Anxious residents: ‘No flood risk in near future’

Low chance of rain, cyclone in Arabian Sea may raise temperature.

Manzoor Ali June 11, 2011


Even as people living in flood affected areas scurry about worrying for the worst, chances of a repeat of the last year’s floods are extremely low.

A senior official at Pakistan Meteorological Department (Pakmet) told The Express Tribune on Wednesday that he had received at least three calls from residents in Nowshera District who were concerned about the possibility of floods in the area.

However, he said, the flood rumours have no basis and ruled out any possibility of rain in the next few days. He said that the heat wave will continue in many parts of the province due to the strengthening of a tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea.

“The temperature in northern Pakistan is bound to rise if a cyclone develops in the Arabian Sea. It is a persistent meteorological pattern,” he explained.

He added the fear of floods in peoples’ minds was due to loss of infrastructure in the same region last year. “Their concerns are justified as people are still traumatised after last year’s massive flood and do not want to be caught off guard once again,” he added.

He added that Pakmet was unable to warn the people before the crisis last year due to a lack of facilities and technical equipment. “This year we have installed direct telephone lines to District Coordination Officers’ offices to inform them about such situations. These lines were not available last year. There was no electricity to receive fax messages and no telephone lines in Upper Dir, while the telephone lines in Nowshera and Charsadda were out of order,” he remarked.

Shafaqatullah, a resident of Nowshera Kalan, told The Express Tribune he had heard several rumours concerning the risk of floods in the region.

“My house is just on the banks of the Kabul River and the possibility of a flood is certainly a matter of huge concern for me, especially after the widespread destruction caused by the floods last year,” he said.

Nowshera was one of the worst affected districts during last year’s floods, with most of the area submerged for several weeks. Thousands of people were displaced and rendered homeless, while most of the infrastructure in the region was severely damaged. The district is still struggling to cope with the aftermath of the destruction.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2011.


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