With monsoon around the corner, Federal Minister for Climate Change Rana Farooq Saeed urged the provinces on Friday to allocate a section of their budgets for difficult times ahead.
Addressing a press conference at the Prime Minister Secretariat, Saeed said that after the passage of the 18th Amendment, the responsibility now lay with provincial governments. He said that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has already set aside Rs3 billion for flood relief in case of an emergency. Saeed said that Punjab and Sindh both need to put aside at least Rs5 billion for a contingency plan.
The minister added that provincial governments have to reach out to communities at a grassroots level so that previous mistakes made during flood emergencies are not repeated. He said that most of the damage done last year has been fixed but the government needs to be alert for upcoming challenges.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairperson Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir had the same words of caution to offer while presenting a grim reminder – during last year’s floods, the devastating natural disaster was unable to capture the attention of international donors, and only 10% of the total appeal made was actually met.
In the wake of this response, Qadir said, it was time that Pakistan stood on its own two feet. “We need to build our own resilience and there should be no need for Pakistan to be turning to other countries for financial support,” said the NDMA chairperson.
Arif Mehmood from the Pakistan Meteorological department said that the country will witness around 5% to 15% more rainfall this year, adding that the frequency and intensity of natural calamities was more likely to increase all over the world due to global warming.
Mehmood said that the Met department does not have the latest equipment to present an accurate forecast but arrangements within the country’s capabilities should be made keeping in mind previous weather trends.
Qadir told the media that a process through which disaster insurance would be provided was under way. This includes life insurance, insurance of livelihood, and insuring that affected people get two meals a day.
Tents would be provided until their homes/shelters were rebuilt. The NDMA chairperson said that the insurance would be carried out through international competitive bidding and will soon be presented.
Concern was also expressed by the climate change minister over the lack health facilities and training for young volunteers. Saeed said that scouts and young volunteers need to be trained for better disaster management.
A large number of stakeholders including UN officials, NGO representatives and civil society members were present at the press conference.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2012.
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