Climate change ministry warns of increased heatwaves in June

As nearly 26 districts across the nation endure the oppressive heat gripping the country since May 21, the Ministry of Climate Change announced on Thursday that the initial heatwave would persist until May 30, followed by two additional heatwaves in June. Unsustainable environmental practices and deforestation were cited as contributing factors to these extreme weather conditions.

During a press conference with senior officials from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Romina Khurshid Alam, the Prime Minister’s coordinator on climate change, urged federal and provincial government departments to mobilize available resources to safeguard citizens, particularly children and the elderly, from the scorching heat.

Referring to data from the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Romina Alam highlighted that temperatures in most regions were currently 5 to 6 degrees Celsius above normal. She revealed that 26 districts in Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan were under severe heatwave conditions, expected to persist in three waves throughout the summer.

The ongoing first wave, spanning from May 22-30, would be succeeded by additional waves in early and late June. According to the state-run APP, she indicated that the second heatwave would occur from June 7-8, followed by the third wave in the last week of June.

“This severe heatwave is just the beginning,” she emphasized, attributing the exacerbated conditions to high atmospheric pressure, negatively impacting socio-economic activities.

Accompanied by NDMA’s Member for Disaster Risk Reduction Idrees Mahsud and technical expert Dr. Tayyab, the PM’s aide stressed the importance of disseminating comprehensive guidelines and early warnings to prevent heatwave-related casualties, reminiscent of the deadly 2015 heatwave that claimed nearly 2,500 lives.

Alam underscored that heatwaves primarily result from human-induced factors, worsened by deforestation and other unsustainable environmental practices. “Global warming’s impact is evident worldwide, manifesting in these frequent and intense heatwaves,” she elaborated, noting ongoing public awareness campaigns across various media outlets to educate people on health risks and preventive measures.

She urged prompt measures to avert heatwave casualties, advising the public, especially vulnerable groups like children, the elderly, and those with health conditions, to minimize unnecessary outdoor activities. NDMA was actively engaged in issuing early warnings and coordinating with provincial departments to manage natural disasters and calamities.

Warning of accelerated glacier melt and increased forest fire risk due to the heatwave, Alam advised caution in national parks and recommended avoiding discarding cigarette butts or flammable materials. Dr. Tayyab from NDMA highlighted Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change, emphasizing the agency’s disaster calendar projecting natural calamities for the next six months. He highlighted water stress and drought risk during heatwaves, particularly affecting regions like Tharparkar and Jacobabad.

In response to media queries, Alam confirmed the establishment of a high-level committee by the PM to coordinate efforts across relevant authorities and address climate-related challenges. Mahsud from NDMA mentioned the development of a mobile application to provide real-time alerts and disaster management plans to the public and media. NDMA’s national coordination cell maintained close contact with provincial disaster management authorities and international agencies to ensure comprehensive disaster preparedness and response.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.