ISLAMABAD: Despite being vulnerable to natural disasters, Chitral lacks an early warning system to alert the local communities about impending disasters.
A Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa official said there were seven sites bearing early warning systems on riverbanks in the province to monitor water flows by the irrigation department.
However, there was no such system installed in Chitral to generate data, alerts and start monitoring of surging glaciers or landslides.
He said PDMA had proposed 27 sites in the annual development plan where the irrigation department would act as the implementing partner to get early warning systems in the vulnerable hilly areas of the province.
Rehana, a local resident, added that due to no early warning system in Chitral, the local life was at danger as during critical weather conditions, landslides and avalanches there was no on time intimation about the disaster.
“My cousin died in an avalanche the past year as he was travelling outside the town where his car was struck by a landslide,” she added. She said students particularly children were mostly at risk as their schools remained closed for several weeks during landslides.
There is uncertainty among the local people due to increased occurrence of disasters as earlier there was a glacial surge at Shisper and Golen that hampered connectivity and human life in the valley.
No doubt, she said, environment and ecology were getting damaged due to the adverse climate change impacts but local businesses, children’s education etc were equally affected in Chitral. This demands an urgent attention of the authorities concerned.–APP