ISLAMABAD, May 1 (APP): The Coordinator to Federal Tax Ombudsman Meher Kashif Younis Monday said Pakistan is amongst the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change, “braving disastrous floods, unliveable heatwaves and fast-melting glaciers”.
Pakistan will have to face numerous climate-induced extreme changing weather conditions in the future and the government must in advance chalk out viable plan to mitigate the impact of natural disasters.
Speaking to a delegation of industrialists and traders led by Mian Zeeshan Elahi CEO Marvel Cables he said just two weeks ago there were at least two stark reminders of the hazards natural disasters pose to people’s safety. He said a number of people were killed in a landslide at the Torkham border with Afghanistan when tons of rocks and mud came crashing down upon truck drivers.
He said local speculated that the recent controlled blasting in the area could have contributed to the landslide. Elsewhere, thousands of people travelling to GB for Eid were trapped on the high-altitude Karakoram Highway due to heavy rainfall and landslides. Exacerbating the situation was the fact that a bridge in KP’s Uchar Nallah area that was swept away during last year’s summer floods had yet to be rebuilt.
Meher Kashif Younis said the biggest extreme weather event in recent history was last year’s super monsoon flood and millions of people have yet to fully recover from the impacts of that disaster.He said it’s high time for government two workout master plan to address the anthropogenic factors that aggravate the impact of natural disasters, and secondly, efforts must also be made to build climate-resilient infrastructure that can resist the worst effects of disasters.
He said it is well-documented that rapid deforestation, in the north as well as the southern parts of the country, has added to the ferocity of the floods.Moreover, when precious forests are cut down, there is little to stop the raging waters and mounds of earth and rock from crashing down in the form of landslides. He said then there are issues of building illegal structures perilously close to rivers, at times on riverbeds.
This has resulted in the massive destruction of property; images from Swat and other parts of KP of the merciless torrents washing away hotels and other structures during last year’s floods should be recalled. He said there is also the issue of glacial lake outburst floods, which are caused by unusually high temperatures in the higher altitudes of GB and KP.
Meher Kashif Younis pointed out that while reducing temperature rise is beyond Pakistan’s ability, and is a global goal, the state can play a more positive role in ensuring that the infrastructure is resilient to the ravages of climate change and extreme weather events. He said the government must make sure that structures such as bridges and embankments in flood- and landslide-prone areas are sturdy, disallow constructions that block the natural flow of water, and halt illegal logging.