Flood contingency plan finalized -
Pakistan Press Foundation

Flood contingency plan finalized

By: Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD: Anticipating 5-15 per cent above-normal rainfall and erratic downpours during the current monsoon season, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has finalized a Rs23 billion contingency plan for providing relief to about 29.2 million people likely to be affected by floods.

The National Monsoon Contingency Plan, 2012, has been prepared in consultation with provincial governments, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan besides concerned agencies of the federal government and armed forces.

The NDMA has asked Punjab and Sindh to make available Rs5 billion each, followed by Rs3 billion each by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, Rs2 billion by AJK and Rs1 billion by Gilgit-Baltistan.

It requested the federal government to release Rs5 billion as its share of rescue, relief and rehabilitation expenses for the monsoon season.

The contingency plan is based on a seasonal forecast issued by the Pakistan Meteorological Department suggesting “likelihood of 5-15 per cent above normal rainfall during monsoon season 2012”.

According to NDMA Chairman Zafar Iqbal Qadir, there may be chances of erratic heavy downpour in isolated placed and the possibility of floods in selected areas could not be ruled out. It was, therefore, imperative to get related agencies prepared for the worst, he said, adding that all provincial, regional and state governments, besides taking other preparedness measures, had to allocate necessary funds for disaster management. That means the capacity should be developed to meet the response to
over 29.2 million people likely to be affected by floods during monsoon season 2012.

In the worst-case scenario, the National Disaster Management Authority anticipates that more than half (16.5 million) of the 29.2 million people could be affected in Sindh alone, followed by 7.8 million in Punjab, 2.9 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 900,000 people in Balochistan, 800,000 in AJK, 100,000 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 200,000 in Fata. About 5 per cent (1.5 million) of the affected people may need to be relocated to safe places, through rescue and evacuation operations and would need fresh shelters.

The scenario is based on the 2010 Indus floods of super high intensity and high floods in Chenab and Jhelum rivers coupled with floods in southern parts of Sindh due to heavy rainfall as that of 2011.

This takes into account relief requirements for one month’s initial response, even though food requirements may continue for longer period in case the disaster situation persists.

The NDMA has estimated that it would require 486,666 tents against 104,992 that have so far been procured. Likewise, it has estimated a requirement of 973,332 blankets, of which 218,069 have been arranged so far. Estimates put the requirement for mosquito nets at 973,332, of which only 37,298 have been arranged. The NDMA has estimated about 14.6 million ration packs (146,000 tons), but given the fact that food items have a limited shelf life the procurement of such items has been put on hold. The cost of 381,674 tents, 755,263 blankets, 936,000 mosquito nets and 14.6 million ration packs has been estimated at Rs16.4 billion.

Under the National Disaster Management Authority Act, the authority will coordinate with key national stakeholders, including Pakistan Met Department, armed forces, federal agencies and provincial governments for management of entire spectrum of national disaster response through a national emergency operation centre.

The federal government would mobilize and deploy its resources, particularly the relief stocks, from the federal reserve’s to assist the provincial governments while armed forces would be involved for assistance by the respective district, provincial or national level disaster management authorities at any stage, especially for rescue, evacuation and emergency relief phase.

Contingency planning will address one month of immediate humanitarian needs for relief goods. During this period, the response strategy based on actual scale, magnitude and location of disaster would be developed, followed by a call for international assistance if the situation goes beyond the capacity of the federal government.