Business Recorder: The Cabinet is likely to approve the ‘National Policy on Climate Change’ in the next couple of days in a bid to mitigate losses after extreme weather events such as heavy rains, a federal minister said on Tuesday. “The National Policy on Climate Change will address issues related to flood damage after heavy rainfall in Pakistan during monsoon every year,” Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan, Federal Climate Change Minister said while addressing a press briefing here on Tuesday.
The federal minister stated that the ongoing monsoon spell, which brought heavy rains in different parts of the country, was gradually phasing out. “The outgoing monsoon brought intense rains in different parts of Pakistan, yet there is no threat of flood in the country,” the Minister added.
“Timely rain forecasts and warnings helped provincial governments to prepare for the recent rain spell and mitigate loss of life and socio-economic damage at all levels, which otherwise would have been of enormous propportions”, the Minister added He said that although half of Dera Ismail Khan is under water, but there “is no fear of damage to sensitive nuclear installations in the area”.
Chairman NDMA Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir said that 89 deaths have so far been reported across the country while 68 were reported injured in rain-related incidents. The NDMA chairman said that according to initial reports, as many as 8,575 houses have been damaged in rains, including 33 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 31 in Azad Kashmir, 11 in Balochistan, 7 in Punjab and 3 in Sindh.
“The rainwater, which flooded different urban areas in affected districts, will retreat in a few days once rains come to a complete halt, which is expected to happen in the next seven to 10 days,” the NDMA chairman said. Secretary of the Ministry of Climate Change Mahmood Alam said that global warming had made weather prediction a more difficult task. “Pakistan accounts for a little over 0.5 percent of the total global carbon emissions, yet it is among top 10 countries highly vulnerable to climate change impacts,” Mahmood said.
The secretary said that given the deepening impact of global warming on Pakistan, extreme weather events such as heavy rains, droughts, floods were becoming increasingly frequent. Sea-level rise, he maintained, was another threat that was eating away fertile lands in coastal areas of Pakistan and damaging underground water resources. Mahmood Alam said: “The Ministry of Finance has made a commitment that it would release Rs 5 billion to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) soon after it receives a request for the release of funds for relief activities for damage caused by heavy rain water across the country.”
Director-General of Crop Reporting, Punjab, Dr Anjum, said: “We have not yet assessed total crop losses after the recent monsoon spell. The overall situation is still unclear. We will have a clearer picture of losses, especially major crops such as cotton, sugarcane and rice in Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajan Pur and Rahim Yar Khan, in a couple of days.” However, a senior official of the Sindh Crop Reporting said on condition of anonymity: “The recent monsoon spell has damaged standing crops in some parts of the Sindh. About 13 percent of the total cotton crop area of 580,000 hectares has been damaged.
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