New big dams indispensable for Pakistan, says COAS
Urges world to come forward to help Pakistan tackle climate change issue | Asks Sindh people to also contribute to flood aid for their brothers
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Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa Saturday said it was indispensable for Pakistan to construct large dams to combat the devastation of floods caused by climate change.
Talking to the media, the army chief rued that Pakistan was contributing less than one percent of emissions in the world but facing the dire consequences of climate change due to the follies of others.
He said it is the responsibility of the world to come forward now and help Pakistan tackle the issues created due to climate change.
The army chief said the world has to resort to clean energy for the future of the planet and should stop using coal and fuel-based generation of electricity.
The army chief said the construction of big dams was indispensable for Pakistan however he said he cannot say where we should construct the dams.
However, the army chief said they have to construct big dams at different places including Swat so that Pakistan could have ample water reservoirs as well as could generate electricity in a greener way.
During his visit to far-flung areas of interior Sindh in Dadu district, COAS spent time with flood-affected people in relief & medical camps.
COAS directed the formation for providing 5000 tents to flood affected people of Dadu and surrounding areas. COAS also interacted with troops busy in rescue & relief activities.
Later, COAS was flown for aerial reconnaissance of flood affected areas of Dadu, Khairpur Nathan Shah, Johi, Meher and Manchar Lake.
COAS said he has visited many areas hit by the floods but after visiting Dadu it has been the most devastated area that has been affected by the floods.
He said Manchar Laake and Hamal Lake have become one despite being apart 100km from each other and have played havoc in the area.
COAS said the rescue work has been almost completed in other flood-hit areas of the country, however, the rescue and relief work is still in the process in Dadu as there are around one million population that have affected by the floods.
The Chief of Army Staff said they were getting funds and aid from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, however, he appealed to people living in urban and rural Sindh to come forward also to help their brothers.
He said they are getting aid from friendly countries yet that has a limitation and we should help our brothers ourselves to compete with this challenge.
He said rehabilitation of the flood affectees is the biggest challenge. He said they were fully prepared for the floods caused by the rivers.
However, he rued that when an area that usually receives rain of 50mm in the whole year receives 1700mm in one week, all such preparations were futile as they were not prepared for such a calamity.
The COAS said the hill torrents on the west bank of the Sindh river caused huge damage.
He said the government had conducted a study through a Holland-based firm in 2017 to adapt countermeasures for floods caused by the overflowing of the rivers but now they have to revisit this study as a new phenomenon has emerged and that would persist in future as well.
He said they have to figure out how to counter this devastation caused on the west side of the River Indus that whether we have to construct dams in this area or drainage systems if we did not take such measures the people here would continue to suffer.
He said they had started work on these lines and he has tasked the engineer corps in this regard and they would brief all the chief ministers and prime minister next week so that the work could be started on these lines.
He said they have also invited international experts to seek their opinion in this regard.
Regarding the homeless people, the COAS proposed to make a pre-fab village that could be erected in a few days.
He said they are selecting a place in Balochistan or Sindh for making this village where a 2 bedroom, one kitchen and one bathroom house can be constructed in Rs0.5milllion and has a long lifespan of around 50 t0 100 years.
He said if such a village could be erected at some high place then these people would be safer and their quality of life would also be improved.
He said they are also facing health-related challenges as different diseases including dengue, malaria and waterborne diseases pose a great challenge to them.
He said especially in Dadu the situation is critical and they are moving additional troops and medical battalions in the area to work with the civil administration.
He said every challenge has opportunities as well and they have learnt a lot after experiencing such a devastating situation and hoped that they could improve the living standards of the people here with the help of the government.
He said the water level of the Manchar Lake will start receding as soon as the flood in River Sindh subsided as they would redirect the water to the River Sindh.
However, he said for low-lying areas including Khairpur and Sukkur they have to do the de-watering through pumps or make a drainage system.
He said, however, in the long term they needed to work on developing a drainage system and make delayed action dams.