Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has directed the Ministry of Water and Power, National Highway Authority, Pakistan Railways, and National Disaster Management Authority to expedite the removal of encroachments in the natural waterways and strengthening of the embankments along Sher Shah Bridge, Akbar Bund, Shahdhra Railway Bridge before start of monsoon to minimize the damage in the event of possible floods.
The Prime Minister gave these directions while chairing a meeting on the State of Disaster Preparedness 2012 by the Ministry of National Disaster Management, which was attended by the Secretaries of Finance, Economic Affairs Division, National Disaster Management Divisions, Chairmen of NDMA, NHA, Federal Flood Commission, Wapda, and the Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan, DG Met office and other senior officials.
The Prime Minister directed to enhance weather forecasting capacity of the Met Department by linking it with the European Satellite System. He further emphasized that international data on the subject be used in this respect to improve accuracy of the weather forecasting, which was an important component of preparedness.
On the question of release of funds for enhancement of weather forecasting capacity, the Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Division to arrange required funds. ‘It will be worthwhile not to follow the approach marked by the saying “penny wise, pound foolish’, he maintained.
The Prime Minister appreciated the idea of Disaster Risk Insurance to cover up the possible damages in the disaster proven areas. He asked the Ministry of Finance and EAD to examine the case in detail and work out the options with the Ministry of Disaster Management and NDMA.
The Prime Minister directed that the capacity enhancement of NDMA, PDMA, and DDMA should be taken up on the priority basis. He asked the Chief Secretaries of all provinces to ensure budgetary allocations for disaster management in their yearly budgets. The Prime Minister asked the Ministry of Finance to provide funds to NDMA to enhance its capacity compatible to challenge.
The Chief Secretary of Punjab apprised the meeting that most of encroachments in the waterways had been removed in Punjab and the provincial government was maintaining a Revolving Fund to cope with the aftermath of heavy rains and floods.
The Chief Secretary Sindh that with the passage of the Encroachment Bill by the Sindh Assembly, the provincial administration was fully geared up in the elimination of encroachment of natural waterways which caused colossal losses in the province of Sindh last year.
The Chief Secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan said on the occasion that GB suffered losses of Rs. 8 billion in 2010 floods and the region remained cut-off from the rest of the country for 45 days. He requested for the provision of early flood warning system and suggested that aggressive forestation could be helpful in coping with heavy rains and floods. The Chief Secretary of GB requested for release of remaining Rs. 3 billion.
The WAPDA representatives said that they had found local indigenous solution by digging a canal which would divert Indus floodwater to Tharparker and Mitthi deserts and thus make a large area fit for cultivation.
The Chairman of the Federal Flood Commission said that due to installation of early warning system at Nala Lai in Rawalpindi, the losses of life and property had significantly been reduced. The system should be replicated on the seasonal water passages throughout the country, the Prime Minister directed.
The Prime Minister also instructed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Division to mobilize domestic and international resources for completion of Flood Control Projects. He also directed for inclusion of these projects in the next PSDP on priority basis.
For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326