NDMA asks provincial departments for effective measures

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ISLAMABAD
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has issued guidelines for federal and provincial departments to ensure effective measures to cope with any emergent situation amid weather forecasts of more rain-thunderstorm and hailstorm across the country.
The NDMA informed that as per the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) forecast a westerly wave was likely to enter western parts of the country on April 2 and likely to intensify in upper parts of the country by April 3 and to persist in upper parts of the country till April 4.
Under the influence of this weather system, rain-wind and thunderstorms with isolated heavy falls and hailstorms were expected from April 2-4 (Monday to Tuesday) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab.
Moreover, heavy rains might cause flash floods in Swabi, Mardan, Peshawar, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Dir, Swat, Kohistan, Nowshera, Waziristan, Bajur, Kurram, Kashmir during the forecast period. Landslides may occur in hilly areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Galliyat, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir and Murree during the forecast period, it added. In light of the forecast shared by PMD, following region-specific impacts are expected.
Therefore, all concerned stakeholders are to remain vigilant against possible hazards. Moreover, strong wind and hailstorm may cause damage to loose infrastructure and standing crops (particularly wheat crop) in the country.
Farmers should irrigate the crops keeping in view the forecast. The Authority in the light of the above forecast directed all the provincial disaster management authorities (PDMAs), Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA), State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration, National Highway Authority (NHA), National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP), Frontier Works Organization (FWO), Rescue 1122, line departments, ministries and federal agencies to undertake measures as per respective mandate.
However, following preemptive measures were to be ensured by all concerned in addition to measures deemed appropriate as per on ground situation: Ensure widespread circulation of alerts and advisories, especially in local languages, to raise awareness and sensitize travellers or tourists and local communities in at-risk or vulnerable areas.
It also directed to engage local communities at traditionally and historically dangerous and hazard-prone sites to enable round the clock monitoring and establish feedback mechanism for early warnings and alerts for at-risk population.
And also ensure adequate awareness for farmers regarding impacts on standing crops, coordinate with relevant district and municipal administrations to ensure mitigation measures for flash or urban flooding and to secure or remove billboards or hoardings in view of thunderstorm, high winds and hailstorms.
The PDMA and DDMAs were also demanded to arrange and preplace necessary inventory and other essentials at strategic locations, vulnerable or choke points in coordination with NHMP, NHA, FWO, local C&W, Rescue 1122 and line departments. The provincial and federal authorities were also demanded to ensure a pro-active approach by diverting traffic, providing alternate routes, imposing move or travel restrictions, to avert any situation of road closure with stranded people.
Local administrations to assess and plan the deployment of additional resources and exercise control over traffic leading to and in vicinity of vulnerable, choke points, tourist spots to prevent losses or damages and save precious lives.
It also demanded to ensure that tourists, visitors and travellers in at-risk or affected areas be apprised and forewarned about weather forecast and road conditions in coordination with NHMP, law enforcement agencies (LEAs), NHA, FWO and C&W. The tourists, visitors and travellers were advised to check PMD Weather Forecast for information on snowfall, rain and for road conditions and landslides or high flow in seasonal nullahs from control rooms, helplines, websites and social media platforms of NHMP, NHA, FWO, DDMAs, PDMAs and C&W before undertaking the journey.
It also demanded the quarters concerned to ensure the availability of emergency services personnel during the forecasted period, and ensure immediate stocking of basic commodities, especially in regions that were likely to get cut off during snowfall or landslides. Moreover, medical resources including paramedics, equipment and medicine should be deployed as per the vulnerability or risks identified in different regions to meet respective regional requirements. The departments were also advised to ensure round-the-clock monitoring of the situation through emergency operations centres (EOCs) with regular feedback from provincial and national emergency operations centres (PEOCs and NEOC respectively).