Political / Power Structure and Vulnerability to Natural Disaster in North Western Pakistan
The current study tries to explore the link between the power structure and vulnerability to natural disasters like flash floods in Chitral, situated in the northwest of Pakistan. Flash floods are common in northern areas of Pakistan because of the steep nature of the terrain, melting of glaciers, and torrential rain in summer. In the Chitral district, its effects are adverse because of dwelling patterns and scarcity of safe locations for living. Ethnographic research tool, participant observation, in-depth interviews, informal talking, were used to understand the relationship between the power structure/ political structure in the district and vulnerability to flash floods and its aftermaths. Descriptive analysis technique has been used to analyze the ethnographic data. In princely state lower status people used to be compensated through land. In the locale of research, situated in upper Chitral, it has been observed that most of the low-status families are living in marginal locations making them vulnerable to flash floods. 2013 and 2015 flash floods data in the village of Reshun shows that majority of the affected families belong to low-status groups. Mainly it is the vulnerable location where these families are living. These families were not only affected more than upper-status people living in the village but the post-disaster situation was also worse for them in comparison to other parts of the village.