Peshawar - The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is actively engaged in developing a winter contingency plan for the year 2023-24, collaborating with various stakeholders to minimize disaster risks. The primary goals of this plan include hazard identification, risk assessment, and resource mapping to enhance preparedness for winter-related challenges. A recent planning and orientation meeting, chaired by PDMA Director General Janat Gul Afridi, brought together provincial line departments to kickstart this crucial initiative.
Director General Janat Gul Afridi emphasized the comprehensive nature of the planning process, which involves data collection tools and extensive information sharing. The plan addresses various winter-related natural hazards, such as extremely low temperatures, fog/smog, snowfall, rainfall, landslides, flash floods, and seismic activity in the mountainous regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
One of the key aspects of the Winter Contingency Plan is the categorization of districts based on Vulnerability and Risk Assessment, taking into account factors like geography and terrain. Different weather patterns will have specific contingency measures tailored to their unique characteristics.
Regions like Malakand and Hazara Divisions, due to their high altitudes, face extreme winter conditions for approximately four months. These conditions encompass a range of challenges, including low temperatures, fog/smog, snowfall, rainfall, landslides, avalanches, and transportation disruptions.
Deputy Director of Disaster Risk Management at PDMA, Sahibzada Saleem, highlighted that PDMA is proactively implementing preparedness measures in line with guidelines from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). This approach aims to streamline responses at both the provincial and district levels, ensuring effective coordination among all stakeholders.
Contingency planning for major hazards is central to the strategy, enabling the implementation of necessary mitigation measures and facilitating a coordinated response to minimize loss of life and property during disaster events. This planning exercise includes resource assessment, hazard analysis, and estimating potential relief caseloads.
PDMA Khyber Pakhtunkhwa plays a pivotal role as a provincial- level Disaster Management Organization specializing in Disaster Management, Disaster Risk Reduction, Preparedness, and Planning. With the development of the Winter Contingency Plan, the province aims to enhance its resilience against winter-related natural disasters and ensure the safety and well-being of its residents. The plan’s finalization is expected by mid-November, bringing together a comprehensive approach to tackle the challenges posed by the winter season.