Climate change effects: ‘Poverty stricken areas most vulnerable’

Experts of the view that issue should be looked after at regional level

Our Correspondent July 09, 2015
Experts of the view that issue should be looked after at regional level. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

ISLAMABAD: The federal government is seriously considering issuing a show-cause notice to K-Electric (KE) for failing to provide electricity to Karachi as the city suffered massively in the recent deadly heat wave.

This was said by the parliamentary secretary for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha while chairing a seminar organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Tuesday. “After the 18th Amendment, very little power has remained with the federal government,” he said while discussing its role in the Karachi heat wave situation.

The event titled “Future trends of heat waves: how to cope?” was held with the agenda to help public officials and stakeholders in Pakistan in effectively responding to the challenges posed by climate change.

Arriving an hour late at the seminar, Ranjha shifted all the blame on KE. He said the federal government was also considering terminating the company’s contract last week. “Although such a move would push federal government into a long legal battle with KE,” he added.

SDPI Environment and Climate Change Unit Head Dr Fahad Saeed shared results of a recently conducted research by the institute. By running various climate modelling techniques and over lapping data sets, results predicted that heat waves are more likely to affect densely populated areas of Punjab in the future.

He said the occurrence of heat waves is expected to increase over the next 25 years owing to the fact that during last 100 years, six out of 10 major heat waves have occurred after the year 2000.

Discussing precautionary measures, Saeed said the Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan prepared to tackle deadly heat waves can be taken as a successful model.

“The first serious heat wave in Ahmedabad, India left more than a 1,000 dead, but this year due to mitigation efforts the number decreased to just 20,” he said.

Experts said the issue should be looked after at the regional level instead of the national.

SDPI researchers also indentified poverty stricken regions as the most vulnerable in terms of climate change effects.

SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri said very easy measures could have saved a lot of lives in Karachi. “Mitigation efforts do not only include an early warning system but also easy availability of basic necessities such as water and electricity to heat wave-prone areas.

The crux of the issue is to learn a lesson and develop more resilience,” said Suleri.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015.

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