This year Pakistan will receive normal monsoon rainfall. However higher intensity rains are expected in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and northern Punjab. Meanwhile it is feared that the drought-stricken areas of Sindh and Balochistan will receive low rainfall which may aggravate the drought situation.
These points were shared in a day-long Coordination Conference organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) at the Prime Minister Office Auditorium on Tuesday to review the state of preparedness for the monsoon season-2015.
On the occasion NDMA shared a few pointers on the National Monsoon Contingency Response Directive-2015 based on experiences of past floods. During the meeting senior officials of Pakistan Meteorological Department informed the participants that it expected to receive below average rainfall during the monsoon season. Majority of the rainfall will be received in the last week of July till end of August, according to the Met office.
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Prevalence of strong westerly system in Afghanistan and K-P are forecast. Chances of an erratic monsoon because of climate change have also not been ruled out.
In the meeting comprehensive response guidelines about preparedness, early warning, rescue, relief, rehabilitation and coordination points were highlighted. The role of disaster management organizations, federal and provincial departments and humanitarian organizations also came under spotlight.
An official in PMD who wished to remain anonymous said considering the current weather patterns, it is expected that Pakistan will receive slightly below average rainfall.
However it is expected that the climate change could affect the pattern of monsoon rainfall in Pakistan, he said.
“Chances are that some parts of the country could receive rainfall for a short time which could cause floods”, he said.
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The official said that just like previous year there were low chances of floods in the country. However in September heavy floods triggered by monsoon rains affected vast lands of Punjab and Azad Jummu and Kashmir and claimed over 130 lives.
Senior environmental expert Pervaiz Amir told The Express Tribune that Pakistan’s monsoon rains intensity depends on how much neighboring country India receives.
It was entirely dependent on the amount of rain received by the catchment areas of Jhelum and Chenab rivers. He also mentioned that the intensity of monsoon rainfall depends on the heatwave intensity experienced before the start of the season.
“Unfortunately PMD forecast is based on its 100-year-old models, not on what is going around,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2015.