Published On: Wed, Oct 29th, 2014

WWF-Pakistan calls for immediate response on Cyclone Nilofar

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PRESS RELEASE

KARACHI, October 29, 2014: World Wildlife Fund for Nature—WWF-PAKISTAN in a statement issued on Wednesday evening, stated that as Cyclone Nilofar approaches the coastal areas of Pakistan with gusty winds and heavy rainfall, WWF-Pakistan has stressed the need to take immediate precautionary measures for residents of the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan, in order to cope with adverse impacts, if any, of this tropical cyclone. WWF-Pakistan has already mobilized its staff posted along the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan to help local authorities and coastal communities prepare for the cyclone and its possible effects.

According to Dr. Ejaz Ahmed, Senior Director, WWF-Pakistan, “In order to reduce the risk, it is important to strengthen the natural ecosystem such as mangroves, which serve as a defence shield by protecting coastal communities against storms and cyclones.”

Sharing his views, Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Adviser, WWF-Pakistan, said that it is now scientifically proven that the frequency of cyclones has increased during the past two decades due to climatic changes. Since 1999, eight major cyclones have hit the coastal areas of Pakistan, some of which have caused severe damage to lives and property. Of these, Cyclone 2 A in May 1999 quite possibly caused the most serious damage to the coastal area of Thatta and Badin. Destruction of some of the infrastructure including the Left Outfall Bank Drain (LOBD) seriously affected coastal communities and recovery from the damage has still not been completed. Similarly, Cyclone Phet in 2010 caused serious damage to fishing boats and coastal infrastructure in Gwader, Jiwani, Thatta and Badin districts. Moazzam stressed the need for adequate preparedness so that any adverse effect of cyclone Nilofar can be tackled properly. Recently, it has been observed that due to climate change the frequency of cyclones have increased. Cyclone Nilofar is the second one in 2014 to hit the coastal belt of Pakistan.

Muhammad Tahir Abbasi, Building Capacity on Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Areas of Pakistan (CCAP), WWF-Pakistan said that WWF-Pakistan’s team based in the creek area near Keti Bundar is closely monitoring the cyclone and coordinating with local administration and the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA). He informed that Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) committees and village organizations set up under the auspices of WWF-Pakistan in the area have been alerted to handle any adverse situation. WWF has coordinated with the local administration and has persuaded communities not to go to high seas to fish. Through these efforts 80 per cent of fishermen from coastal villages have returned while the remaining 20 per cent are heading back. The CCAP project has been working closely with FM-92 to disseminate warning messages regarding the cyclone in Sindhi. The fishers have been advised to stay indoors and those who have gone into the deep sea for fishing have been asked to return. Also, a fund raising proposal has been prepared for rescue and rehabilitation of the affected communities.

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