PESHAWAR: A UNDP mission led by its Resident Representative Knut Ostby visited Chitral to meet the flood-affected community and identify recovery and reconstruction needs.
This year, incidents of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) compounded by torrential monsoon rainfall increased the water levels in the rivers, causing hill torrents and flash flooding, putting the communities downstream at high risk, according to a statement issued here.
Damage was incurred not only to houses, infrastructure and livestock, but precious human lives were also lost. Flood damage assessment is still underway by the disaster management authorities as accessibility remains limited and an issue in many areas.
Mr Ostby met the affected families and community representatives from Reshun, Arkari and Madaklasht valleys to know about their recovery needs.
He also distributed rescue and relief equipment among the Hazard Watch Groups (HWG), established by the GLOF-II project of the government of Pakistan and UNDP.
He emphasised the UNDP’s continuous support to the district administration, Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Rescue 1122 and members of the local Community Based Disaster Risk Management Committees to overcome the losses.
The equipment included sleeping bags, tents, rain sheets, raincoats, backpacks, sunglasses alongside UPS batteries, generators, inverters, binoculars, handheld transceiver, GPS, gas cylinders, portal generators, cyber shot cameras, range finders, small solar panels and other items.
Mr Ostby also met the representatives of Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) who briefed him about the early warning systems installed under the GLOF-II project as well as HydroMet equipment installed at Pakistan MET Office, Chitral.
Data retrieved from the equipment plays a critical role in gauging annual rainfall and shifts in weather patterns.
The UNDP team also visited the GLOF-II project sites and flood-affected areas where irrigation channels, earlier rehabilitated by the project, were damaged due to increase in the river flow.–Dawn [Picture: Muhkam Uddin].