Monsoon emergency in place as minister warns of more rains from today

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Friday warned citizens of more rains — starting today (Saturday) — after the federal cabinet declared a “monsoon emergency”.

In a tweet on Friday, she said: “According to the Pakistan Met Department, the country will experience more rains in the coming week. Islamabad, Kashmir, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh will receive heavy rainfall from August 6 till 9.

“Furthermore, these areas including Gilgit Baltistan will also experience strong winds and thundershowers from August 10 to 13. All federal and provincial agencies have been advised to stay on alert and take necessary precautions. In the meantime, all district commissioners and provincial administrations should be mobilised to prevent loss of lives.”

She said the water level in Chenab, Jhelum and Ravi rivers might rise with a risk of flash flooding in local rivers and nullahs in majority of the cities and towns in these provinces.

Travellers and tourists should travel in consideration of the weather conditions and be more careful while travelling, especially in the northern areas and Kashmir as rains may trigger landslides in hilly areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Galiyat, Murree, Chilas, Diamer, Gilgit, Hunza, Astore, Ghizer and Skardu, she said.

The minister said the effects of climate change continued to exacerbate in the country as “we have experienced lengthy heat waves, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) and forest fires”.

Editorial: Rain disaster

She said Balochistan recorded more than 600pc above-normal rainfall during this monsoon spell since mid-June while Sindh received 500pc more rain.

“Major cities are being warned against urban flooding, prolonged electricity outages, and flash floods,” she added.

She further wrote that the federal government was making assessments of the damage caused by rains and the prime minister had visited many flood-hit areas himself along with the many ministerial committees.

Ms Rehman said all departments continued to survey disaster-struck areas.

“The federal government will release timely compensations to the families of those who have lost their loved ones and who have lost their homes in these devastating floods.

“We will be moving towards building medium-term resilience after the edge of the crisis is over,” she added.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2022