Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks at NDMA’s National Emergencies Operation Centre.—APP
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks at NDMA’s National Emergencies Operation Centre.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed the hope on Thursday that the National Disaster Man­a­gement Authority would prove to be a ‘safety wall’ against the impacts of climate change.

Speaking during a visit to the authority’s reva­m­ped National Emerg­en­c­ies Operation Centre, PM Shehbaz said that climate change had put Pakistan in the red zone — among the ten most vulnerable countries.

He said the 2022 floods had inflicted $30 billion in losses, which would take years to overcome. The federal government alone had spent Rs100bn on the rehabilitation of those affected, besides funding from the provinces, as well as aid from friendly countries.

He asked the NDMA to ensure close coordination with the provinces, inclu­ding Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir, and advised the procurement of equipment thro­ugh coordination to avoid duplication.

The PM appla­u­ded the genesis of NEOC with the cutting-edge tec­h­n­o­logy and team NDMA for actualising the first of its kind centre in Pakistan and the region, which was a testament to the country’s commitment to disaster readiness and mitigation.

NDMA Chairman Lt Gen Inam Haider Malik briefed the prime minister on the capabilities of the NEOC, which is fed by multiple satellite feeds, software and artificial int­elligence tools to generate a National Common Operating Picture, stren­g­thening digital risk assessment, early warning systems and preparedness strategies for Pakistan.

The briefing highligh­ted the NEOC’s capability to forecast weather six to ten months in advance, both at the national and regional levels.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2024

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