The floods that have struck Pakistan in 2010 and their far reaching consequences point to the urgent need to bolster the capacity of both the government and civil society to be better prepared for and to better manage disasters. Flood Monitoring And Policy Support is an initiative that aims to do just this in two main ways… (read more)

The FloodMAPS team recently collaborated with the Open Society Foundation which has provided a number of grants supporting the flood relief and rehabilitation activities of local NGOs in various flood affected regions from Dadu to Kohistan. These organizations include: MOJAZ Foundation, Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA), Omar Asghar Khan Development Foundation (OAKDF), Sarhad Rural Support Program (SRSP), National Rural Support Program (NRSP), Khwendo Kor (KK), Thardeep Rural Development Program (TRDP), Institute for Development Studies and Practices (IDSP) and BRAC Pakistan.  Open Society Foundation aims to support those organizations which focus on marginalized/vulnerable populations and that have a strong presence and influence in the areas where they operate to achieve the longer term goals of community empowerment, transparency and development. Check out the info-graphic, designed by the FloodMAPS team for the Open Society Foundation, below for details:

The FloodMAPS team is currently working with the Imran Khan Foundation (IKF) catering to their mapping needs! The IKF is doing some amazing work in flood affected regions throughout the country including AJK, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunwa and Sind. In particular they have launched two initiatives simultaneously: the seeds distribution campaign (distribution of wheat seeds across the country) and a village development project (the construction of model villages in different flood affected areas). The IKF wanted both projects to be mapped and now the progress of both campaigns can be viewed online at . Maps are a quick and compelling way to communicate with both donors as well as the general public.  


For an alternative perspective on the institution of patwaris the following article is an interesting read. It resonates with the FloodMAPS team’s experience throughout the mauza mapping project, namely, that patwaris are crucial to the process. The patwaris know a great deal with regard to the land belonging to their patwar circles. Moreover, following the floods that struck the country, these land revenue officials have been a major component of the disaster management strategies of various provincial departments. Whatever the broader debates surrounding the benefits of such an office, the importance of patwaris in the here and now cannot be denied.  Here is a collection of excerpts from Zahoor Hussain’s article:

‘After partition in 1947, no steps were taken to reform the agency of the tapedar (patwari)…This official has continued to perform various duties, despite his limitations, relating to rescue, relief and rehabilitation in cases of natural disasters….Now the tapedars will help prepare lists of all flood victims who did not receive Watan Cards…..Unless and until we have some suitable modern institutional arrangement with proper networks in every nook and corner of the country, the services of this official should be utilized as he is indispensable’

- ‘An indispensible official’, Dawn, 9/12/10

Dec 072010

‘GOOD’s guide to Pakistan v Haiti – which disaster got more aid?’- The Guardian

There continues to be  much debate about why the response to Pakistan’s floods was slow and unincredible compared with the response to Haiti’s earthquake. One can speculate on the combination of factors that  played a part. One writer, however, provides the following piercing insight:

“Humanitarians have long struggled with this paradox… The number of dead, along with the swiftness and drama of their demise, trumps almost any amount of agony among those who survive a disaster, particularly a creeping one”

- ‘The special pain of a slow disaster’, The New York Times, 10/11/2010

Trip to Muzaffargarh

Muzaffargarh is one of the worst flood affected districts in the Punjab. The FloodMAPS team recently visited the DCO Muzaffargarh’s office and initiated the process of point mapping the mauzas of this district. The challenges that arise in the course of such an exercise are evident in one team member’s description of the trip below:

Within the DCO’s office is located the district record room where the masavis (maps) are kept. We asked the Tehsildar to get us maps which show mauza boundaries, where possible, of the whole district or at least of tehsil Muzaffargarh. These maps were hand drawn and depicted the mauza boundaries, however, lacked accuracy. We then gathered some patwaris together and had them identify their respective settlements on Google Earth. This exercise was not, however, very successful. We then headed to the local patwar khana, which is the office of the patwaris and also where the Kanungo (head patwari) is present. We asked them to write down a complete list of mauzas in their respective patwar circles, which they were able to recall from memory.

We took these lists with us and on arriving back in Lahore,gave these to our volunteers. The volunteers matched this list of mauzas to the lists of settlements that the FloodMAPS team already has (given to us by SUPARCO). The aim of this exercise was to point map those mauzas of Muzaffargarh that could be matched against settlements on Google Earth. This was an interesting exercise that pointed once again to the fact that the support of the patwaris is crucial to the progress of this project.

Interesting fact: The masavis of district Muzaffargarh date back to 1920-21!