LAHORE: More detailed data and better equipment are necessary to predict natural disasters, especially floods, participants of a workshop on hydrometeorological forecasting said on Wednesday.
The 13-day international workshop titled: Hydro-Meteorological Data and Flood Forecasting has been arranged by the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore.
The main objective of the programme is to provide a forum for experts from Pakistan and Afghanistan to discuss the need for hydrometeorological data collection, storage, analysis and dissemination.
During the first session, UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and Pacific Director Prof Shahbaz Khan said that more data would be very helpful for improving flood forecasting. “Global warming is a major cause of floods. Pakistan faces massive losses every year because of it. Upgrading the system and the equipment is essential for accurate flood forecasting. Engineering universities must be taken into confidence on formulating strategy and policy for forecasting systems,” he said.
UET Vice Chancellor Fazal Ahmad Khalid said that Pakistan could not afford the destabilisation of its economy by floods every year. “Concrete steps must be initiated by taking all stakeholders into confidence. Universities can be productive and supportive in flood forecasting and management systems by achieving the goal of outcome-based education,” he said.
Prof Noor Muhammad Khan of the UET Civil Engineering Department briefed the audience about the workshop, and the UET’s role in strengthening of flood warning and management capacity in Pakistan. He said that 12 people from various institutes dealing with flood management and students of the UET would be trained in the workshop.
“This workshop is meant for technical and professional staff from various institutions of Pakistan dealing with flood management. The participants will be imparted knowledge to identify sites for meteorological and hydrological stations, carry out basic data analysis, find gaps, shifts and trends in hydrometeorological data of a station and set up a flood forecasting model for further processing and calibration,” he said. The workshop will conclude on August 15.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2016.