The government says it plans to seek international financial assistance for the long-term recovery and infrastructure enhancements, including new dams. But officials also insist that they will do their part, cognizant of the role that deforestation, excess siltation and poor maintenance played in the disaster.
Is 'mega-afforestation' in the works?
Afridi, Pakistan's environment minister, said in an interview that legislation is being prepared that will create a comprehensive forestry policy in Pakistan. The bill, scheduled to go before the Cabinet soon, would promote "mega-afforestation" while implementing better monitoring and enforcement to clamp down on the timber mafia and illegal logging, he said.
But Afridi insists the international community needs to chip in with the necessary funding support.
"We are on track for the forest policy," said Afridi. "As far as the road map is concerned, that is properly done. But still we are short of some finances." Afridi says his government will look to sources like the World Bank and U.N. agencies to provide financial and technical support for environmental controls.
Many Pakistani environmentalists urge donors not to turn from the meteorological evidence that suggests climate change is a major factor in this year's devastation.
Hafiz Ehsan Qazi, an environmental specialist who advises Pakistani nonprofit groups, acknowledges his government and society's culpability in the disaster. But that shouldn't leave the rich world off the hook, he said.
"We must not forget that the global changes, global warming, is at a very alarming stage and something should be done," said Qazi. "In this global warming, unfortunately, Pakistan has not contributed much ... but the effect is on Pakistan."
More immediately, regular Pakistanis hit hard by the floods simply want the world to help them get their lives back to normal. Kiran, and 8-year-old forced into a camp from her home in Nawan Killi, near Mardan, says the misery and monotony of waiting for help is becoming unbearable.
"Each morning starts with stress: No water, OK, go find water after mom thrusts few containers in my hands. So off we go in search to get some water," Kiran said. "I am fed up of this routine since two months now. I feel like I want to run away from this nightmare."
Saadia Haq contributed to this report.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500