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What is a Flood?
A flood is a large body of water in areas where it becomes destructive and
impedes the natural cycle of living organisms. A flood may be the result of long
periods of heavy rain, or rivers or lakes that overflow their banks. High
temperatures can also cause flooding when it causes ice caps and snow to melt
quickly. Heavy floods can be disastrous that infrastructure is washed away,
people and animals drown, and people can be stranded for long periods.
Advantages of Floods:
Floods can distribute large amounts of water and suspended river sediment
over vast areas. In many areas, this sediment helps replenish valuable topsoil
components to agricultural lands and can keep the elevation of a land mass
above sea level.
When the water of the river overflows, it spreads to the forests and carries the
seeds of different plants with it from one place to another. In this way, these
plants start growing in various areas, thereby increasing the percentage of land
covered with forests.
A significant portion of land absorbs the flood water is absorbed in the earth.
In this way the levels of ground water are restored. This is called Recharging
The occurrence of floods increases the frequency of the development of river
Preserving of ecosystem.
Disadvantages of Floods:
Loss of lives and vegetation.
Infrastructure damage to industries will reduce employment as people would
be laid off by the industries.
Loss to economy in damages.
Foreign loans for reconstruction will increase debt on the economy.
Damage to crops.
Year Direct loss
Lost lives Affected
area (sq km)
2010 10000 1985 17553 160000
2011 3730 516 38700 27581
2012 2640 571 14159 4746
Causes of Floods in Pakistan
Heavy concentrated rainfall in monsoon season in river catchments and meltin
of snow in northern areas.
Monsoon currents originating from Bay of Bengal often result in heavy rainfall
in Himalayan foothills
In some cases, floods are caused by landslides or glacial movement and their
Improper drainage system to cope with heavy rains in cities.
Inadequate discharge capacity of dams and barrages on River Indus, Jhelum,
Villages built on adjacent river banks. The riverine areas should be prohibited
by the government for inhabitation.
Impact of Global Warming
According to experts from World Meteorological Organization (WMO) climate
change is a major contributing factor of extreme rainfall in months of July and
In 2007, UN scientific body report of IPCC(Intergovernmental Panel of Climate
“ The floods of the kind that hit Pakistan may become more frequent and more
Intense in the future in the same region and other parts of the world.”
According to WMO the floods in Pakistan fit the climate change pattern.
• 2010 Floods Characteristics:
The worst floods ever in the region ‘s history of 80 years.
Devastated areas from Gilgit-Baltistan to Kotri (Sindh).
Started on 22 July after few hours of rainfall in Balochistan flooding the
Second spell took place by unexpected rainfall in KPK affecting Punjab and
ADB has estimated the cost of flood damages to irrigation, drainage and
flood protection infrastructure at RS 23.60 billion and a reconstruction cost
around Rs 83 billion.
• Flooding pattern during Flood Season, 2010:
Triggered by Indus and its tributaries which affected all 4 provinces
Affected vast basin areas of rivers of KPK, Punjab, Sindh and parts of
Flash floods from rains on hills.
Flood damage and destruction
Irrigation Infrastructure Damages:
Irrigation infrastructure such as barrages were damaged. Such as
Jinnah Barrage, Taunsa and Guddu barrages
TP link canal
Head regulators, Drains and Flood embankments
Tori and Ghauspur bunds.
Punjab: Rs 15.5 billion
Sindh: Rs 52 billiion
KPK : Rs 11.5 billion
Balochistan: Rs 3.75 billion
(Source: Annual Flood Report 2010)
Damage to Power sector:
KPK suffered the highest damage.
Transmission lines and distribution system was heavily damaged
Powerhouses of KAPCO and Muzaffargarh shut down due to floods
Restoration cost estimated at Rs 13 billion
Total damages result in RS 855 billion ($10 billion)
Direct Damage was Rs 552 billion
Indirect Damage was Rs 303 billion
Pakistan’s Flood Policy
National Water Policy:
Prepared in 2005 and addresses all water related issues in the country
The policy provides a framework through which flood management can be
improved through necessary institutional and legal reforms.
The policy consists of all possible structural and non structural methods for
Proposes to create Federal Water Commission which should consist of Federal
Flood Commission, part of planning of WAPDA and Office of Chief Engineering
Recommends strengthens of public & private research in fields of weather
forecasting and flood forecasting.
The document also advises to see floods as a resource rather than a natural
disaster and harness the numerous benefits of flooding through developing
flood mitigation measures.
Federal Flood Commission
Preparation of national flood protection plans.
Approval of flood control schemes prepared by provincial governments and
concerned federal agencies.
Review of flood damages to public sector infrastructure and review of plans of
plans for restoration and reconstruction.
Measures for improvements in flood forecasting and warning system.
Standardization of designs and specifications for flood protection works.
Assessment and monitoring relating to progress of implementation of national
flood protection plan (nfpp)
Preparation of research program for flood control and protection.
Recommendations regarding principles of regulation of reservoirs for flood
An integrated flood management plan should be as follows
1. Problem: How to reduce flooding?
Construct dams and reservoirs and flood embankments including
maintenance of existing framework by removing siltation in reservoirs.
Development of irrigation, drainage and other water management activities
Watershed management: a practice of re-afforestation of the catchment
areas to reduce the velocity of the flood. It is mainly done on hilly areas. It can
only be done in areas with abundant rainfall so as to support the growth of
Strengthen irrigation channels by cementing the eroded lining. Periodically
replenish the flood embankments.
2. Problem: How to reduce susceptibility to damage?
Floodplain regulation: this mainly consist of
a) Development policies restricting construction and economic development in
b) Housing and building codes restricting encroachment and development of
infrastructure and industries.
c) Flood resistant crops should be sown only. Other crops should be prohibited
Flood forecasting and warning system:
a) Improving communication technology by acquiring latest equipment for
b) Up gradation of weather forecasting equipment in various weather stations
by installing more accurate weather radars.
c) Installing a computer based Flood Early warning System (FEWS)
d) Floodplain mapping and computer based analysis of Indus river for
determining risk of floods.
3. Problem: How to lessen the impact of flooding?
Information and education of the village people regarding floods and how to
respond to warnings.
Warning system should be reliable.
Flood insurance should be introduced by government to compensate the
Disaster preparedness: This includes,
a) Sufficient and efficient transport system for mobility of staff.
b) More effective patrolling of bunds.
c) Strengthening of communication system by providing additional wireless
equipment and internet for flood affected areas.
d) Post flood recovery.
4. Problem: How to preserve natural resources of Floodplains?
The study of floodplains to determine which areas are flood prone and which are
not. This will result in optimized utilization of lands. By dividing floodplains into
zones the government will be able to construct buildings in floodplains
efficiently to prevent flooding.