Monday July 15, 2024

Murad stresses proper coordination as he reviews flood situation

By Our Correspondent
July 09, 2024
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah can be seen in this image. — Facebook/Syed Murad Ali Shah/File
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah can be seen in this image. — Facebook/Syed Murad Ali Shah/File

Considering the Met Office’s forecast of above average rains, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday instructed the irrigation and relief departments to develop a contingency plan to manage the anticipated riverine floods in the province.

“I want proper coordination between all the departments concerned and agencies, including law enforcement and the Pakistan Navy, so that timely action can be taken in case of any emergency,” Shah said during a meeting he chaired at the CM House.

Chief Meteorologist Dr Sardar Sarfaraz said monsoon typically begins on July 1 in Pakistan and continues until mid-September. He outlined various factors influencing monsoon rains in the country.

He listed them as the sea surface temperatures of the Pacific and Indian oceans, the sub-tropical high or Tibetan high, the tropical easterly jet, the heat low-pressure area, the low-level jet, the Madden Julian Oscillation, and the Indian Ocean high pressure area.

He also mentioned that the differential heating of land and the adjoining oceans causes low-pressure formation over land and high pressure over the ocean. The Copernicus climate change service’s multi-model ensemble forecast for July-September indicates wetter than average precipitation with a 60-70 per cent probability, he said.

Urban flooding

The CM mentioned that most of the rainwater in the Thado canal is stored at the Thado Dam. The excess water from the dam and the Konakar canal flows into the Malir River near the Shafi village after crossing the M-9 motorway near Dumba Goth, he said.

He also noted that the rainwater from the Lat canal, after overflowing from the Lat Dam, affects Sadi Garden, Gulshan Usman, Sadi Town and other areas when it spills over M-9 near the Northern Bypass during heavy downpours in Karachi. To address urban flooding, the irrigation department has built eight small dams in the basin of the Lat canal, in addition to the existing dams.

Flood management

Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro said that the flood mechanism in the province was derived from three sources. Irrigation Secretary Zarif Khero said that the Lower Indus presents the greatest flood management problem in Pakistan.

He explained that being at the downstream end of the river system, flood levels are at their highest, flood volumes are at their largest, and flood durations are at their longest.

Vulnerable points

Khero disclosed that there are 10 vulnerable points at the Guddu Barrage, 22 at the Sukkur Barrage’s right bank, 36 at the left bank, and 28 at the Kotri Barrage. The CM calculated that there are a total of 104 vulnerable points. Responding to a question, Shoro said that emergency works are being executed along the River Bunds.

‘PDMA is prepared’

Rehabilitation Minister Makhdoom Mahboob said that the riverine flood has been ascertained through the seasonal hydrological forecast.

He said that there is a 95 per cent chance of high flows in the Indus River. Rains in July may be violent, accompanied by thunderstorms, and heavy showers of short durations. However, he pointed out, spells in August are likely to be calm, connected, consecutive and of long durations, which makes them more dangerous because natural depressions, drainage systems and soil permeability are likely to be saturated with earlier spells in July.

He said that the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has made the necessary preparations in advance. The CM directed the PDMA, and the irrigation and local government departments to establish close coordination, and to also keep the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and the navy in the loop.

The meeting was also attended by provincial ministers Sardar Ali Shah, Saeed Ghani and Mohammad Bux Khan Mahar, Chief Secretary Asif Hyder Shah, secretaries of various government departments, Sukkur Mayor Nauman Shaikh, PDMA Director General Salman Shah, a representative of the Commander Karachi, and commissioners of different