Tuesday August 16, 2022

Seven million people vulnerable to glacial floods: Many in KP living in disaster-prone regions

October 09, 2021

MINGORA: The Federal Ministry of Climate Change Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday observed “National Resilience Day” at the University of Swat (Charbagh) to remember the martyrs of the October 8, 2005 Earthquake.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) KP in collaboration with the GLOF-II Project sponsored by the green climate fund and implemented by UNDP arranged the event.

The objective was to express solidarity with the bereaved families who had lost near and dear ones in the devastating quake. Judat Ayaz. Additional Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Project Director GLOF-II, was the chief guest.

Director, Disaster Risk Management, PDMA, Zuhra Nigar, UNDP GLOF-II Provincial Coordinator Fahad Bangash, vice-chancellor, of the University of Swat, representative United Nations humanitarian organisations, academia, students along with representatives from INGOs participated in the event.

Judat Ayaz said currently, seven million people in Pakistan are vulnerable to GLOFs resulting from climate change. Judat Ayaz called for raising awareness on the devastating impacts of climate change-induced disasters with a special focus on disaster resilience.

He said considering the fact that Pakistan is ranked as the 8th most vulnerable country to extreme weather events on the Global Risk Index, working towards building a disaster resilient Pakistan was a key priority for us.

Zuhra Nigar said northern parts of the province were badly affected by the 2005 earthquake. Muzaffarabad was the hardest hit area mainly because the epicentre of the earthquake was just 19 kilometres (12 miles) to its northeast, she added. Zuhra Nigar added that risk and uncertainties are increasing in the region due to climate change, greater frequency of extreme climatic events, extreme minimum and maximum temperature and increased incidence of temperature influenced disasters & pests.

The world in general and Pakistan, in particular, is suffering as a result of climate change. She said, due to the uneven distribution of monsoon rains, floods and famine were the fate of this region.

In addition to these hazards, GLOF is another emerging phenomenon, observed especially in Chitral having a glacial cover of 4000, the second largest glacial inventory in Pakistan after GB, she added.

The incidents of GLOF posed some serious threats and challenges to the mountainous communities in the far-flung areas in recent times.The director said today many people of our province were living in earthquake and disaster-prone regions and many communities were at risk from cyclones and other extreme weather events.If we are going to defeat climate change and address its impacts, we need to work together.

National Project Manager GLOF 2 Misbah Zafar said climate change impacts like Glacial Lake Outburst Floods pose a direct threat to our local communities. Together with the Ministry of Climate Change, we work on integrating government priorities to the climate change agenda, she added.

The PDMA director-general said natural disasters phenomenon cannot be stopped but can be reduced by taking measures. The observance of National Resilience Day is an occasion to evaluate and reiterate commitment to making greater preparedness to avert or face natural calamities and by showing resolve for disaster risk reduction, he added.

The PDMA conducts multiple activities in October to create public awareness about natural disasters and climate change adaptation.