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Pakistan braces for another monsoon season
Kesha West reports on the lessons from Pakistan's devastating floods

It's two years since Pakistan suffered the worst floods in its history. Just 12 months later, almost to the day, flood waters ravaged the country yet again. The destruction was swift and devastating. The government was criticised for being under prepare and failing to respond quickly enough.

Now, with this year's monsoon season just round the corner, aid agent agencies are asking whether the authorities in Pakistan have finally learnt the lesson.

Kesha West reports.
KESHA WEST, REPORTER: In 2010, the monsoons brought flooding on a scale never before seen in Pakistan.

One-fifth of the country was left submerged and 20 million people affected.

MAN (Translation): The flood water entered our village quickly. This young boy was sleeping in the room over there. My father went back to rescue him but the house collapsed and my father was badly injured. Villagers helped pull my father out from under the damaged roof, we tried to carry him to a car but he passed away.

ASIF ALI ZARDARI, PAKISTAN PRESIDENT: So much has gone. Nations get the chance to rebuild, and we shall rebuild our nation all over again all over again.

KESHA WEST: But the suffering wasn't to end there. Still recovering from the 2010 catastrophe, a year later the country was struck again.

Heavy rain caused new floods that swept across the southern province of Sindh and into Balujistan. the destruction was swift and devastating.

FEMALE (Translation): We were asleep when the water came. All our belongings were destroyed: we managed to get some of our stuff in a boat but we suffered heavy losses.

KESHA WEST: More than six months on, aid agencies say the country is still in crisis.

SHAHEEN CHUGHTAI, OXFAM HUMANITARIAN POLICY: We still have a very grim situation in the flood-affected areas, mostly in Sindh, but also in parts of Balujistan.

Although most of the millions of men, women and children who were displaced from their homes in the initial weeks and months of the floods have been able to go back. They've gone back to very little. They have found their communities have been damaged or destroyed. Their homes and m n many cases have been washed away along with their possessions.

KESHA WEST: Oxfam says most people still lack the very basics like food, clean water and shelter. and the threat of malnutrition and disease hangs over them.

SHAFI MUHAMMAD, VILLAGER (Translation): She has fallen ill because of the flood water and mosquitoes. The water source is 10 miles from here and so we have to walk 10 miles to bring safe drinking water.

MUHAMMAD IBRAHIM, FARMER: Before the flood, I grew cotton and rice in the field we are starting in right now. The rice crop was ready for harvest but the heavy rains destroyed it. It rained all night, everything I had was destroyed.

SHAHEEN CHUGHTAI: We're very concerned because this is the second successive years of massive floods. These are floods of such a scale that they would have severely tested any rich or developed country. Unfortunately Pakistan is not a rich and developed country, so these are millions of men and women and children who are very vulnerable right now.

KESHA WEST: And there's a very real risk that the destructive floods of the past two years could strike again. In just a few months, Pakistan will head into monsoon season.

NASEER MEMON, STRENGTHENING PARTICIPATORY ORGANISATION: Everybody's definitely worried. The kind of the experience of the last two years, the climate has been so, became s erratic in this region. Both years the climate forecast was never told such a scale of disaster. So it went beyond our imaginations.

KESHA WEST: Naseer Memon is the chief executive of the Pakistani civil society organisation SPO, one of the local aid operations that has been assisting people in the region of southern Pakistan.

NASEER MEMON: It may take several years before people can really get rehabilitated. And that is only possible only if we pray that we don't face any other disaster in the coming years.

KESHA WEST: in the wake of the 2011 floods, the government of Pakistan was criticised for failing to learn the lessons of the previous year's floods.

Aid agencies fear it is unprepared again.

SHAHEEN CHUGTHAI: Unfortunately some of these lessons, such as making sure that vulnerable communities are stronger, more sort of protected against disasters, making sure that people can have a decent income, that they have access to information, they have access to early warning systems, we need to make sure that those lessons are learnt. And unfortunately we're seeing very slow progress on that front.

KESHA WEST: Naseer Memon is not as hard on the government.

NASEER MEMON: we need to understand that the scale of disaster was really enormous. It would not have been easy for any Government on earth actually to manage this crisis so efficiently and effectively.

KESHA WEST: But he acknowledges there are many things that could have been done better. And there is still much to be done.

NASEER MEMON: There is realisation and understanding of the gravity of the situation, but honestly Pakistan is a country as facing multidimensional challenge, natural disasters are one. Then the conflict and political challenges are other side.

KESHA WEST: Oxfam is calling on the government to mobilise the resourcing it does have to make sure that if the flood waters come again there is adequate humanitarian response.

RICHARD YOUNG, OXFAM AUSTRALIA: The key message is let's work together, international community, the Pakistan government and local communities, to actually respond and prepare for this sooner rather than later.

KESHA WEST: The continuing crisis facing the people of Pakistan can not be placed entirely at the feet of the authorities themselves.

After the 2011 floods, the United Nations launched an appeal for $356 million. Not even half of that has been forthcoming.

The sluggish response is causing severe stress on relief activities.

RICHARD YOUNG: Well this has had a major impact. I mean 47 per cent of the appeal has been raised. So there's a massive gap in that.

Basically the UN and the aid agencies are use using up their own funds and their own stocks of supplies to meet the needs of these 2.5 million people.

SHAHEEN CHUGHTAI: these are some of the poorest, most vulnerable people in the world that you could find anywhere. They need international support.
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