ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal to coordinate with the governments of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to assess the damage caused by recent floods and heavy rains in the provinces in order to help the federal and provincial authorities devise a strategy for compensation of the losses.
The directives were issued by the prime minister while presiding over a meeting of the National Coordination Committee on Floods here on Monday, according to an announcement by the PM Office.
Besides the NDMA chief, the meeting was attended by federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz, Communications Minister Murad Saeed, Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, the director general of the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) and the chairmen of the National Highways Authority and Federal Flood Commission (FFC).
The provincial chief secretaries also participated in the meeting through a video link. The chief secretaries informed the prime minister about the damages caused by recent floods and rains in their respective provinces.
The NDMA chairman briefed the prime minister on the situation in various parts of the country after the recent spells of monsoon and the damages caused by these heavy rains. He also apprised the prime minister about the relief activities being carried out by the NDMA in different parts of the country affected due to rains.
Meeting reviews relief activities being carried out in rain-affected areas
The officials of the PMD and Flood Commission informed the prime minister that most parts of the country, especially in Sindh and Balochistan, had received more rains than the past. The meeting participants were informed that almost all the rivers were having medium flow of water.
The prime minister was told that there were “strong chances” that the ongoing monsoon season would come to an end by the middle of this month and the chances of more flood-like situation were very low.
The meeting’s participants were also apprised about the relief operation being carried out by the country’s armed forces.
Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister stressed the need for more coordination among all the federal and provincial departments concerned to face the challenge they were facing due to climate changes.
PM Khan was also informed that all dams in the country were full of water and the situation of water availability was satisfactory.
The country’s major reservoirs had already reached their full capacity last month following the countrywide rainfalls and both Tarbela and Mangla dams had attained their maximum conservation levels.
The FFC attributes the filling of dams to effective management of inflows and outflows of the reservoirs, especially by Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and the Indus River System Authority (Irsa).
It has advised the dams operating authorities, including the Flood Monitoring Cell of Mangla, Irsa (Indus River System Authority) and the PMD, to take utmost care and exercise extra vigilance of the reservoirs’ operation.
The combined live storage of major reservoirs — Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma — was reported at 13.425 million acre feet (MAF) on Aug 28, which accounted for 98.61 per cent of the 13.614 MAF maximum storage capacity, a record water availability during last 10 years.
According to Wapda, water available in Tarbela and Mangla dams was 2.173 MAF more when compared to last 10 years’ average. The average water availability in the two dams during the last 10 years on the day was recorded at 11.163 MAF.
This better hydrological situation will aptly fulfil the requirement of water for the country’s agriculture in the days to come. More water availability in the reservoirs will also result in more hydel generation in the coming days.
The heavy rainfall spell occurred over the past few days in various parts of Sindh, especially Karachi, had caused severe urban flooding in the provincial capital.
The prime minister had visited Karachi last week and in the presence of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah unveiled a package of Rs1.1 trillion at Governor House to resolve Karachi’s lingering and chronic issues, including provision of clean drinking water, cleaning of drains and sewage and solid waste disposal within three years.
Later, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stated that the Sindh government would contribute Rs800 billion to the Rs1.1tr package for Karachi, saying that they “welcome the Rs300 billion funding from the federal government for Karachi’s infrastructure development”.
On Sunday, however, federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives Asad Umar of PTI told a press conference that the federal government would bear 62 per cent of the total amount of Rs1,100 billion announced by the prime minister.
Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2020