Rain-induced floods are not unforeseen occurrences like earthquakes that are, as yet, unpredictable. Weather pundits have, for months, been warning of a deluge that could result from heavy rains they foresaw falling across the country during the current monsoon season. And their forecasts are no longer mere conjectures; they are based on hard scientific conclusions. If, despite all that, we have been found napping, it is the government that is to blame.

An unremitting spell of lashing rains have caused towns and villages to be hit by floods, buildings to collapse and kill the inmates, crops to be destroyed and animals to drown. Sindh and Balochistan have, ironically, suffered the most because large parts of these provinces used to have much less rains. The downpour has also done damage in KPK and Punjab, but of a lesser degree, although the season is not yet over and the predictions are dire.

The figure of deaths is being constantly revised higher, and so far no less than 75 have lost their lives. The areas in the country that are the worst hit have, unfortunately, hardly any preventive mechanism in place. For instance, even army ports in Karachi have been submerged and Hyderabad has a flood emergency declared. Heavy cloudbursts are a long-established yearly phenomenon and can not be excused by any logic as occasional vagaries of weather.

The pity is that the devastation could have been avoided. At the local level, the drainage system needs to be improved. Suspending officials whenever such happenings take place is hardly the solution.

However, the best and the permanent solution of the problem for the country as a whole is, no doubt time consuming, the construction of large reservoirs in northern parts of Pakistan to capture the heavy flow of water to be utilised not only for flood prevention, but also generating electricity and supplying assured and regulated water downstream.

Other than the politicised issue of Kalabagh Dam, there are a number of sites where big reservoirs could be built. But those who should have planned and begun work long ago were either busy preserving their hold on power or lining their pockets rather than work for the country. One would hope that the PML-N leadership loses no time to take up these projects to ward off floods in the future and get other benefits to boot.