The Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change on Thursday was informed by the Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD) that the country as a whole is going to receive, normal monsoon rainfall during the forecast season. It was informed that overall a tendency for above-normal precipitation is predicted over most parts of the country in August.
The Senate Climate Change Committee which met under the chairpersonship of Senator Seemee Ezdi at the Parliament Lodges on Thursday was briefed by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman on the monsoon season and the threat of flash floods and urban flooding.
The Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman who was also in attendance said that these events will remain a regular feature and the country’s overall infrastructure is not ready for such disasters which will lead to a severe humanitarian crisis.
Senator Farooq H. Naek raised the question of whether the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) or the MET office is responsible for the pre-warning of the climate conditions.
The minister briefed that the MET office which comes under the ministry of aviation is responsible for weather warnings.
She said that it is the role of the provincial government to take preventive measures and conduct rescue and relief operations.
The minister said that the MET office warnings - which are loud and clear - are of no use since the provincial governments do not have the rescue capacity.
She said that as long as the nullahs will not be cleared and the country will not equip it with enough resources, there will be no way forward.
She said that all the stakeholders should sit together and work on a plan each contributing to redress this problem which will now seem to occur regularly as climate change occurs globally.
Senator Taj Haider while discussing possible solutions to address such calamities said that the country is also lacking water reservoirs, through which adversity could be changed into opportunity and water could be accumulated to resolve the issue of water scarcity.
The ministry’s secretary also argued that early warnings are area specific as certain areas cannot forecast due to a lack of modern equipment.
He said that 1 million people are residing at the bed of the River Indus. When the flood occurs these residents disseminate in the local area which continues to disrupt the rescue and relief operation, he added.
The committee unanimously believed that a National Action Plan and its implementation is the need of the day.
Senator Naek also pointed out that the concurrent list was missing which has also led to climate disaster in the country. The committee stressed that it’s time legislation should be formulated to prepare the country for natural disasters due to rapid climate change globally.
It was also decided to work on a national simulation exercise to validate and enhance preparedness and response plans, procedures, and systems for all hazards and capabilities.
Senator Faisal Javed also proposed the committee take a briefing by the MoCC on the National Adaptation Policies for Climate Change on a priority basis in the next meeting.