GILGIT: The Global Climate Risk Index 1993-2012 has ranked Pakistan as the 12th most affected by extreme weather events.

This information was shared during the two-day Climate Change Adaptation Conference held here on Wednesday, says a press release.

The conference was organised by the Focus Humanitarian Assistance programme in collaboration with Karakoram International University (KIU) to discuss the impact of global warming and ways to decrease risks at community and institutional levels.

According to one of the speakers, Pakistan was highly vulnerable to climate change and large floods, drought and biodiversity loss was expected in future.

Assistant Professor, KIU, Dr Shaukat Ali said the mean annual temperature increase recorded in Pakistan from 1960 to 2007 was higher than the rate observed globally.

“This temperature increase will result in more heat waves and will also affect the country’s water demand. More than 40 per cent of the population in Pakistan is at risk of natural disasters such as droughts, floods and cyclones,” he added.

Geologist Niaz Ali stated that in the past four years, Pakistan had endured two of the deadliest avalanches the world has ever seen.

“Pakistan has witnessed a 0.76°C rise in temperature during the last 40 years, but what is even more disturbing is the fact that the mountainous areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral have seen an increase of 1.5°C during the same time period,” he said.

He linked the deadly avalanches to the rise in temperatures in the northern areas and warned that the late spell of snowfall coupled with increased temperatures might increase the chance of an avalanche in northern Pakistan.

Chairperson Focus Pakistan, Khadija Jamal Shaban said: “The impact of climate change is far wider and deeper than that being discussed. It impacts every sector and therefore a strong national policy to guide climate change adaptation is very critical.”

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