Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) Tandojam and the Centre for Business and Economic Research (CBER), Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi jointly organized a special webinar on “Floods 2022: Situation, Response, Blind Spots, and Way Forward” on Thursday.
Addressing the webinar Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan said that HEC has created a sizable research fund to support evidence-based and solution-oriented research to address current and future natural disasters. He said that the country’s universities, researchers, and experts have great responsibilities, and we will all open new doors to problem-oriented research and in this context, special decisions will be made for the students of all the universities.
Fazullilah Qureshi, Former Federal Secretary, Planning Commission pointed out that floods may be a national catastrophe but of different magnitude for different provinces and suggested that Sindh is the worst hit due to faulty projects such as LBOD.
Dr Fateh Muhammad Marri, Vice Chancellor SAU, provided the status of the current situation of the disaster, He said that late varieties of different crops and short-duration crops should be introduced in the country and farmer guidance programs should be started. He emphasized the loss of economic activity, future productions, missed opportunities, and the limited capacity of human resources.
Dr Iqrar Ahmed Khan, Vice Chancellor University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) highlighted that drainage is the main issue for Sindh province due to its location and it requires attention. He also suggested that while providing food items to affected households, feed for their livestock may also be part of their relief package.
Dr Mubarik Ahmed from Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) said that the agriculture losses to the country are huge, and among other crops, some 80% of the cotton in Sindh and 100% of the cotton crop in Balochistan are affected. He warned that the disaster would result in reduced exports and increase our dependence on food and seed imports.
Dr Abdul Rehman talked about damage to cities and pointed toward increased incidences of domestic violence, child labor, and various forms of harassment that often slip from disaster response initiatives.
Mr Naseer Memon said that the encroachment in the rural and urban areas is the underlying cause of the flood-induced disaster and held weak institutional capacity and lack of political is responsible for that.
Dr Shereen Narejo, Former Chairperson of Planning and Development Department (P&D) Sindh said that the issue of population growth is often missed in climate discourse and emphasized that disaster is our collective problem and requires collective action.
Dr Junaid Alam Memon, Director CBER, moderated the webinar and set the context by introducing the speakers.