South Asia Monitor: Pakistan Floods: Internally Displaced People and the Human Impact
October 26, 2010
Pakistan’s floods have submerged one-fifth of the country, bringing destruction and deprivation to some 20 million people. Some 1,800 are dead and about 3,000 are injured, but the major impact is in property damage and, looking ahead, disruption of millions of people’s livelihood. Millions lost homes and possessions. Displaced people who return confront massive dislocation. The experience has left the civilian government even more dependent on the army than before. The social, economic, and political consequences will be with us for a long time; they present both a problem and an opportunity for building a better system.
The floods that began last July are on a scale that not seen in Pakistan for at least a century. Unlike the earthquake that shattered Azad Kashmir five years ago, this was not a one-time event but a rolling disaster. The floodwaters worked their way down the backbone of the country, starting in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and moving relentlessly through Punjab and Sindh. The water arrived in a rush and departed slowly. Not until mid-October had the floods receded from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, and Punjab, while areas of Sindh continue to be submerged.