PoliTact recently released a report laying out implications of the devastating floods on Pakistan’s geopolitics and geostrategic posture. It’s premature to present a realistic measurement of the flood damage on Pakistan’s infrastructure and economy as the rains have continued in various parts of the country. Moreover, as the swelled river Indus and its tributaries make their way down from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to Punjab and Sind province, the consequences are exasperating. PoliTact has been able to develop the following damage appraisal based on credible media reports and from its own sources in the region. The attempt here is to present the wide reaching impact of the floods on the economy of the country.
From all indications, Pakistan is heading for a dangerous drop in strategic food stocks in the coming days and months. The world prices of sugar and wheat were already rising as the country is expected to import. The following damage assessment will be updated as new numbers become available.
Number of People Impacted
According to a UN estimate the floods have impacted close to 20 million people including 6 million children, while close to 1600 have lost their lives so far. About 6 million people are homeless and out in the open with no shelter and food supplies.
Damage to Property
A total of 724,000 homes have been destroyed according to a Pakistan government estimate.
Flash floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have washed away 42,000 houses. According to World Food Programme a total of 97 villages have been impacted in Peshawar, 105 in Nowshera, 80 in Charsada, and 182 in Mardan district.
Damage to Agriculture Sector and Livestock:
According to agricultural officials in Pakistan the floods have destroyed about 500,000 tons of wheat. Furthermore, as many as two million bales of cotton were lost and 17 million acres of agricultural land destroyed based on a World Bank report.
Bloomberg reported quoting a farmers group in Pakistan that floods have damaged more than a million acres of sugar cane, cotton and rice fields and caused 250 billion rupees ($2.9 billion) of agricultural losses. The President of World Bank, Robert Zoellick has put the number to be around $1 billion.
Chairman of Pakistan Agri Forum reported to Bloomberg that floodwaters have destroyed 700,000 acres of planted cotton, 200,000 acres each of rice and cane and 300,000 acres of animal fodder. Additionally, 100,000 head of livestock has perished. Based on one estimate, half of Pakistan’s livestock has vanished overnight.
Damage to Infrastructure
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani stated that the disaster has pushed the country back 50 years in terms of infrastructure, electricity and communication. Hundreds of miles of electricity pylons and gas lines have been destroyed and numerous power stations have been flooded.
In the militancy infected Khyber Paktunkwa province 112 schools, 210 hotels, 137 bridges, hundreds of kilometers of roads, innumerable shops and buildings have been washed away. The whole of Charsadda district and a major portion of Nowshera are swamped.
According to Chief Minister of Sind province, up to 40 kilometers of Indus Highway has been washed away. The rough estimates indicate that losses by Sind to be around of 35 billion rupees, excluding crops.
Total Impact on the Economy
A rough estimate put together by a brokerage firm in Pakistan, Topline Securities, suggests the economy may lose up to 1 percent of its gross domestic product, or $1.8 billion. Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance has put the loss to be around to 2 to 3 percent of the GDP, or $4.09 billion to $5.09 billion. A farmers group quoted above has put the total agriculture loss alone to be around $2.9 billion. In working with Pakistan, the Asian Development Bank and World Bank are expected to complete a survey of the damage in about two weeks.
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