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ISLAMABAD: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in line with the Pakistan Meteorological Department’s (PMD) weather forecast, has issued warnings for floods across the country this week.

According to the NDMA, the PMD has informed that a strong westerly wave is likely to enter the country on 21 March 2023, gripping most parts of the country on 22 March 2023. Under the influence of this weather system, widespread rain-wind/ thunderstorms (with isolated/ scattered heavy falls and hailstorms) countrywide are expected.

In an advisory directed to federal, provincial and district disaster management authorities, the NDMA said: “In light of the forecast shared by PMD, all concerned stakeholders are to remain vigilant against possible hazards. Strong winds and hailstorms may cause damage to loose infrastructure and standing crops in the country”.

The NDMA has asked the relevant departments to ensure adequate awareness for formers regarding impacts on standing crops. Engage local communities at traditionally/ historically dangerous/ hazard-prone sites to enable round-the-clock monitoring and establish feedback mechanism for early warnings and alerts for at-risk population, it further said.

The advisory heavy has warned that rains may cause flash floods in Quetta, Chaman, Pishin, Barkhan, Musakhel, Kalat, Khuzdar, Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Kohlu, Zhob, Sibi, Turbat, Awaran and Panjgur districts of Balochistan. Moreover, they may also cause flash flooding in hilly torrents of DG Khan on 22-23 March 2023 and also in Dir, Swat, Kohistan, Nowshera, Mardan, Waziristan, Bajaur, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). The authorities have warned of urban flooding in Peshawar, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore on 23-24 March 2023.

Landslides may occur in hilly areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, State of AJK, Murree and Galliyat regions during the forecasted period. Day temperature is likely to fall significantly during the spell.

Keeping in view the above situation all PDMAs, Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA), State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) of AJK and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration, National Highway Authority (NHA), as well as, other line departments, ministries and federal agencies are required to undertake measures as per respective mandate.

The NDMA has directed the authorities in addition to measures deemed appropriate as per on-ground situation/ requirements by ensuring the widespread circulation of alerts and advisories, especially in local languages, to raise awareness and sensitize travellers/ tourists and local communities in at-risk/ vulnerable areas.

The NDMA has further advised ensuring provision/ rectification of utility services during the forecasted time period, and the presence of required staff and machinery for meeting any eventuality of likely urban flooding situation in cities.

People in at-risk/ vulnerable areas; travelling on roads likely to be damaged by flash flooding must be diverted to alternate routes and those in low-lying areas must be moved to safe areas. “Coordinate with relevant district and municipal administrations to ensure mitigation measures for flash/ urban flooding and to secure or remove billboards/ hoardings in view of thunderstorm/ high winds.”

The PDMA/ DDMAs should arrange and replace necessary inventory and other essentials at strategic locations/ vulnerable/ choke points in coordination with NH&MP/ NHA/ FWO, local C&W, Rescue 1122 and line departments. “Ensure a proactive approach by diverting traffic, providing alternate routes, imposing move/ travel restrictions, to avert any situation of road closure with stranded people.”

Furthermore, the NDMA has directed the authorities to take following measures in expected rain-hit areas: (i) Local administrations to assess and plan deployment of additional resources and exercise control over traffic leading to and in vicinity of vulnerable/ choke points/ tourist spots/ attractions to prevent losses/ damages and save precious lives; (ii) Ensure that tourists/ visitors/ travellers in at-risk/ affected areas be apprised/ forewarned about forecasted weather and road conditions in coordination with NH&MP/ LEAs/ NHA/ FWO/ C&W. Tourists/ visitors/ travellers should check PMD Weather Forecast for information on snowfall/ rain and for road conditions/ landslides/ high flow in seasonal nullahs from control rooms, helplines, websites and social media platforms of NH&MP/NHA/FWO/DDMAs/PDMAs and C&W before undertaking journeys; (iii) Travellers on Provincial & National Highways in at-risk/ affected areas should be forewarned of adverse conditions and detoured to safe waiting areas under guidance of respective PDMAs, local authorities, National Highways and Motorway Police, LEAs etc;(iv) Availability of emergency services personnel during the forecasted period should be ensured; (v) Immediate stocking of basic commodities, especially in regions that are likely to get cut-off during snowfall/ landslides should be ensured; (vi) Medical resources including paramedics, equipment and medicine be deployed as per the vulnerability/ risks identified in different regions to meet respective regional requirements; (vii) Ensure round-the-clock monitoring of situation through EOCs with regular feedback to PEOCs and NEOC and (viii) In case of any eventuality, twice daily/routine updates to be shared with the NDMA.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Zaheer Ahlawat Jul 11, 2023 01:02pm
Did you notice that in Pakistan former prime minister imran khan how to handle this situation. I am from pmln but imran khan policy against flood disaster was very appreciated.
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