A total lack of seriousness when it comes down to the necessary nitty-gritty of dealing with both the existing and potential catastrophic effects of climate change has pushed Pakistan into a fast descending spiral of utter hopelessness right across the board: A situation exacerbated by political shenanigans, human greed and a dangerously escalating social imbalance, which no one - absolutely no one - appears to have the slightest interest in reversing. Face to face conferences, video conferences via satellite and meetings of many kinds and at a many levels, from the very top downwards, can no longer disguise the indisputable fact that nothing of a concrete nature is actually happening to prevent unimaginable, to most, future 'natural catastrophes from further decimating an already suffering population, especially the countless millions of 'ordinary people struggling to survive in what can only be described as a level of poverty that should not exist in a country such as Pakistan which, despite reports and manufactured impressions to the contrary, is far from being a poor nation in financial terms. It is only necessary to look around at the lifestyle and taken for granted expectations of a sizeable percentage of the population, along with the accoutrements they 'acquire, in order to realistically confirm the latter point. According to a recently released report by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, the number of people in Sindh to be affected by this years monsoon generated flooding is exactly 8,920,631, with approximately 599,224 of those affected currently being 'catered for in relief camps set up under various umbrellas across the province and the others making do and salvaging what they can from a situation which, as there was more than ample warning, could have been, if not completely then at least partially, avoided. The number of humans adversely impact by flooding is vastly outnumbered by the loss of valuable livestock and initially surveys, as conducted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, indicate that somewhere in the region of three-quarters of essential food crops in southern Sindh have also been washed away and this loss of meat, dairy and food products is bound to affect consumers, already having a hard time obtaining adequate nutrition as a direct result of rampant inflation and rising unemployment, throughout the length and breadth of the country. Pakistan, by the way, is already included in the list of 20 countries in which 80 percent of the worlds malnourished children reside and has also recently been listed, in the globally recognised Maple Croft Climate Change Vulnerability Index, as the 16th most at risk country in the world, this ranking being increased from its 29th position of just last year. It goes without saying that much of the damage caused by the monumental floods of 2010 has not yet been rectified and the little that was done was of a 'temporary nature and thus could not hold up to this years onslaught and, no doubt, another bout of inadequate repair and patch up, from which only favoured contractors reap any lasting reward, will be initiated during the coming weeks and months only to be swept away once more if there is, and, according to climate watch scientists, this is a distinct possibility, yet another repeat performance in 2012. Add to the above that while vast areas of inhabited and agricultural lands have been inundated by floodwater twice in two years, that other once productive regions are undergoing drought for the fourth year in a row and countrywide food security implications are clearly being further and further eroded and will, ultimately and, perhaps, not all that far into the future, reach critical level as far as the majority of the countrys residents are concerned and will, finally and due to cost factors, make even the 'haves sit up and take notice. With climate change now being a confirmed global reality and, in Pakistan at least, seasonal floods and droughts expected to become part and parcel of existence, it would surely make sense to harvest and save every single drop of rain that falls anywhere in the country, storing this bounty for use in periods of drought and thus averting floods; without essential water humans cannot survive and neither can the diverse forms of agriculture which have, until lately, been the countrys nutritional and economic backbone. The current government, however, while set to celebrate the foundation laying ceremony of the Diamir-Basha Dam tomorrow (October 18th), does not, as far as the writer is aware, have any plans whatsoever to construct relatively low cost water storage facilities at every conceivable point along the waterways - large, small and purely seasonal - crisscrossing the country. Such storage facilities need not be damns, but could simply be reservoirs that could be tapped for household, agricultural or industrial use as and when required although, where suitable and feasible, it would make sense to first use this stored water for hydropower generation no matter if only for 'local and decentralised consumption, rather than being fed into the national grid. Undertaking climate change innovations and precautions does not necessarily mean seeking international assistance, as the government is currently doing: It simply means correctly and sensibly making full and wise use of indigenous resources, including Pakistani brain and manpower, to get the job done on an emergency basis and before the country is hit by yet another avoidable catastrophe. The writer is author of The Gun Tree: One Womans War (Oxford University Press, 2001) and lives in Bhurban. Email: zahrahnasir@hotmail.com