The recent floods in Pakistan were due to global warming and a change in extreme weather conditions,which may cause more floods and droughts in the country in future,World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan Coordinator Nasir Panhwar has said.
Panhwar emphasized that deforestation,burning of fossil fuels,unplanned development in coastal areas and misuse of natural resources were some of the factors causing climate changes.
According to a WWF report,over 99,711 acres of forestland in Punjab and 27,874 acres in Sindh have been cleared for non-forest uses while forest cover of over 4.242 million hectares in 1992,has declined to 3.44 million hectares.
Another WWF Pakistan official,Saleem Shaikh,said that his organization was conducting a detailed assessment to evaluate various ecological and environmental changes resulting from the floods.
It is a good opportunity for the Sindh Forest Department to utilize all available resources in reviving forests by spreading seeds in inundated riverine areas before the floodwater recedes, the ‘Daily Times’ quoted Shaikh,as saying.
Revival of riverine forests will have promising socio-economic and environmental impacts as these forests not only provide a sustainable source of fodder for the livestock but also help in improving climatic conditions, he added.
The worst floods in Pakistans history,triggered by torrential monsoon downpours in July,had claimed the lives of over 1,900 people and disrupted the lives of over 21 million people,eight per cent of the population.
The floods first struck the western province of Baluchistan on July 22 before inundating the worst-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and then entering Punjab and Sindh.
It is estimated that over two million homes were damaged or destroyed.
The Asian Development Bank and the World Bank have estimated that the floods inflicted 9.5 billion dollars losses to Pakistans economy.