Pakistan needs to understand the challenge
Karachi: Climate change is a reality in Pakistan and we cannot meet its challenges unless we understand and accept the challenge, Pakistan’s top climate change scientist Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhary told The News on Wednesday.
He said the government needed to appoint a federal secretary as well as a federal minister for climate change to lead climate change programme in the country. “We need to re-organise and revamp the whole system of dealing with extreme climate disasters of flood, cyclone, drought, etc and enhance the institutional capacities of organisations dealing with it. Recent floods have clearly indicated the institutional gaps,” he said.
Qamar-uz-Zaman has been appointed as the vice-president from the Asia Region at the UN World Meteorological Organisation for the last four years. He is a former director general of the Meteorological Department and the lead author of Pakistan’s first national climate change policy.
In his post-flood review, he observes: “This is a normal practice globally that after each important event or disaster the post-disaster analysis is undertaken to see the weaknesses or gaps, if any, in the system basically to learn from the mistakes and not to repeat those next time.
“Keeping in view this purpose it is proposed that we in Pakistan may also undertake a post analysis of our recent floods and its handling with a sole objective to improve it further.”
He said that the post analysis must particularly look into the following aspects:
— The perception that Mangla Dam could have been operated better to save life and property.
— The perception that efficient operation of Tarbela Dam during August 2014 floods contributed to better management of floods in southern Punjab, particularly in Sindh.
— Whether the communication of hydrological information by India regarding first flood peak and regarding second flood peak in Chenab River were timely and correct. If not then what improvements can be made.
— Whether the breaches made during the floods in River Chenab were justified, really needed, or some scheme of breaches could have been better.
— To review whether the responsibilities of all relevant organisations dealing with floods are clearly laid down.
— The perception that in some cases the warning was over estimated particularly with respect to Sindh.
— Identification of institutional gaps and capacity building requirements of relevant organisations. —Shahid Husain