KARACHI: Pakistan plans to pour over a hundred million dollars into a project aimed at strengthening Met Office's Early Warning System in order to provide reliable weather forecasts and prevent damages associated with natural calamities such as the devastating floods of 2010.
The cost of the project is estimated to be at $118 million of which 90 percent would be provided by the World Bank.
According to a Working Paper prepared for the perusal of the Central Development Working Party of the Planning Commission, the World Bank has indicated its intent to finance the project which envisages strengthening and upgradation of early warning system of Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD).
Under the proposed project, eight weather forecasting radars of various bands will be installed at Lahore, Gwadar, Chitral, Gilgit, Dera Ismail Khan, Cherat, Dal Badin and Quetta.
It will also help in strengthening of aviation forecasts through installation of wind profilers and automated surface observing systems in five major cities - Multan, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Islamabad.
Improved development and delivery of hydro-met information services and early warnings can make important contributions to economic productivity while also enhancing community resistance to natural hazards.
This project, if implemented, will increase weather and climate change adaptation and resilience-better manning water resources and increasing agricultural productivity.
The main objective is to strengthen the PMD for delivery of reliable and timely hydro-meteorological services including EWs to user departments and communities.
The CDWP considered the project during a meeting last year imposing some conditions and calling on the PDM to conduct feasibility study and chalk out Master Plan while keeping all stakeholders on board.
Besides short, medium and long-term objectives under which the project envisages providing information, the project under higher level objectives, will support the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to address the challenges posed by climate change and natural disasters.