ISLAMABAD: Chances of the weather forecast system getting an upgrade have brightened after the Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided $200 million for setting up the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF).
According to information carried on the ADB website, the funds have been provided for strengthening the country’s disaster resilience, emergency response, and reconstruction capacity.
Ahmed Kamal of the National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) said that upgrading the weather forecast system was an important component of the 10-year National Disaster Management Plan, which was approved in 2013, aimed at reducing human and economic losses.
“Funds needed for upgrades will be allocated to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) from the NDRMF for buying best quality weather radars from the international market,” he said.
For ensuring accountability and transparency, the NDMA notified a steering committee comprising 20 members headed by the NDMA chairman.
Pakistan, he said, was highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, including floods, tsunamis, landslides and droughts, resulting in massive economic and human losses.
Effective implementation of the 10-year plan would help reduce human, property, livestock, agriculture and economic losses, he said.
PMD officials are also optimistic about the improvement in the weather forecast system.
The delay in the execution of the disaster mitigation plan was mainly caused by shortage of funds, officials said.
In June this year, the prime minister had asked the PMD to submit a report on its failure to inform in advance about the powerful windstorm that hit Islamabad, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on June 1.
The report was submitted in the same month, and the Prime Minister House agreed on acquiring the latest weather radars and asked the PMD to submit a comprehensive plan in this regard.
Officials complained that even after six months, there had been no progress in this regard and the PMD was still waiting for the PM House to fulfill its commitment but so far there has been no update.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2016.