Devastating rains, flooding, collapsed roofs, are once again the scene that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Gilgit-Baltistan and northern areas of the country are witnessing, with the death toll escalating to 65 in just 24 hours. Land sliding and weak infrastructure have been the biggest causes of death, much like every year since the past three years. Last month as well, torrential rains coupled with flash floods and land sliding hit the region from March 9-19, causing widespread destruction in FATA and KP killing over 60 people.

Rainfall and flooding in the Peshawar valley caused the Bara Khowar lake to overflow. Most of the commercial areas were washed away instantly while people scrambled in the gushing water to save their belongings; an absolute no-no in such conditions. The total figure of those who lost their lives this year due to flooding and poor preparedness stands well over a 100, a number that could have been significantly lower, had the government formulated a contingency plan and enforced it with a pressing urgency.

Perhaps it is not fair to place the entire blame on the government as weather anomalies are becoming more complicated by the year and Pakistan is truly beginning to understand what fury nature can unleash due to global warming. The fact of the matter is that even though K-P has increased its total climate-related expenditure by 88% over the four years from 2010 to 2014 - in terms of rupees, spending has jumped from Rs13 billion to Rs24.4 billion – the procedures to deal with crisis remain redundant and understanding of the importance of focusing on preparedness and education is missing. Plans of installing proper viable early warning systems remain elusive at best.

The first rule for being safe is to head for higher ground and stay away from floodwaters. Even the most basic safety procedures are not being followed let alone investing in the installation of high-tech weather warning systems. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving floodwater produces more force than most people imagine, and hence education is key instead of letting people experience death and devastation first hand. It is important that the community be in direct contact with local emergency management offices for timely information and warning dissemination. The key is to localise the information by printing the phone numbers of local emergency services offices in newspapers and informing them of where to turn for emergency broadcast information should they hear a warning on their radio or television. Flashfloods are sudden and deadly the government must step up its efforts to focus on pre disaster preparedness instead of spending million on post-flood relief.