Field note from Pakistan floods: preventing future flood disasters
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Unusually heavy monsoon rains in Northern Pakistan have caused disproportionate levels of extreme flooding and unprecedented flood losses across the entire Indus River basin. Extensive land use changes and environmental degradation in the uplands and lowlands of the river basin together with the construction of a “built environment” out of balance with the functioning, capacities, scale and limits of the local ecosystems have exposed millions of people to an increased risk of extreme #ooding. The catastrophic nature of the August #ooding provides a unique opportunity to fundamentally change Pakistan’s current socio-economic development path by incorporating disaster risk reduction and climate change measures into the post-disaster recovery process to rebuild a safer, more resilient nation. In January 2005 one hundred and sixty-eight nations adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA)2005-2015 to bring about a “substantial reduction in disaster losses” by 2015. Despite this global initiative a series of major disasters, including the recent flooding in Pakistan, all indicate that we are not on track to achieve the substantial reduction of disaster losses. The following fieldnote considers what can be done to accelerate progress towards implementation of the Hyogo Framework, drawing on insights and lessons learnt from the August flooding to understand how Pakistan and neighbouring countries can prevent a repeat of such catastrophic disasters in future years.