Senate body recommends to set committee for managing GLOFs

The Minister expressed her resentment over lack of information sharing between the Met Office and the Ministry of Climate Change to provide in time advisories to the provincial departments pertaining to serious natural calamities like GLOF.

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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change on Thursday recommended to form a committee based on federal and provincial stakeholders to tackle glacial lake outburst floods in the northern areas of the country.

The Senate body met with Senator Seemee Ezdi in the Chair and was also attended by Senators Keshoo Bai, Khalida Ateeb and Taj Haider.

The Committee was briefed over the recent natural disasters of glacial lakes outburst in Shisper Glacier near Hassanabad Village of Hunza District and overall heatwave phenomenon that was grilling the entire nation in scorching heat.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman said the issue of climate change and environmental degradation has emerged as a national security issue.

The Minister expressed her resentment over lack of information sharing between the Met Office and the Ministry of Climate Change to provide in time advisories to the provincial departments pertaining to serious natural calamities like GLOF.

She said there were over 3,000 glacial lakes formed in the north of the country and 17 percent of the glaciers lost their mass putting the local communities at risk and most affected during the disasters.

The Minister while expressing her resentment pointed out that there was lack coordination among the ministries and all were working in silos which was detrimental to the cause of a holistic climate action.

She urged that public awareness messages should be aired on the television channels and all stakeholders would be taken on board to emphasize water conservation for a sustainable future.

The GLOF-II project officials presented a detailed briefing on the project inception, scope and implementation phase.

The project officials informed that it was the first Green Climate Fund (GCF) assisted project jointly executed by the Ministry of Climate Change and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The project survey has revealed 24 vulnerable in the northern areas which included 16 sites in Gilgit Blatistan and eight in Khyber Paktunkhwa.

The first tranche of advanced early warning systems to be installed in these priority areas facing GLOF risk would reach by July 2022, it was informed.

To a query, the Structure Expert told the Committee that the KKH Bridge collapsed due to weak foundations and was constructed by the Chinese back in 1972.

The Federal Minister underscored that there were accusations raised by the local masses that the flow of Shisper Glacier flood was diverted by some people which should be probed to launch strict punitive action against the culprits if the allegation was genuine.

Senior scientist and head of Agriculture and Coordination Arif Goheer presented a detailed briefing on heatwaves and its remedial measures. He noted that the prevailing heatwave impacts cast deep effected the agriculture sector that needed proper attention.

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