Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Floods;lack of a communication protocol

Federal Flood Commissioner claims that advance information was conveyed to government some times in June,more than a month before the advent of floods.The same info as not shared with public.It does not appear that even provincial governments were informed either.Had the issue been discussed widely even among government circles,the media would have picked it up.It is quite obvious that the flood info was kept as a closely guarded secret.There are three possible explanations;there is always a possibility ,however small,that flood and weather forecast does not come out to be true;advance information may spread untimely panic among people;and that exact timing could not have been possibly predicted.Flood warning ,as per routine,was issued 3-6 hours before.That is too short a warning for such a horrendous flood.

Even a guarded discussion in the media could have provided some time and guidance to the people to do some advance planning to save their lives and property.Floods are not like earth quakes.After all people know and have experienced floods in the past,especially those who live in riverine areas.Perhaps there is no Communication Policy in this regard.Such an issue should not be left on the whims and opinions of the reigning administrators.It should be a formal procedure based on research and evaluation.Communication is among many other issues that have been found wanting due to the lack of a formal Flood Management Policy substituting an obscure manual that is reportedly catching dust and no body seems to have access to it.We will discuss the Flood Policy issue in some detail later.

If nothing else cattles could have been saved.President Zardari has earlier spoken about fixing a micro-chip onto the cattles ,in order to be able to locate them in emergency or in case of loss and theft.This could also facilitate cattle insurance scheme as a part of flood insurance or independent of it.Let us implement it sooner than later.NADRA's technology and infrastructure would prove handy in this respect.

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