HYDERABAD: Speakers at a seminar have said that recent extreme weather events have damaged 10pc of Mohenjo Daro site and warned if appropriate measures are not taken climate change phenomenon will ruin all heritage sites.

They said at the moot on “Impact of floods on heritage and the way forward for heritage based disaster risk management” organised by Sindh Community Foundation (SCF) here the other day at a local hotel that recent heavy rain had damaged heritage sites but the issue received little attention from disaster management authorities.

SCF’s head Javed Soz shared findings of initial assessment of disaster risk reduction (DRR) plan, gaps identified and adaptive measures for the DRR plan for Mohenjo Daro which was developed by SCF.

He said that climate change raised fears that natural calamities would increase in frequency and severity in future as Pakistan was among the countries which were considered most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

He said that heritage worldwide was threatened by climate incidents. Recent climate incidents impacted human lives and heritage sites equally. Almost 10pc of Mohenjo Daro had been damaged, he said.

Dr Zia Abro of Mehran University’s Water Centre said that issues with drainage system caused damage when rainwater accumulating in the wake of heavy rains because of poor drainage did internal damage to the sites.

He said that the existing drainage system needed to be made functional to drain out water from the heritage site towards Dadu Canal as this system had worked efficiently from 1975 to 1992 but was abandoned later.

The speakers said that there was need to engage local communities in safeguarding the heritage and ensuring regular monitoring of river embankments. Interdepartmental coordination as well needed to be ensured in this regard, they said.

They said that local preservation committees should be established at district level to bring stakeholders together and a modern first aid centre be established at the heritage site where drills should be carried out regularly every year.

They urged the department concerned to ensure cultivation of low-delta crops around the site to overcome rising water table in the area due to cultivation of high delta crops like rice.

They demanded heritage risk management should be included in national disaster risk reduction and climate change policies. Global community was less concerned about heritage disaster management hence the impact of recent floods on heritage sites had received very little attention, they said.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2022

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