A critical analysis of 2010 floods in Pakistan
Hashim Nisar Hashmi1, Qazi Tallat Mahmood Siddiqui1*, Abdul Razzaq Ghumman1, Mumtaz Ahmed Kamal1 and Habib ur Rehman Mughal2 1 2
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila, Pakistan. Department of Civil Engineering, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. Accepted 16 December, 2011
Pakistan has diverse geography with Northern alpines covered with glaciers and Southern Plains bordering the Arabian Sea. There are five big rivers flowing through the country from north to south namely the mighty Indus and its tributaries, that is, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej. There is a well marked monsoon season from July to mid September in which most of the country receives rainfall. Riverine flooding is common in the low lying areas along the rivers during monsoon season while flash flooding is also experienced in hilly and semi hilly areas. Since its creation, Pakistan has faced severe floods in 1950, 1956, 1957, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1988, 1992 and now in 2010. These floods affected the basins of the rivers in Punjab and Sindh. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Balochistan, Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), Gilgit Baltistan(G-B), Azad Jammu and Kashmir(AJK) and in some areas of Punjab, damages are caused mainly due to flash floods in secondary and tertiary rivers including hill torrents. Pakistan has suffered from the worst flood of its history in monsoon season of 2010. As per Damage Need Assessment (DNA) report of ADB /World Bank, the floods affected an area of 2 about 160,000 km (one fifth of the country), claiming about 1,985 lives, damaging around 1.5 million houses, wiping out cropped area of more than 17 million acres, displacing a population of about 20 million and resulting in economic loss of PKR 10 Billion. Pakistan needs to do all it can to stop weather disasters becoming catastrophes and to protect people from future catastrophic flood disasters and increase the resilience of infrastructure, economies and communities including better emergency warning and evacuation systems, better flood protection for key infrastructure and plans to help communities recover once the waters recede. There is immense need for effective technical planning for flood damage mitigation in the country. This paper critically discusses in detail the causes and mechanism of 2010 flood on country wide basis. To prevent future catastrophic flood disasters, the priority improvements have been identified and recommendations have been made for effective flood risk management in the country. Key words: Flood management, flood damage mitigation, 2010 Pakistan flood.
INTRODUCTION Inundations due to floods have the potential to cause fatalities, displacement of people, and damage to the environment and thus severely compromise economic development. Flooding accounts for 40% of all the natural hazards worldwide and half of all the deaths caused by natural disasters (Ohl and Tapsell, 2000; Jonkman and Vrijling, 2008). Floods are natural phenomena which cannot be prevented; nevertheless, some human activities contribute to an increase in the likelihood and adverse impacts of ﬂood events ( European Parliament Council, 2007). First, the reduction of the natural water retention by inappropriate land use and river management (e.g. continuous embankments) increases the scale and the frequency of ﬂoods. Recent analyses investigated such effects on ﬂood hazard (Wooldridge et al., 2001; Camorani et al., 2006). Second, there has been an increasing vulnerability of
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Hashmi et al.
ﬂood-prone areas because of the growing number...