Friday, July 19

Coordination among federal, provincial departments to tackle upcoming summer floods– PM’s Aide Romina Khurshid

Coordination among federal, provincial departments to tackle upcoming summer floods– PM’s Aide Romina Khurshid
The Pakistan Times
Coordinator to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, MNA Romina Khurshid Alam on Friday urged all the federal and provincial departments to take all-out measures to protect lives, livelihoods of the people from ongoing heatwave spell and possible monsoon floods.

She also directed all the provinces including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) to ensure the maintenance of sufficient stocks of disaster relief items pre-monsoon onset to ensure in time preparedness against above-normal rainfall.

The PM’s Coordinator was chairing the meeting of the 2nd National Task Force on Global Warming and Heatwaves here on Friday whereas representatives of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Ministry of Science and Technology, Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC), Ministry of Climate Change, Ministry of National Health, Services, Regulations and Coordination, Pakistan Meteorological Department, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and officials from the provincial governments joined through video link.

She urged all concerned Federal and Provincial departments to enhance their preparedness with regard to threat of flooding due to upcoming moon soon spell, stock maintenance and heat wave effects. PM’s Coordinator emphasized on timely execution by all stakeholders on NDMA’s National Action Plan regarding flood threats in Southern Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan provinces. She also stressed upon inclusion of Lady Health Workers, Midwives in the medical relief camps to be established by concerned Federating Units during the emergency situations.

Chairing a high-level meeting, the PM’s aide highlighted that the country’s vulnerability to climate change-caused disasters would continue to deepen as the disasters, particularly heatwaves and floods are becoming more intense and frequent as the world continues to heat up because of untamed heat-trapping carbon emissions.

“The adverse socio-economic impacts of the disasters are unlikely to be overcome as long as the well-coordinated disaster risk mitigation or prevention measures are not taken jointly by all federal and provincial departments,” Romina Khurshid Alam warned.

She assured of her Ministry’s unwavering support at all levels so as the country’s disaster vulnerability is lessened through effective collaboration among the federal and provincial departments, mainly the national and provincial disaster management authorities, health, education, agriculture, water and energy departments.

The PM’s aide said that like many other parts of the world, Pakistan is also experiencing the adverse repercussions of global warming, leading to more frequent and intense heatwaves as witnessed this year in May and during previous years. Changes in weather patterns contribute to unpredictable and extreme temperature variations.

Highlighting the country’s heatwave vulnerability, the PM’s coordinator Romina Khurshid said that Pakistan has becoming highly vulnerable to heatwaves due to its geographical location, shifting climate patterns, declining or changing rainfall patterns, expanding summer season untamed illegal tree-cutting and urbanisation.

Meanwhile, meeting participants suggested that addressing the country’s vulnerability to heatwaves requires a multi-faceted approach, including improved urban planning, better infrastructure, awareness campaigns on heatwave preparedness, and measures to mitigate climate change. Additionally, investing in early warning systems and improving access to healthcare services can help reduce the impacts of heatwaves on vulnerable populations, they added.

During the meeting, the PM’s coordinator took serious exception to the illegal tree cutting in the country’s various parts, particularly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu Kashir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

How callously what she called ‘ruthless butchering of trees’ being done untamed in the country could be witnessed through unhampered movement of illegally-cut trees from upcountry to southern parts of the country with forest departments doing nothing to control deforestation.

The PM’s aide Romina Khurshid also said that recurring incidents of forest fire incidents in the forest areas, particularly in various sparts of KPK, ADJ, Murree, Nathiagali and Islamabad has added only salt to the injury, she griped while speaking to the government officials from environment and forest departments of KPK, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.

She said untamed deforestation has only aggravated the country’s vulnerability to the impacts of floods. Because forests play a crucial role in reducing flood risks by regulating water flow, stabilizing soils, and providing natural flood control mechanisms. Protecting and restoring forest ecosystems are essential components of comprehensive flood risk management strategies, particularly in areas prone to flooding.

PM’S Coordinator Romina Khurshid directed the Inspector General of Pakistan (Forest), Ministry of Climate Change & Environmental Coordination to coordinate with all provincial stakeholders on the subject and submit the report after Eid Vacations. She also advised the Ministry of Science & Technology to come up with innovative technology for aerial firefighting.

Editor: Kamran Raja