Disaster management bodies to inspect Chitral?s 17 glaciers

.. by Manzur Ali

PESHAWAR: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) have decided to carry out physical inspection of at least 17 potentially dangerous glaciers of Chitral district soon.

Talking to reporters at the cabinet room of the Civil Secretariat, NDMA chairman Lieutenant General Mohammad Afzal said the relevant federal and provincial authorities were alert about the melting of glaciers in Chitral.

He said the NDMA and PDMA had agreed on joint physical inspection of at least 17 potentially dangerous glaciers located in Chitral.

Accompanied by secretary of the relief, settlement and rehabilitation department Mohammad Abid Majeed and PDMA director general Pervez Khan, General Afzal said a team would go to Chitral by helicopter at the end of the current week or early next week to check all identified points.

Pakistan?s abundant glaciers are at dire risk

NDMA chairman says early warning system will help minimise losses

?We will decide whether precautionary measures need to be taken and the issue cannot be tackled with precautions alone,? he said.

Regarding glacial lake outburst floods (glofs), the NDMA chairman said the authority was aware of the situation in Golain but that phenomenon could not be stopped or reversed.

?You have to create early warning system to minimise losses and take steps so that such events do not take place in future,? he said.

General Afzal said he and the chief minister agreed during a meeting that a component of the Billion Tree Tsunami afforestation programme would be implemented in Chitral to minimise the impact of climate change.

He said the plantation would bear results in 10 to 20 years period.

About New Balakot city, the NDMA chairman said money was most critical factor for any project and in addition to legal and social issues has also hampered the work on the city.

He said work on the project couldn?t begin in four years due to litigation.

General Afzal said the project would be completed in line with the directions of the Supreme Court?s Apex Committee and the government?s promises made to the citizens.

He said he had also discussed the Balakot issue with the chief minister and chief secretary.

Regarding Karachi flooding, the NDMA chairman said though the recent rainfall in the city remained below national average, the choking of drains by garbage caused flooding.

He said the local government and provincial government should focus on their civic functions.

General Afzal asked the provincial government and local bodies to remove encroachments in plain areas to prevent urban flooding.

He said cities on the river banks faced the threat of urban flooding.

The NDMA chairman said while cities had been saved by mighty flood protection works from riverine floods, drainage had been reduced by construction and other human activity, which was resulting into flooding of cities.

He appealed to the people to harvest rainwater crops and help districts government clear waterways.

?We are working on a comprehensive disaster response concept by bringing together all institutions working on disaster for prevention, mitigation and relief and rehabilitation after any mishap,? he said.

General Afzal said there were also plans to upgrade the National Institute of Disaster Management as a university, while the Pakistan Disaster Management Council was also on the cards.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2019

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