One year ago Thursday, Pakistan experienced the worst flooding in its recorded history. Pakistanis and the international community marked the anniversary as a national tragedy, but also with awareness that this year’s monsoons are coming.
A year after massive floods devastated huge parts of Pakistan, hundreds of thousands of people still live in camps.
Initially, attention focused on the immediate crisis. But now it is on rebuilding the devastated region.
Promises of some $600 million in aid have not arrived.
Sammi says her family moved in the immediate aftermath. "When we first got here there were facilities for us. but they have since been takien away. Now people just come and talk and talk but they do not give us any help."
The floods were of an unprecedented scale. Nearly the entire Indus River Basin was underwater. Pakistani authorities struggled to cope.
The international community responded with the largest U.N.-aid program to date.
There has been criticism that the Pakistani government did not respond to the crisis quickly enough, or with enough foresight.
But U.N. Special Envoy to Pakistan, Rauf Engin Soysal says the severity of the flooding would have been hard to imagine beforehand. He says, along with the significant international help, it is down to the strength of the people of Pakistan that the country did not suffer more.
“What are the lessons we are drawing? Yes, we are drawing lessons but the main lesson is to put the very center focal point your respect for and the admiration for the resilience and the courage and the strength of the Pakistani people,” Soysal said.
One of the main lessons that many experts say can be drawn from the flooding is that of coordination -- not only of international aid but also of local authorities. This lack of coordination was a major challenge in the speed of the response to the disaster.
U.N. officials also say that preparing for disasters is vital. They say every $1 spent in preparation is equal to $4 in response.
With this year’s monsoon season still on its way, there are concerns another heavy downfall could make things worse for those people still suffering.
Some localized flooding is expected, but nowhere near the scale of what happened last year. Regardless, authorities say they will remain vigilant in preparing, just in case.