Officials clueless about enraged weather system
PESHAWAR / KARAK: While consistent anomalies in Monsoon patterns were already too hot to handle for the meteorological department, enraged weather systems looming large across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have spurred the Provincial Disaster Management Authority into relief work that at times exceeds its capacity.
On Sunday, a whirlwind went on a rampage in Karak. It not only uprooted trees and decimated houses but also paved way for a low-line flood. Locals said around 10am, a column of air emerged out of nowhere and destroyed everything in its path in Kabir Kalay. When it didn’t spare deep-rooted trees, the mud houses and shacks of the village were out of the question.
According to a met office staffer, the intensity of whirlwind could not be measured neither can much be said about the whys and hows of the weather system in the area – the reason to which is known to all.
However, six women, including three minor girls, were injured when the wind caused the roof of their house to fall on their heads in two rooms, read a Provincial Disaster Management Authority statement.
They were rushed to District Headquarters Hospital from where two were shifted to Peshawar for further treatment. All six belong to the same family. The last time a whirlwind of this kind was witnessed in Karak, the ruling parties for whom changing weather systems are of no interest, in both the Centre and K-P, were not even in office.
In a hurried attempt to get things going, the PDMA sent two tents and six blankets for the affected family, since tents are ideal for resisting anomalies of this kind. Fearing more losses may occur, another 100 tents were dispatched with enough supplies to cater to the needs of anyone affected in the near future.
It also issued an advisory of heavy rains in a minimum of seven districts. The statement said scattered showers could take place across Malakand, Peshawar, Hazara, Mardan and Kohat divisions. Meanwhile Bannu, DI Khan and adjoining areas will also not be spared entirely.
Where to go?
In the absence of a weather recording system or an academic approach towards it, both the met office and PDMA are struggling to make sense of what is going on. An official privy to the coordination channels between the two departments told The Express Tribune, “The only understanding of these climatic changes is that they are part of a global phenomenon.” The approach stops at just that. He said there is hardly any understanding of local particularities when it comes to the weather. “The ministry is of no use. Hardly any real work has been done.”
A met department official concurs. “Our technological backwardness is a fact known to all,” he said, adding while we try to do our best, most areas of the province are not even equipped with basic facilities to measure the amount of rain. “Our readings and conclusions are based on calculated guesses and prayers.”
It is clearly not all fun and games as the departments are treating the issue. Between July 1 and August 21, there have been 102 deaths and 108 people have been injured because of weather systems.
Unofficial calculations suggest 3,293 houses were partially damaged while 684 were fully razed to the ground.
While the government and its subsidiary organisations grapple with the situation in not the best of ways, the province is stilling witnessing damage. “It’s not just terrorism this time. It’s the climate.”