Even as the country’s financial capital Karachi battles intense monsoon flood, experts have warned that Pakistan lacks modern weather forecast radars for timely prediction of flooding. Over the last one week, intense monsoon downpour over Karachi has plagued the city with waterlogging, flash floods and power cuts.
Karachi recorded a whopping 230 mm rainfall in a single day on August 27, making this August the wettest August in 89 years. Overall, at least 39 people have been killed so far in several parts of the country this week.
Monsoon death toll spike to 134
The death toll from rain-related incidents across Pakistan has increased to 134, the country’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said in a report.
Sharing the data of casualties from June 15 to August 29 on its website, the NDMA said on Saturday that rescue and relief operations were being carried out in the affected areas by concerned departments of the government, army and non-governmental organizations, reports Xinhua news agency.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was the worst hit where 48 people were killed and 42 others injured, the authority said. Meanwhile, Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah told a press conference on Friday that 80 people were killed in rains in the province with 47 fatalities in provincial capital Karachi alone.
He said 604-mm rainfall was recorded in Karachi during August, breaking the years-long record of heavy rains in the city during the month. The torrential rains have caused a disastrous situation in Balochistan province where scores were left homeless after their houses were swept away by flash floods triggered off by lashing rains.
The NDMA has provided tents, food items, blankets, mosquito nets, among others, in the affected areas. The authority said scattered thunderstorms and rain with isolated heavy falls are also expected in parts of the country on Sunday. More rainfall is expected later next week.
This year, the meteorological department forecast more than usual rains during the ongoing monsoon season and concerned departments have issued advisories for the general public to take self-precautionary measures.
Pakistan lacks modern flood warning system
Despite the annual devastation caused by urban flooding in cities and flash floods in the mountainous areas of Pakistan, the country has neither an effective telemetry system nor authorities said. The monsoon winds are the major source of downpour in the country during the months of July-September.
“The country still does not have an effective aviation system to deal with flood disasters and other catastrophes,” the National Monsoon Contingency Plan 2020 compiled by the Natural Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) revealed on Saturday.
According to the plan, Pakistan has a medium and long term forecast system capable of accurately predicting the weather for a period of only 7 to 15 days while the seasonal weather forecast accuracy rate is also not more than 65-70 per cent, The Express Tribune reported.
The report indicated that the country is relying on old technology for the weather forecast, which makes it difficult to create standard and accurate atmospheric predictions. There is no telemetry system for flash flood warning in the mountainous regions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), South Punjab, Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Balochistan.
Telemetry is the automatic recording and transmission of data from remote or inaccessible sources to an IT system in a different location for monitoring and analysis.
(With inputs from IANS)
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