KARACHI: In view of the possible return of extreme weather conditions which had killed around 1,500 people in the metropolis some two years ago, the Sindh government has chalked out a contingency plan to save lives this summer, it emerged on Thursday.

“The provincial disaster management authority (PDMA) of Sindh is spearheading the plans to save people from possible extreme weather events in a coordinated manner,” a senior Sindh government official told Dawn.

But critics blamed the government for not keeping its promises after the deaths of hundreds of people in Karachi. The provincial and city administrations remained unable to ensure widespread tree plantation, adequate water supply to water-deficient areas and uninterrupted power supply during the long summer months.

The government officials said the PDMA had realised that disasters and climate change were becoming an increasing threat to the world in general and Pakistan and Sindh in particular. “There is a dire need to evolve a comprehensive plan to avert the negative impact of disasters,” they added.

Officials in the city administration, however, said they had completed their contingency plans against heatwave. They feared it was extremely plausible when temperatures had already climbed close to 40 degrees Celsius even though the traditional summer months had not yet begun.

The deputy commissioners of the six city districts had submitted their plans to Karachi Commissioner Aijaz Khan, the officials said.

According to the plans, every DC would be focal person for their respective district. They would coordinate with the Met office, PDMA Sindh, the health ministry, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Civil Hospital Karachi and K-Electric.

The officials claimed that as per last year’s practice, the city administration this year, too, would set up response centres equipped with basic medical facilities, shelters and shades as well as water facility for people.

Market associations, philanthropists and private organisations would be taken into the loop for establishing such shades.

The commissioner asked the K-Electric representative at a meeting that it should ensure minimum load-shedding during such conditions. The authorities would also establish tertiary-care facilities at major government and private hospitals to augment efforts to save people suffering from heatstroke.

The Met office was asked to issue a warning for possible heatwave at least three days in advance.

This year again, the authorities promised launch of a plantation campaign in the city with each district being tasked to plant at least 10,000 ‘environment-friendly’ trees.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2017