Extreme monsoon season to cause flooding, landslides, says Senate body

 

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources was informed on Wednesday that the monsoon season could be extreme with the incursion of Western System, higher than normal snowfall and other climatic changes in the country.

The committee, which met with Senator Shammim Afridi in the chair, was briefed by Federal Flood Commission (FFC) Chairman Ahmad Kamal regarding the meteorological department’s forecast of rain.

“Normal to above normal rain is expected in the northern parts including Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, while normal and below normal rain is predicted for Sindh and Balochistan,” he said.

He also said that 80 to 90 per cent more snow was recorded this year in the catchment areas. However, he added that Tarbela dam has capacity of 145 feet to store floodwater.

Water Resources Secretary Muhammad Ashraf told the Senate panel that the Indus Water River System Authority (IRSA) was releasing water to the provinces as per their indent. He added that Sindh’s requirement was being met through more water discharge from Mangla dam.

Regarding compensation of those affected by floodwaters, the secretary of Balochistan’s planning and development department said that three lists of affectees of Mirani dam were prepared after conducting surveys. He said compensation of houses had already been made to the affectees.

“The federal government has also contributed its share and transferred Rs930 million for onward payment,” he said.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said that a total of 49 districts across the country are at serious risk due to the threat of flooding and landslides caused in rivers and streams.

According to its breakdown, among the districts faced with flooding, 13 are in Sindh, 10 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), nine Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), six districts each in Punjab and Balochistan, and five in Azad Kashmir.

The National Monsoon Contingency Response Directive 2019 issued by the authority says monsoon rains could also result in melting and calving of glaciers and increase in sea levels along with flash floods and landslides.