Heavy monsoon likely to cause disaster, Senate body told
By: Ijaz Kakakhel
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change was informed on Monday that there was a strong possibility of disaster from monsoon rains this year and that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) required Rs 16.946 billion to deal with an emergency situation.
The committee was told that the country expected five to 15 percent above the normal monsoon rainfall this year. Erratic spread of monsoon was likely and possibility of very heavy localised rainfall was likely to cause flash flooding in Suleman Range and Rod-Kohis in Rajanpur, DI Khan and DG Khan.
NDMA Chairman Dr Zafar Qadir told the committee that in worst-case scenario about 29.2 million people might be affected across the country, adding that out of those who could be affected, about 1.460 million would be totally dependent on others’ aid like shelter, food, medical and other daily needs. According to estimates, the NDMA chairman said, the number of affected people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could be 2.9 million, in Punjab 7.8 million, in Sindh 16.5 million, in AJK 0.8 million, in Gilgit-Baltistan 0.1 million and in FATA about 0.2 million.
The committee was further informed that in case of an emergency or disaster the country would require about 0.486 million tents, while currently the stock was 51,475, the gap being 0.435 million. “For blankets, the emergency requirement will be 0.973 million, available number is 0.198 million, the shortage being 0.775 million. During an emergency, the requirement for mosquito nets is 0.973 million, the available number is 37,298 and the shortage is 0.936 million,” the committee was told. About ration packs, the NDMA chairman said the number required could be 14.6 million.
The chairman said that during last year’s floods, the Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan had informed the NDMA that they were unable to make ration packs in such large numbers. He also informed the committee that the NDMA and provincial disaster management authorities had requested the federal and provincial governments to allocate funds in the annual budget 2012-13 to handle an emergency, but no allocations were made except in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. He also stressed the need for raising a disaster response force across the country to meet challenges more effectively.
Senator Dr Saeed Iqbal chaired the meeting. The committee asked the NDMA to form a volunteer wing in the department, adding that people wanted to help the government in time of emergency or disaster but they required proper training. The NDMA chief said they did not have required force.
He said Punjab had developed the Rescue 1122 force but Sindh, Balochistan and FATA needed to develop capacity to handle disasters.