|Pakistan Rain and Snow. Source: AccuWeather|
Unusually wet weather in arid Balochistan has caused deaths, injuries, property losses and displacement of people. At least 13 people are dead and dozens have been injured in the province. In addition, 1,970 houses having collapsed, 565 buildings partially damaged and 227 shops destroyed, according to Balochistan Disaster Management Agency.
Lack of rain and snow has caused recurring droughts in Pakistan since 2000 hitting hard the local population in many parts of Pakistan, Islamic Relief NGO reported February 11. The situation since 2013 has been particularly alarming due to 74% decrease in rainfall impacting hard on water management, agriculture, livestock, health, food security and livelihoods. It is in this context that the heavy snow and rains are being welcomed in the country. This offers at least temporary relief in a drought-stricken land.
The big picture is that Pakistan remains beset by a severe water crisis that could pose an existential threat if nothing is done to deal with it. The total per capita water availability is about 900 cubic meters per person, putting the country in the water-stressed category. Agriculture sector uses about 95% of the available water. There are significant opportunities to achieve greater efficiency by using drip irrigation systems being introduced in Punjab. The New Water Policy of 2018 is a good start but it requires continued attention with greater investments and focus to deal with all aspects of the crisis.
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