Pakistan

Indian power plants responsible for heatwave in Pakistan: NDMA

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KARACHI:  The coal-powered power plants in India are responsible for intense summers and heatwaves in Pakistan, said Ahmed Kamal of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Kamal who is also representative of the NDMA at the Prime Minister House made these comments while speaking exclusively to ARY News.

He said that India was producing 9000 MW electricity from coal powered power plants on the northern border with Pakistan. This has led to faster melting of glaciers in the northern areas of Pakistan which was responsible for increasing heat wave in lower level areas of the country.

He said that research has shown that dark coal such as the one used by India was a severe pollutant which  not only affects the glacier but the emissions were responsible for climate change in the country. He said that Pakistan was speaking to India through diplomatic channels over the issue.

He was speaking on the occasion of workshop  organized by the NDMA where journalists were briefed about the effects of natural disasters and climate change.

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The main speakers were Chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Environment Dr. Karim Khawaja, NDMA member Disaster Response and Rehabilitation (DRR) Ahmed Kamal and Major (retd) Ayub Shah.

The environment experts were unanimous in their opinion that the rate and intensity of natural disasters have increased in Pakistan since the last six years.

The country witnessed severe floods in 2010 after which several earthquakes and floods have also impacted the country whereas the coastal areas are also faced with risks from cyclones every year.

The NDMA has said that around 2.9 billion people around the world are affected by natural disasters every year which results in the loss of life of 1.2 million people.

The experts made the shocking disclosure that the rate and impact of natural disasters in the country has increased to a large extent. Although no serious efforts have been made by the federal government, it is pertinent to mention  that large amount of funds have been allocated to disaster management.

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Senator Karim Khawaja said that the impact on the coastal areas in Sindh have worsened and now even  Karachi was at risk due to the rising sea levels. He said that a wall should be built at Sea View in Clifton to control the rising sea levels and be safe from further destruction.

Khawaja said that more than 2.2 million acres of fertile lands were submerged by the rising seas in Thatta, and the Indus Delta was going through one of the worst times.  It was due to no water supply in the River Indus downstream Kotri barrage.

He said that all creeks were been destroyed due to lack of water in the River Indus. He reiterated that Sir Creek was an integral part of Pakistan and any claim made by India was completely baseless as the water from River Indus also fed all the creeks from Korangi Creek to Sir Creek.

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Ayub Shah said that Pakistan had witnessed increased disasters between 2010 -15 such as floods and earthquakes.  Even the thunderstorm in Islamabad a few days ago was a severe and unprecedented one.

The storm caused huge destruction in the federal capital including loss of lives, and was unpredictable as it has changed direction. He said that such storm can strike the area at any time without any warning.

He said that the Ministry of Environment and the NDMA lacked modern facilities for disaster management and control. He said that the country did not have its own satellite, and even used an outdated Richter Scale.

Shah  said that 1092 people have been trained by the NDMA. He said that factories and industries around the world have online maps. The NDMA is making efforts to ensure that factories in Pakistan have online maps which can help to reach them in case of a severe disaster.

Shah again reminded that climate change had led to intense summers leading to heatwave, and water shortages had caused droughts. He said that ground water levels had fallen dramatically and rainfalls have shifted 100 km east of the country. He said that the country was not prepared to face these challenges and climate change will wreck havoc in the country.

Wajeeha Ahmed and Alveena Agha also spoke on the occasion. It was concluded that it was not enough to celebrate an international day for environment, but that the government need to  make serious efforts to face the challenges and the disastrous  effects of climate change on the country.

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