Gilgit-Baltistan:National Conference on National Preparedness & Contingency Planning

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Islamabad (News): A two-day national conference organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) as part of its annual national preparedness and contingency planning exercise for monsoon season concluded here on Thursday.

The conference was a culmination of an exhaustive preparedness exercise initiated in February 2013 by NDMA whereby the provincial disaster management authority (PDMAs) led the preparation of contingency plans at district levels with primary focus on highly vulnerable districts and areas. The provincial PDMAs assimilated the district plans as well as the plans of the line departments into comprehensive provincial contingency plans.

The provincial and regional disaster management authorities including PDMAs Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh, AJ&K , Gilgit-Baltistan , Fata and Islamabad Capital Territory presented their plans with all stakeholders during the first day of National Conference. The PDMAs while giving details of their plans containing information vulnerable areas and communities, roles and responsibilities of different responders, coordination mechanisms, possible scenarios and corresponding case loads, available relief stocks, their pre-positioning and efforts for further stock piling, gaps and challenges were also highlighted.

Earlier, the Pakistan Meteorological Department presented the weather forecast-outlook for monsoon season 2013. The forecasts suggested more or less 10% normal rainfall over the season and predicting below normal rainfall during July. Slightly above normal rainfall during August and expectations of more than normal rainfall during the month of September particularly in Punjab and Sindh.

However it did not rule out the possibility of extreme events particularly hill torrents in Koh-e-Sulaiman range. Moreover the possibility of flood in rivers can also not be ruled out as per PMD. Suparco also gave presentation on the situation likely to be created due to melting of glaciers and heavy snowfalls received during winters earlier.

The Federal Flood Commission apprised the participants on the state of repair-/maintenance, reconstruction of damaged flood protection infrastructure in the wake of floods 2010, 2011 and 2012. FFC informed that a lot of investment has been made in strengthening bathe flood protection infrastructure and gave satisfaction to the participants that despite excessive snow melt. The situation would remain under control. It also informed that the work on Preparation of National Flood Protection Plan-IV (2014-24) had been initiated through World Bank funded Water Sector Capacity Building & Advisory Services Project (WCAP).

At the end of the first day fruitful discussion was held and the stakeholders emphasized on filling the gaps and resolution of issues with enhanced coordination.

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