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Monsoon floods: Chitral among 10 very high risk districts

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa relief, rehabilitation and settlement department has come up with the Monsoon Contingency Plan for the province declaring 16 districts highly vulnerable to floods during the upcoming rainy season.

Of these districts, 10 districts are at a “very high risk” and six at a “high risk” from flooding, according to the plan.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said it had developed the plan to minimise disaster risks and facilitate a coordinated and timely response during the monsoon season.

It added that district administrations, provincial and federal authorities and humanitarian partners were actively engaged for the plan’s development and that “valuable lessons learned from previous incidents” were incorporated in it. 

The PDMA said the primary objective of the plan was to mitigate the impact of disasters and safeguard the lives and livelihoods of the people residing in the province.

According to the plan, the “very-high-risk” districts are: Swat, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Upper and Lower Chitral, Charsadda, Nowshera, Upper Kohistan, Shangla and Upper Dir. The high-risk districts are: Malakand, Lower Dir, Torghar, Lower Kohistan, Kolai-Palas and Peshawar.

Likewise, nine other districts are at medium risk from monsoon flooding.

The plan said floods had been an ongoing issue in the province, especially in lowland areas, causing waterborne diseases, a loss of human and livestock life, and damage to infrastructure.

It added that the issue was addressed through a comprehensive flood risk management approach that encompassed prevention, mitigation, preparedness, emergency response, and recovery measures.

The plan discourages construction in flood-prone areas, adapting of future construction to flood risks, and promotion of appropriate land use and agricultural practices.

The mitigation strategies include structural and non-structural measures to reduce the likelihood and impact of floods in specific locations.

“Preparedness efforts are aimed at educating the population about flood risks and providing guidance on appropriate actions during floods. Emergency response plans are being developed to ensure a swift and effective response in the event of a flood,” it said.

The plan also incorporated “recovery and lessons learned components to minimise the social and economic impacts on affected communities and facilitate their return to normalcy.”

The PDMA said it had actively promoted the contingency planning process as a preparedness measure for natural hazards, especially during the upcoming monsoon season.

“The Monsoon Contingency Plan 2023 builds upon the lessons learned from past flood events, such as the 2010 catastrophic floods, 2011 heavy monsoon rainfalls, 2012 flash floods, and the subsequent natural disasters.

By conducting risk and vulnerability assessments, it aims to strengthen preparedness and response capacities while identifying and addressing gaps and challenges,” it said.

The authority said the major expected outcomes of the monsoon plan included the raising of public awareness and building capacity for effective response, anticipating and allocating necessary resources based on threat perception, developing integrated planning capacities, and addressing gaps through preparatory measures. 

 

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