NDMA chief briefs Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change on threat of flash

floods, urban flooding.

 

ISLAMABAD   -   Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change on Thursday was informed by the Pakistan Metrological Department that the country as a whole is going to receive, above normal monsoon rainfall during forecast season.

The committee that met under the chairpersonship of Senator Seemee Ezdi, was informed that overall a tendency for above normal precipitation is predicted over most parts of the country in August.

Chairman NDMA Lt Gen Akhtar Nawaz briefed the meeting on the monsoon season and threat of flash floods and urban flooding.

Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman, sharing her views in the meeting, said that these events will remain a regular feature and the country’s overall infrastructure is not ready for such disasters which will lead to severe humanitarian crisis.

About the question whether the Climate Change Ministry is responsible for pre-warning of the climate conditions, she said that the MET Office which comes under the Ministry of Aviation is responsible for weather warnings.

She said that it is the role of the provincial government for preventive measures and rescue and relief operations.

She said that as long as the nullahs will not be cleared and the country will not equip it with enough resources there will be no way forward. She said that all stake holders should sit together and work on plan each contributing to redress the problem which will now seems to occur regularly as climate change occurs globally.

Senator Taj Haider while discussing possible solutions to address such calamities said that the country is also lacking water reservoirs, through which adversity could be changed into opportunity and accumulate water, addressing the issue of water scarcity.

Secretary Ministry for Climate Change also argued that early warnings are area specific as certain areas cannot forecast due to lack of modern equipment. He said that 10 lac people are residing at the bed of the River Indus when the flood occurs these residents disseminate in the local area which disrupts the rescue and relief operation.

The committee unanimously believed that a National Action Plan and its implementation is the need of the day. Senator Farooq Hamid Naek pointed out that concurrent list was missing which has also led to climate disaster in the country. The committee stressed that its time legislation should be formulated to prepare the country for natural disasters due to rapid climate change globally. It was also decided to work on National Simulation exercise to validate and enhance preparedness and response plans, procedures and systems for all hazards and capabilities. Senator Faisal Javed proposed the committee to take brief by the Ministry of Climate Change on the National Adaptation Policies for Climate Change on priority basis in the next meeting.

Chairman NDMA briefed the committee that the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) is operational 24/7 which is continuously monitoring daily occurrences and is in coordination with all disaster management stake holders including UN agencies, donors, NGOs and media. He said that Pakistan is amongst the top ten vulnerable countries in global climate risk index.

The committee was briefed that the NDMA exercised multiple scenarios on 28th and 29th June for better assimilation of disasters.

The committee showed serious concern on the recent incident of forest fire In KP which was raised by Senators Mushtaq Ahmed Khan and Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah.

The forestry, environment and wild life department told the committee that the PMU 10-BTTP has recently completed the monitoring of fire damaged areas of both BTAP and 10 BTTP sites throughout the province as per report received from each forest region. 97 intervention sites were reported measuring burnt area of 2058 Ha. The monitoring teams of 10-BTTP physically monitored each site during July, 2022 throughout the province, and a detail Fire report was generated.

The total burnt area of both BTAP and 10 BTTP was measured as 2144 Ha. Out of 97 sites, 24 were of BTAP and 73 were of BTTP measuring 561 Ha & 1584 Ha area respectively.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan lamented that there is a whole mafia behind forest firing and it needs a more robust plan to save not only the natural resources of the country but also the effects of climate change leading to natural calamities.