-hit areas and delivery relief stations. It is carrying inter-provincial airlifting of relief goods. It allocated three Chinook helicopters to airlift and drop relief items to areas ravaged by floods and rescue victims. The team and Armed Forces of Pakistan are assisting the distressed population to safe areas and airlift relief supplies to flood engulfed areas which could not be reached by land. UAE aircraft are also carrying relief assistance offered by friendly countries from main airports to locations of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The fleet of Chinook planes stationed at the Pakistan Air Force Base in Multan have so far transported more than 110 tons of relief goods and handed over to the Army operating in the floods affected areas identified by the government.

(c) Iran

The government of Iran keeps on sending relief goods for assisting the distressed massive population in the most affected areas of floods. The Iranian convoy included more than 150 tons of food, shelter and medical supplies. Iran’s second convoy was comprised of 83 tons of bread, canned food and rescue tents. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the President of Iran also showed great commitments to visit Pakistan in order to streamline the Iranian relief operations in Pakistan.

(d) Turkey

Turkey has so far sent $10 million and humanitarian aid materials worth more than $2 million to Pakistan to help the disaster affected people. Turkey has already sent its fourth cargo plane which carries 35 tons of humanitarian aid to flood-hit areas of the country. It establishes two fully equipped mobile hospitals. Turkish cargo planes are full of medicine, food, clothing and tents. President Abdullah Gül has called on Turks to extend a helping hand to Pakistan, devastated by floods. Moreover, it is also planning to send supplies by train. In cooperation with the Turkish State Railways (TCDD), the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) is going to send 500 tons of aid supplies to Islamabad by train.

(e) Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan was the first CIS which responded on time and sent meaningful relief goods to Pakistan and endorsed its brotherly commitment towards the noble cause of helping deserving people in the most affected areas of super floods. It delivered 40 tons of cargo, including 50 thousand canned baby food, 10 tons of flour, 3 tons of rice, 5 tons of pure water, 6 thousand adult and children’s shoes, clothing, tents, blankets, medicines, food and other items worth 0.3 million USD. Hatam Jan Abdulazizov, Deputy Minister for Emergencies of Uzbekistan, who accompanied the aid has expressed on behalf of the Government and People of Uzbekistan deepest condolences, wished quick recovery and said that the Uzbek Nation would always stand by the Pakistani People in their sorrows.

Concluding Remarks

Marco-economy of Pakistan is feeling the heat from the ongoing super floods and has already been compromised. Colossal super floods of the century has wrecked agriculture, livestock and ruined infrastructure. It has badly dinted power generation sector of the country. Poverty, unemployment, inflation, urbanization and the last not the least incidents of militancy would be increased afterwards. Political divide may also be enhanced between the rural and urban regions. It is feared that sentiments of alienation, depression, frustration and human agonies would be on the rise if not managed properly throughout the country. Political leadership must rise above any prejudice, divide, scheme, conspiracy, and blame game to lessen the miseries of wandering souls of hapless, hopeless and homeless population in the floods affected areas. General masses should also come forward for the genuine help of needy and deserving people. In order to avoid that kind of natural calamity again by building many small and medium dams in the country otherwise, the next catastrophe would be more fatal and deadly.


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