{Pakistan Flood Incident Reporting}

by Pakreport
Water pipe passing through open drains
Water pipe passing through open drains

We are proud to announce that the Pakreport platform has won TEDPrize in TEDGlobal Scotland, through audience voting in TEDx Workshop. The $10,000 prize is awarded to the initiatives that will build the base of future cities. 

We are going to include sanitation mapping of Rawalpindi in the pakreport platform. Here is the brief summary of what we presented at TED for the idea.

Water borne diseases are the second largest cause of deaths in south Asia, that are directly related to the sanitation system of a city. Whenever, we think of sanitation issues, we think about slums and un-organized living communities. But the reality is that sanitation situation is at worst extreme in some of the bigger cities today.
Our work is in Rawalpindi, the fourth largest city of Pakistan. In year 2004, the sanitation coverage was less than 30%. More than 90% of the city has open drains for water discharge. The city has no sanitation treatment plant. As a result, about 85% of the water is not safe for drinking. A project Rawlpindi Enviroment Improvement Project get funding to lay 165 KM of covered underground sanitation infrastrcuture.
In year 2012, the population has increased to 2 milllion. The sanitation coverage is still less than 35%, with more than 90% of the city still with open drains. The REIR project installed only 11 KM of underground sanitation infrastructure. The project finished with 90% failure, leaving 2 million people behind in same situation.
Poor sanitation infrastructure brings many disastrous issues for its inhabitants. 
Every house provides un-restricted access to all kind of insects, including rats with size upto 12 inches. The water remains stagnant in streets. first thing out of door is un-bearable smell. The same drainages passes openly throgh main markets of the city where 90% of the people do shopping. It becomes bigger, and bigger until it goes un-treated into the rivers and canals. The result is more than 85,000 cholera cases are reported every year in Rwp. More than 30% of all deaths are directly caused by contaminated water. In infants this increases to 40%. (WHO stas) 
We are active community of change makers working on disaster and open data mapping. With on-ground presence and invloving local community we are going to map every single location with no sanitation infrastructure and open drainage in the city. We are going to make all the maps and data open to make this city a clean place to live for 3.2 million. The bottom up approach to solve sanitation issues has worked in Karachi, Pakistan by providing 100% sanitation coverage to 110,000 households. We wanted to repeat the bottom up approach of building open maps/datasets and community developed sanitation solutions in all cities.
Open drains passing through food markets
Open drains passing through food markets


We have transformed pakreport platform into data mapping platform to highlight big issues in our society. This is what we have done with the current power crisis in Pakistan.


The story is not as simple as it’s been perceived. Even after ruined few more years of Pakistan’s life, the power crises mystery will remain one of the ‘Unsolved Mysteries’. There’s a ‘Rental Power’ case in Supreme Court of Pakistan, it had too much discussion in electronic and print media, debated in National Assembly of Pakistan and in Senate too many times but still worthless as there’s no logical conclusion been drawn by either of these Forums. But the fundamental question remains unanswered, whether anybody knows the Actual Power Generation Capacity of Pakistan or not?

As, we have fallen into love with information mapping from the time of 2010 floods in Pakistan, when we launched, a crowd sourcing platform for disaster reporting and mapping based on Ushahidi platform. And as my friend Eric at development seed says “best way to highlight big issues is through effective visual mapping of data”. We took out public data available on power generation and drew a power generation capacity map of Pakistan by plotting each power generation unit with its capacity. After a few hurdles, now this map is public and provides everyone a clear picture of power generation capacity of Pakistan.

We have made a clear picture of the electricity production capacity of the Pakistan and have opened up all the data. Why did we do so and what we want or what are our ultimate objectives:-

  1. How much power we produced. Right now, No One Knows! Once you have pertinent Information then decision makers can make ‘Effective Decisions’, as well general public trust on its Government and decisions made by the Government.

  2. There is no uniform place or reliable source of information to find out power generation data easily in Pakistan. It is still confusing for 180 million inhabitants’ that why on earth we are facing power shortage in the country. If we did not reveal the actual data now then we will merely waste few more years in this agony.

  3. We need to be transparent and honest. No one believes in the figures thrown by the people in Government or opposition to the public, as those figures have no credible source of information. So, why shouldn’t we have ‘Information Transparency’ and ‘Completeness of Information’ in Pakistan? Why not ‘open data’ and ‘access to information’ should be allowed of public organizations?

  1. As the web based technologies are important driver of ‘Change’ because that leads to choose organizations to become completely ‘Transparent’. Do not keep the Government data closed and inaccessible to the related fraternity. Open up the Government data that will save time of everyone. It will save time of parliamentarians, media people, civil society and millions of common people and especially the strategists/researchers who can devise the policies based on that data provided.

  2. Safe money and generate economic activity. We have spent millions in bringing Government entities online, but those sites do not work or have become obsolete like Instead open up the data. Most of the time people need data from the Government entities be it entrepreneurs, researchers, students, lawyers or civil society. Open up the Government data like it is done in the US, UK and Kenya.

How we built the map and what are the general issues in getting data out that is in public domain

We find out an ‘Official Article’ published on PEPCO website written by then head of PEPCO Mr. Basharat Cheema {available on the front page of PEPCO website } in reply to the article published in Pakistan Times by Mr. Naeem Tahir on 7thAugust, 2010. Let’s compare the fact of power generation capacity on the statistics provided by these two. I was meant to believe the data presented by then head of PEPCO Mr. Basharat Cheema, would be more authentic and credible. The obvious reason of my belief was that Mr. Basharat Cheema is the head of said organization and the effective decision making of the organization would definitely base on the data which he’s presented in his rebuttal article. And, we decided to make it (the data and figures provided by him) as Data Source for my map. But, the situation got confused and baffled as there were severe discrepancies in the data provided by Mr. Cheema. After a few days of data mining I found too many issues with the data and the way he replied to Mr. Naeem’s article which he has provided got more embittered;

Source of Data (Data Source) and the related Issues

1. There’s hardly any reference found in the whole document about the figures or stats presented. So, we never knew the ‘origin of the data’ and what would be the ‘source’ to endorse the authenticity of the quoted data? The PEPCO website shows daily cumulative power production of Pakistan but you cannot find the current power generation capacity of each plant.

2. There are too many abbreviations used in the document for the power plants’ name. But, it is hard to find the actual names of the Power Plants from the text of the document.

3. The capacity of the PEPCO Thermal plants given by Mr. Basharat Cheema is still primary data source of the map. But the PEPCOs data does not match with the data given on the WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) , PEPCO, Ministry of water and Power, Private Power & Infrastructure Board’s websites.

4. Later in the article in the “PEPCO Thermal Power Capacities”, it has mentioned that 300 MW of lost power capacity in recovered and added into the system. There is no reference provided by the author that from which Power Plant it was lost and if it’s been recovered (as per Author’s claim) in which PEPCO’s Power Plant it was added..

5. Which Hydal Power Plants are operating as IPP? There’s hardly any information in this regard. Further analysis of the provided data shows that 74 MW Malakand -III is operating as IPP.

6. Cheechon Ki malian Hydal Plant and its capacity is missing in the article. Here is a map link to this power plant WAPDA website has a document (with anonymous dates) that also mentions the Cheechon Ki Malian as a Hydal Power Plant. Due to insufficient information about above mentioned Plant, we have not mapped this power plant yet.

7. Couldn’t find any information regarding the JAGRAN 30 MW Power Plant anywhere. However Google search provides a few links to this Power Plant.

8. The power plants capacity given by Mr. Naeem Tahir in his article match with the power plants capacities given on the PPIB website or on the relevant companies websites (these might be capacities at installation time). Anybody, researching on these topics will find the information where it is available. As, if there is no data available on the current capacity of the power plants then what data people can refer to instead of data available.

Next Steps:

Telling any story that involved Government data is difficult and sometime impossible. Neither, Government, Opposition, Civil societies, NGO, other countries that want to help the in current power crisis situation can help us in absence of the right and open data. This makes case for Government of Pakistan to make data open as it is done in USUK and even in Kenya.

What are the data sources we used?

Despite all the issues with the PEPCO data we used PEPCO as the primary source of the data. Where PEPCOs data was missing, incomplete or inaccessible, we used other sources as follows

  1. Water and Power Development Authority – Wapda -

  2. Ministry of water and Power, Government of Pakistan –


  4. Senate of Pakistan

  5. Wikipedia

  6. And many other resources we tried in desperation when we could not find any data. Mostly using Google Search.


We have made the 2010 floods coverage as archived at This will help us to provide access to all the data to the people who need old pakreport data for research and analysis.Apart from Ushahid Haiti implementation pakreport data provides additional perspective to researchers.

We are moving towards re-launching the initiative for the current floods 2011 in Pakistan.

Our focus for current implementation is 

  • Building a more vibrant volunteer community in Pakistan trained on mapping tools. So, we will be hosting a few training events in universities to do disaster mapping. We need support here in event sponsorships.
  • Focus on mapping facilities available during disaster and sending this information to people on ground through SMS.
  • More Involvement of humanitarian agencies,so that they can recognize the power of volunteers community in disaster and take benefit from the volunteers work.

What we have done in the past month.

  • We shifted our hosting provider from Amazon to rackspace. The amazon hosting was costing us $96 per month. The site hosting is now provided by Cogilent Solutions ( on a pro bono basis.
  • Our first research paper on pakreport is also moving and we hope to submit final version of the paper by July 20th.

Moving on...

Here are our further goals for next quarter

  • Move the existing to to archive the existing data. And, make for mapping the current big issues in Pakistan. We may choose from Road accidents, corruption incidents or map the unrest in Karachi.
  • As stated in our last reports that we have done and collected huge information that is helpful for mapping disasters. As, is first of such implementations in Pakistan, the knowledge base about mapping ( exact longitude and latitude ) information and reaching out to people in disaster is useful. However, much of this information is still in excel sheets and shared in Google groups. We are building a software interface for people to access this data easily. Also, we want to improve the data by providing option to community to update mapping information of Pakistan. project is being extending to following stages in the last few weeks and next few months.

  • Improve the mapping that is being done till now.
  • Create web based interfaces to traverse and find the areas in Pakistan.
  • Setup of a platform that can be used for future disasters in Pakistan.
  • Carrying out language research on how people communicate during disaster through SMS platform.

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Organization Information


Location: Islamabad, Punjab - Pakistan
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Faisal Chohan
Islamabad, Punjab Pakistan

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