Disaster management: WWF Pakistan seeks better flood management plan

Asks govt to check deforestation in wetlands, remove encroachments on flood plains

Our Correspondent August 05, 2015


The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan has urged the government to improve its management of watersheds and floodplains to reduce the adverse impact of floods.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, WWF Pakistan director general Hammad Naqi Khan said deforestation in watersheds and encroachments on floodplains were responsible for the increase in devastation caused by monsoon floods. He emphasised the urgent need for implementation of an integrated Indus River Basin Management programme.

The statement said the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had recently warned about the possibility of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and Chitral region. “The threat of GLOFs, cloud burst and flash floods has increased considerably due to higher temperatures and heavy rainfall in the G-B and the Malakand division,” it said.

Read: WWF-Pakistan to celebrate Earth Day on 22nd

The statement further said that the Met Office had also forecast low pressure in the atmosphere around North Rajasthan in India could cause more rain spells in south Punjab. It said the Met Office had predicted that the monsoon rains would continue in most areas of the country till the end of August. The statement stressed that long-term survival of communities living near rivers and major streams was dependent on the improved management of flood plains.

It said that in its report the Judicial 2010 Flood Inquiry Tribunal had highlighted the need to remove encroachments from flood plains and establishment of wildlife sanctuaries to regulate and protect the environment of riverine areas. It said that the commission headed by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah had also sought the establishment and implementation of a floodplain management plan.

The statement said that in its recommendations shared with the federal government the WWF had sought development of a disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategy for the country. Further, it said that restoration work should immediately be started on wetland sites (Ramsar sites) identified after 2010 floods by a team of experts under a Ramsar Advisory Mission (RAM). The Ramsar team had recommended immediate restoration of these sites to enable them to contain flood water

Meanwhile, a Monsoon Daily Situation Report issued on August 4 by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) stated that 151 people had died and 818,044 displaced by floods in the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2015.


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