Published On: Tue, Apr 19th, 2016

‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is more vulnerable to extreme weather events’


By Mahwish Qayyum
Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is more vulnerable to extreme weather event due to global warming as a result of climate change.
Despite suffering with suicidal blasts, armed attacks on schools, militancy and Pakistani Taliban’s insurgency, environmentalists claim that events related to climate change has killed more people than those killed by terrorism.
The irregular pattern of monsoon caused flash flooding and KP is the worst victims of such events. Due to the militancy and operations against militants, large number of people displaced in the province, but environmentalists fear that the number of climate refugees is much higher.

The 2005 earthquake in Pakistan’s northern areas killed over 100,000 people, injured about 138,000 and rendered more than 3.5 million homeless. In 2010, flash floods divulged approximately 2000 lives—mostly belong to KP—and washed away thousands of houses.
Similarly, in March and April 2016, according to Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) report, rain-related incidents left 148 dead, 137 injured whereas 1123 houses damaged and environmental experts say that climate change would bring more destruction in the province.
Experts believe that glacial melting, land sliding and flash flooding will become frequent in coming years in the province. Retired Professor of Environmental Science department of University of Peshawar, Dr Shafiqur Rahman, said KP is situated in northern areas, which consists of mountains, adding that rocks continue to breaking and during rains it cause land sliding.
He said that recently a dozens of people died due to inclement weather and land sliding in Kohistan, Chitral, Shangla, Swat and Dir districts. “Because of the rising temperature, glaciers of the country are melting fast which he said causing floods,” he added.
According to Pakistan Economic Survey 2014-15, the country’s 5,000 glaciers are melting faster than rest of the world and the country is vulnerable to natural disasters.
Environmental pundits say that temperature would go up in 2016 which will affect the people. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a report released in 2014 warned that people living in coastal regions of Asia could face some of t worst effects of global warming.
Rahman said that encroachment along the river banks, improper draining and sewerage system, lack of planning and other factors aggravating the situation.
He said that human have no control over climate change, adding that it is not possible for humans to escape deaths and destruction because of nature’s agony.
However, he said that the devastations and deaths could be lesser if the government as well as individuals adopts these pragmatic steps.
He suggested the government and individuals to plant as many trees as they can, construct houses at least 200 feet away from rivers, build earthquake resistance structures and special infrastructure for flood-porn areas in order to avert losses.

Author is Peshawar based journalist

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