March 2020




Munawar Hasan

March 29, 2020

LAHORE: Inclement weather has delayed wheat harvesting in the Punjab by two to three weeks as recent rain and hailstorm spells caused damages to standing crops, creating tight grain supply in the market.

The Punjab Food Department, the largest buyer of grains in the country, initiated procurement campaign from March 25, but no farmer has yet turned up for selling grain due to delay in maturity of crop and several ill-times adverse spells of rain and stormy weather.

The late arrival of wheat is already leading to grain shortage and its price hike in major cities of the province.

The price of wheat in the open market swelled to Rs1,900 to Rs2,100 per 40 kilograms against the government support price of Rs1,375 per 40kg. Panic buying of wheat flour due to coronavirus scare has aggravated the situation and compelled the provincial government to take drastic measures of opening flour sale points and increasing availability of wheat from official warehouses.

Punjab increases wheat supply to flour mills by 4,000 tons to quell shortage of flour in the market. The increase in wheat quota to flour mills has been made to supplement squeezed grains supplies in the market.

There has been extreme stress on supplies due to delay in arrival of wheat from South Punjab and Sindh.

In these days, newly harvested wheat used to flow towards central and upper Punjab from Sindh and south Punjab. The arrival of fresh crop always helps in suppressing prices of grain in the market. However, successive spells of untimely rains, hailstorm and windy weather in March extensively damaged standing wheat crop in patches and slowed down its maturity.

Experts said temperature should be above 30 Celsius for ripening of wheat grains. However, during the ongoing month, temperature in plains in south Punjab hardly touches 29-30 Celsius. This is the clear sign that wheat maturity is not taking place due to unfavourable weather condition.

More worryingly, there has been severe damage to wheat crop in most districts of south and Central Punjab. Lodging as a result of windy weather has resulted in flattening of plants, which might result in grain losses and dent its quality.

Rao Afsar, a farm leader hailing from Rajanpur said wheat crop has been damaged in the southern Punjab districts, especially DG Khan, Bahawalpur, Rajanpur.

“The early sown wheat has especially got hit. In my view, there has been 12 to 15 percent grain loss due to harsh weather,” Afasr said.

Unlike previous years, there is no wheat harvesting going on in the Rajanpur district as rains halted some reaping of crops in the river belts.

Naeem Chaudhry, a progressive farmer hailing from Karor Lal Esan, Layyah district was worried over damage to standing wheat crop in the last week due to one-after-another spells of hailstorms and extremely wet conditions. Not only wheat stems got affected by the rust but the color of wheat ears also turned brown, which is a worrisome factor for many local farmers, Chaudhry said.

Chaudhry wheat harvesting could not be possible in the area by third week of April. He asked the provincial government to assess damage to wheat crop and announce compensation package for the growers.

Provincial government’s wheat policy 2020 set procurement target at 4.5 million tons. Unlike previous years, wheat procurement centers have been set up by 25 March.

The food department abolished condition of Gurdawari and not permitted rice mills owners to purchase wheat. After registration of farmers, issuance of bardana would be started at a procurement price Rs1,400 per mound. In addition to this, delivery charges and cost of Jute bags would be paid.

Flash floods destroy 400 houses, 200 shops

By ​ Our Correspondent Published: March 27, 2020

QUETTA: Minister for Public Health Engineering and WASA Haji Noor Muhammad Dumar along with Deputy Commissioner House Harnai on Thursday relayed that around 400 houses and more than 200 shops were completely destroyed by flash floods.

While addressing a press conference, Dumar said flash floods caused by a heavy downpour in Harnai town earlier this week damaged scores of houses, shops and crops apart from overflowing drains and leaving several parts of the town inundated.

He went on to add that damages were reported in Harnai town and the vicinity of Zarmana. “Valuables kept in shops and present in the house were also washed away by the torrent whereas the flash flood also damaged five-to-six acres of agriculture land filled with standing crops.”

Due to the rain, three trucks of relief goods on an emergency basis had been dispatched to the affected area whereas a survey to calculate damages is underway. Machinery was also provided to clear out the drains and relief goods were set to be distributed among affectees through the district administration.

Hailing the efforts of paramilitary forces including youth of the area, Dumar said due to their timely and hectic efforts no casualty occurred. “PC-I for the construction of protective drains on permanent basis had already been completed while funds from Chief Minister special grant would be released soon as well.”

He also applauded the wealthy people and Non-government Organizations (NGOs) to support the affected masses because of the widespread damages that occurred. “Officials of the irrigation department had been alerted and also were directed to speed up refurbishment work of damaged drains.”

On the other hand, the provincial minister accompanying tribal elders visited the affected areas and examined the relief operation apart from issuing directives to concerned authorities on the spot.

Deputy Commissioner Harnai, District President Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Malik Israr-ul-Haq Tareen, Advocate Abdul Nasir, Haji Ghulam Jan Tareen and other district officers were also present during the press conference.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2020.


Sara Hayat March 27, 2020

SOME have forcefully attached a silver lining to the coronavirus epidemic. With human activity on a lockdown, the planet is healing, they say.

There is no evidence to label the pressing global crisis as ‘nature’s revenge’: the idea that humans have brought Mother Earth to a tipping point, and she is now fighting back. Apart from knowing that the pandemic has its epicentre in China, we cannot really assume whether or not it is part of nature’s ‘cleansing’ ritual.

What we do have complete certainty on is that humans are primarily responsible for global greenhouse gas emissions, and that this in turn causes global warming. As provinces, states and entire nations are forced into lockdown, greenhouse gas emissions have fallen because schools are closed, many distracting avenues such as malls and restaurants are shut, factories have been bolted, international and national sports and entertainment events have been postponed, and travel has been curtailed.

According to climate campaigners, global air traffic decreased by 4.3 per cent in February. Controlling the spread of Covid-19 in China forcefully reduced emissions by 15pc to 40pc across key industrial sectors. The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air has said that the reduction in emissions is equivalent to 200 million tons of carbon dioxide, which is more than half of what the UK emits in an entire year, or what Argentina, Egypt and Vietnam emit in one year.

Air pollution is estimated to kill over 7m people a year.

Air pollution is estimated to annually kill over seven million people globally through exposure to fine particulate matter, which is highly dangerous for our lungs. China’s ministry of ecology and environment announced that the number of ‘good quality air days’ in Hubei province increased by 21.5pc in February, compared to last year. Temporarily improved air quality over two months in China can prevent between 50,000 to 75,000 premature deaths, as per Prof Marshall Burke at Stanford University. So far, Covid-19 has taken the lives of up to 3,255 people in China. The aim here is not to undermine human fatalities due to the virus, but to highlight how deadly a killer air pollution is.

Other environmentalists have reported that fine particulate matter has decreased by 40pc in San Francisco, 28pc in New York, and 32pc in Seattle, compared to last year. Meanwhile, researchers at Columbia University say that carbon monoxide, another greenhouse gas mostly emitted from cars, has reduced by nearly 50pc in New York as traffic is down by an estimated 35pc.

According to the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite, which measures concentrations of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels fell drastically in northern Italy in recent days. A potent greenhouse gas that affects the respiratory system, NO2 is emitted primarily from vehicles, diesel-powered construction equipment, and power plants. High levels of NO2 can be extremely dangerous for those impacted by a virus which cripples the respiratory system.

All these changes are temporary, and in light of the pandemic, cannot even be termed good news. They will most likely jump back as countries race to recover once the immediate threat dissipates. As environmentalist Bill McKibben writes: “No environmentalist should welcome a crisis, but they can learn from it…”

The epidemic has drained stock markets and is threatening to plummet nations into economic recession. Bloomberg Economics estimates it could cost the global economy up to $2.7 trillion in lost output. An epidemic enforced greenhouse gas emission reduction framework is temporary and not sustainable. The promised recovery stimulus packages suggest that as soon as the epidemic is under control, an upsurge of carbon-intensive projects to boost economies will incite ‘retaliatory pollution’. With competing concerns such as debt, joblessness and recession, em­­ission reduction will be brushed to the curb.

It is imperative that climate change be considered a deadly threat to the human race, expected to kill millions of people as it acts as a poverty multiplier, induces involuntary migration, exacerbates extreme weather events, spreads diseases, and threatens food security. We need a strict and sustained transition to a carbon-neutral economy, not short-term reductions in emissions, if we wish to achieve the 1.5°C temperature goal under the Paris Agreement. Governments should remember green measures they can take, such as tying emission reduction actions to the bailout of airlines, or even encouraging large companies to let some of their employees work from home.

It is unfortunate that it has taken a pandemic to make us realise that governments, companies and societies can function differently, and what these lifestyle changes can mean for the planet and human health. Once the epidemic is under control, we must remember these clearer skies, and embrace sustainable and eco-friendly practices.

The writer is a lawyer who specialises in climate change law and policy.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2020


 By RECORDER REPORT on March 23, 2020

Marking World Water Day, the United Nations launched a flagship report which says that reducing both the impacts and drivers of climate change will require major shifts in the way we use and reuse the Earth’s limited water resources.

The new global report calls, among others, for concrete efforts to address rising water stress and improve the efficiency of water use in agriculture and industry, and it outlines actions in three areas: first, enabling people to adapt to the impacts of climate change; second, improving the resilience of livelihoods; and, third, reducing the drivers of climate change.

Tackling water insecurity and climate change, two of the most critical crises the world will continue facing over the next several decades, ­the 2020 UN World Water Development Report, compiled by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in collaboration with UN-Water, provides decision-makers with knowledge and tools to craft sustainable water policies, and calls for scaling up investment to put them into practice.

“The word ‘water’ rarely appears in international climate agreements, even though it plays a key role in issues such as food security, energy production, economic development and poverty reduction,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.

She stressed: “This potential of water must be explored, given that our actions to reduce global warming are currently lagging behind our ambitions, despite wide adherence to the Paris Agreement…the report shows that water does not need to be a problem – it can be part of the solution. Water can support efforts to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message on World Water Day said, “everyone has a role to play,” and called on all stakeholders to increase climate action and invest in robust adaptation measures for water sustainability.

By limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius, he said, “the world will be in a much better position to manage and solve the water crisis that we all face.”

“Water is the primary medium through which we perceive the effects of climate disruption, from extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, to glacial melting, saltwater intrusion and sea level rise,” he said.

“This will negatively affect health and productivity and act as a threat multiplier for instability and conflict. The solution is clear,” the UN chief said.

“We must urgently scale up investments in healthy watersheds and water infrastructure, with dramatic improvements in the efficiency of water use, Guterres said, adding that the world must anticipate and respond to climate risks at every level of water management.

Above all, the Secretary-General said, “we must use this year and COP26 in Glasgow to bend the emissions curve and create a secure foundation for water sustainability,” he stressed, referring to the upcoming UN climate change conference, currently scheduled for next November 2020.

In her message on the Day, Azoulay, the UNESCO chief, said that with four billion people worldwide forced to contend with water scarcity, “without sustainable access to water, we will be unable to achieve goals such as quality education or the development of more prosperous, fairer societies.”

“Given the urgency of the situation, the coming decade needs to be one of action,” she declared.

The 2020 Report, she said, sets out “concrete solutions for ensuring access to water for all: improved water resources management, the mitigation of water-related hazards, easier and more sustainable access to sanitation.”

Action to save the planet and its water will only be useful if future generations were fully involved, including through UNESCO member States incorporating issues related to environmental education in their school curricula, she said.

The report, launched in Paris and Geneva, echoed the UN officials’ call on States to make more concrete commitments to address the challenge, and warned that climate change will affect the availability, quality and quantity of water needed for basic human needs, thus undermining enjoyment of the basic rights to safe drinking water and sanitation for billions of people.

Such a deterioration of the situation would only hinder achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), which is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, according to which access to safe drinking water and sanitation must be guaranteed for all within 10 years.

This will be a considerable challenge: ­2.2 billion people currently do not have access to safely managed drinking water, and 4.2 billion, or 55 per cent of the world’s population, are without safely managed sanitation.

UNESCO said that the critical need to substantially improve access to clean water for drinking and hygiene for billions of the world’s people has been further thrown into stark relief by the current deadly outbreak of COVID-19.

The 2020 World Water Development Reports reveals that water use has increased six-fold over the past century and is rising by about one per cent a year.

However, it is estimated that climate change, along with the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme events – storms, floods and droughts, will aggravate the situation in countries already currently experiencing ‘water stress’ and generate similar problems in areas that have not been severely affected.

Furthermore, the report highlights the fact that poor water management tends to exacerbate the impacts of climate change, not only on water resources but on society as a whole.

The Chairman of UN-Water, and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gilbert Houngbo, said: “There are solutions for managing water and climate in a more coordinated manner and every sector of society has a role to play. We simply cannot afford to wait.”

To this end, the report outlines a range of adaptation and mitigation measures, including natural, technical and technological measures to curb damage, and steps humans can take to effectively to limit greenhouse gas emissions, as well as protect the environment.

The report also mentions innovative water management interventions such as fog capture, or more traditional ones such as wetland protection, as well as proven ‘conservation agriculture’ techniques. The ‘reuse’ of partially treated wastewater for agriculture and industry, without necessarily making it safe to drink, is another highlighted approach.

On the “crucial” question of financing, the authors argue that there are increasing opportunities to systematically integrate adaptation and mitigation planning into water-related investments, in order to make them more attractive to donors.

A good example of this is a Green Climate Fund project in Sri Lanka, it was pointed out. This aims to improve irrigation systems in vulnerable village communities and promote climate-smart agricultural practices in three river basins, offering both climate adaptation and mitigation benefits, while conserving water and protecting drinking water sources.

Various water and climate change initiatives can also bring co-benefits such as job creation, improved public health, poverty reduction, promotion of gender equality and improved livelihoods, further enhancing their attractiveness to donors, the report said.

Copyright Agency France-Presse, 2020



By PPI Published: March 16, 2020

KARACHI: Climate change is affecting the socio-economic development of the country, stated Pakistan Peoples Party leader Sharmila Farooqi in a statement issued on Sunday. She maintained that the mean annual temperature of the country was rising, with Sindh and Balochistan showing  the greatest increase. Despite this, she added, the Sindh government had adopted effective policies to tackle this issue.

“By the end of this century the temperature in Pakistan will be about one degree Celsius higher compared to the global average,” asserted Farooqi, adding that sea levels had risen in the country due to this.

The MPA claimed that according to the Senate’s Standing Committee on Science and Technology, the coastal areas of Badin and Thatta would likely sink within the next 30 years, and Karachi in the next 60 years. The relevant institutions must carry out studies and save the coastal areas of Sindh from sea intrusion, she added.

Farooqi also highlighted that climate change could disrupt food availability and affect food quality, because the projected increase in temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, extreme weather events and reductions in water availability could all result in reduced agricultural productivity.

She said the country was also facing a loss of biological diversity in many regions, particularly in the Indus Delta, adding that devastating storms, hurricanes and heatwaves caused by climate change could be life-threatening in smaller countries with limited resources.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2020.



March 09, 2020

A new report on climate change has sent alarm bells ringing among climate scientists. It says that climate change and sea level rise are currently on track to wipe out half the world’s sandy beaches by the end of this century. And the report links the global coastal degradation to global warming which is caused by humanity’s fossil fuel combustion i.e. the burning of coal, oil and gas which in turn produces environmentally harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The climate change phenomenon includes global warming and its effects, although the two are often used interchangeably.

For starters, climate change skeptics must remember that over the past 50 years the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. Each of the last three decades has been warmer than all previous decades since statistical surveys began in 1850.

As Pakistan is among countries considered most vulnerable to climate change, it is essential that we take immediate steps to combat it. First and foremost, we must move away from fossil fuels and focus on renewable energies such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal. We must also reduce our consumption of energy and water through the use of more efficient devices such as LED light bulbs and innovative shower systems, promote methods such as public transportation and carpooling to help reduce CO2 emissions, emphasise construction of low energy buildings and renovation of existing ones in order to reduce CO2 emissions due to heating, air conditioning, hot water and lighting, and prioritise afforestation as well as greener and more efficient agriculture. Additionally, recycling must be emphasized and a waste management strategy devised for our mountainous areas where garbage is simply thrown in rivers and burnt in the open, hugely compounding the problem.


By RECORDER REPORT on March 11, 2020

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanded urgent action against global warming following the publication of a report Tuesday on planetary warming last year.

“Global heating is accelerating,” Guterres told reporters, commenting on the report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a UN institution.

The WMO report confirmed findings in December that 2019 was the second hottest year on record, “with the past decade the hottest in human history,” Guterres said.

“We have no time to lose if we are to avert climate catastrophe,” Guterres emphasized. “Let us have no illusions. Climate change is already causing calamity, and more is to come.”

The WMO report looked at different aspects of climate change, from the accelerating sea level rise due to melting ice to changes in land and marine ecosystems.

The planet will continue to warm up if greenhouse gases continue to increase, said WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas.

“We just had the warmest January on record. Winter was unseasonably mild in many parts of the northern hemisphere,” Taalas said. “Smoke and pollutants from damaging fires in Australia circumnavigated the globe, causing a spike in CO2 emissions,” he said. “This is exposing coastal areas and islands to a greater risk of flooding and the submersion of low-lying areas.”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal with the World Wide Fund for Nature NOG agreed with the urgent demand for action.

“We are in a critical year for action – the longer we wait, the harder the challenge of addressing the climate crisis is going to get,” he said in a statement.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2020


ReutersU pdated March 12, 2020

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan’s first-ever electric three-wheeled rickshaws start to roll off the assembly line, the country is struggling to build momentum for its shift to electric vehicles in efforts to cut air pollution and curb climate change.

It has been four months since Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet approved the National Electric Vehicle Policy, offering tax exemptions and incentives to manufacturers, importers and buyers of electric vehicles.

But pushback by traditional automakers has stalled the government’s finalising of the policy, leaving electric vehicle (EV) makers worried that eco-friendly cars, vans, motorcycles and rickshaws will remain too expensive for the mass market.

“The electric rickshaws have comparatively much lower running and maintenance costs,” said Syed Ismail Ghaznavi, sales head at Sazgar Engineering Works Limited, which launched the country’s first electric rickshaw in January.

Government eyes one-third of vehicles plying on electrical energy by 2030

Sazgar’s electric rickshaw can travel up to 170km on a charge, has almost no moving parts — which means fewer trips to the mechanic — and produces zero emissions, Ghaznavi pointed out.

“But we need the government support to roll it out on a larger scale for the public,” he said.

Transport accounts for more than 40 per cent of the air pollution produced in Pakistan, according to data provided by the climate change ministry.

In the policy approved in November, the government set a target to bring half a million electric motorcycles and rickshaws, along with more than 100,000 electric cars, buses and trucks, into the transportation system in the next five years.

By 2030, the government wants to have about one-third of the vehicles in Pakistan running on electrical energy, said Malik Amin Aslam, the prime minister’s adviser on climate change.

The move to electric vehicles is “a win-win strategy”, Aslam told the Thomson Reuters Founda­tion, saying it should reduce emissions by nearly three-quarters and cut the cost of running a vehicle by 60 per cent.

Pakistan generates less than one per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but it is one of the countries that suffers the most from effects of climate change, including flooding, droughts, heat waves and melting glaciers, environmental experts say.

The Global Climate Risk Index 2020, issued by environmental think tank German­watch, ranked Pakistan fifth among the 10 countries most affected by extreme weather over the last 20 years.

“Our food security is at risk due to these climate change conditions, and we have to focus on adaptation,” said Imran Saqib Khalid, a research fellow at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, an Islamabad-based independent think tank.

In particular, the new electric vehicle policy will help curb air pollution and smog, “a major environmental problem the country has been facing for the past few years,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Urban air pollution levels in Pakistan, a country of more than 200 million people, are among the most severe in the world, stemming from increasing energy use and rapid motorisation, noted a World Bank study published in 2014.

The number of vehicles on the country’s roads jumped from about two million in 1991 to more than 10 million two decades later, the report noted.

As it tries to spark an electric mobility revolution, Pakistan is following countries such as Norway, France and the United Kingdom, all of which have said they would ban sales of petrol and diesel vehicles within the next 20 years.

The Pakistan government plans to use a raft of monetary incentives to convince the country’s auto manufacturers and the public to switch to environmentally-friendly modes of transport.

To encourage prospective buyers, the government says it aims to lower or do away with various taxes on electric vehicles and bring down customs duty on imported parts to one per cent.

It also plans to establish fast charging stations in all major cities and along major motorways and highways every 15-30km (9-18 miles).

But some automobile manufacturers are pushing back, saying that creating incentives specifically for electric vehicles unfairly benefits the nascent industry while leaving the traditional automobile sector floundering.

Sales of petrol and diesel vehicles in Pakistan dropped drastically last year following the devaluation of the rupee, which led to a sharp increase in the price of vehicles and parts.

“Our only concern is that there should be only one auto policy and not a separate policy for EVs,” Abdul Waheed Khan, director general of the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The association has agreed to the tax exemptions and incentives being offered for e-vehicles, but has urged the government to also protect existing investment in the traditional auto sector, Khan said over the phone.

Majeed Ghauri, chairman of the Awami Rickshaw Union, which represents the country’s rickshaw drivers, said the group welcomed the government’s announcement of special incentives to promote electric rickshaws.

But, he said, the government should find a way to make electric rickshaws cheaper than traditional ones — which can cost up to 270,000 rupees ($1,700) — to make them affordable for low-income drivers.

“We want to get rid of noisy, smoke-emitting rickshaws and it is better that environmentally-friendly rickshaws ply on roads to end pollution,” said Ghauri.

“But these should be cheap and should have power equal to that of traditional ones.” Mohammad Sabir Shaikh, chairman of the Pakistan Electric Vehicles Manufacturers Association, said he is confident the switch to electric will prove successful “in a very short span of time”, reducing air pollution and boosting investment in the country’s auto sector.

As many as 80 motorcycle assembly plants in Pakistan have closed in recent years due to a substantial fall in profits, noted Shaikh, who also heads the Association of Pakistan Motorcycle Assemblers.

“Now the majority of them want to assemble e-motorcycles to revive their business,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2020


Dawn Report 3/13/2020 12:00:00 AM

PESH AWAR: Four children and a woman were killed and several people suffered injuries in rainrelated incidents in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday with heavy downpour and snowfall damaging crops in southern districts.

The officials say the death toll from the ongoing rains in the province hasreached 46.

Two children were killed in a roof collapse incident in Haji Mora village of DI Khan district, while a woman died after being electrocuted in Kari Khaisoor area.

Two people were recovered from under the debris of the house, whose roof was caved in due to heavy rain. They`re shifted to a hospital.

The heavy rain also demolished a house wall in Tank area 1(illing two children and injuring another.

The rain triggered flash floods, which submerged residentialareas and agricultural lands.

The district administration and Pakistan Army began shifted the residents to safe places.

Deputy commissioner Fahad Wazir said the rain-affected people had been shifted to a temporary shelter, while a control room was collecting information aboutdamages.

In a statement, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority said torrential rains, which began on Wednesday night, damaged houses in Abbottabad, Swabi, Mardan, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank and Orakzai districts.It forecast more rains during the next 24 hours.

The heavy rain caused widespread damages to properties and crops in Dera Ismail Khan, South Waziristan and Tank districts.

Heavy rains lashed Peshawar onWednesdaynightandThursday.

The Met Office said the provincial capital received 30mm rain.

The University Road was deluged as the rainwater spilled down from the BRT viaducts onto it at different locations to the despair and inconvenience of commuters and pedestrians.

The Met Office reported rains and snowfall from different districts of the province.

The lowest temperature was recorded in Kalam area of Swat district, where the mercury dropped to minus two degree celsius. The high altitude areas of Orakzai, Khyber and Kurram tribal districts also received snowfall.

The torrential rain triggered hill torrents, which submerged residential areas in Tank, Kohi Behara, Kolachi and others areas of Tank and Dera Ismail Khan and damaged crops.

The roof of the building of theGovernment Centennial High School, DI Khan city, collapsed.

However, no damage to public life was reported.

A hailstorm damaged crops in South Waziristan district. Hilly areas of the tribal district received moderate snow.

Landslides led to the stranding of commuters, including tourists, for four to six hours in Patrak area of Upper Dir district after the closure of main Dir-Kumrat Road to traffic.

The engineering unit of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Highway Authority moved heavy machinery to the area and began rescue operation on the directives of deputy commissioner of Upper Dir district Khalid Iqbal Khattak.

Assistant commissioner of Sheringal area Mohammad Saqib Khan supervised the exercise.

He said two excavators were usedtoreopentheroad.

Deputy commissioner Khalid Iqbal Khattak visited the area and said the road had been cleared to all kinds of traffic.

He said motorists, especially tourists, could travel to and from Kumrat without trouble.


By ​ Our Correspondent Published: March 14, 2020

PESHAWAR: The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) on Friday said that the fresh spell of rains, which began on Wednesday, has so far claimed as many as 11 lives while injuring another 17 people.

A statement issued by the authority on Friday said that apart from the casualties, rains in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) have caused partial damage to around 58 houses apart from completely washing away four houses.

A PDMA official said that the damage to human lives and properties came after a rain spell halted before resuming on Friday. The authority, however, feared that the numbers could rise once the debris is cleared.

Moreover, it warned that the current spell of rain is expected to persist.

The PDMA has directed the relevant departments to expedite relief activities in the affected areas.

It added that relief goods and food items have been distributed amongst families in Tank district, where torrential rains, floods and strong winds broke through a flood protection wall and flooded some villages and parts of Tank town.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2020.



By RECORDER REPORT on March 2, 2020

Major Asian cities, including Tokyo, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai, are most at risk from rising sea levels, researchers warned on Thursday, urging authorities to invest more in flood defences and plan to relocate assets and people.

A study by UK-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft analysed 500 cities worldwide with more than 1 million residents and identified places likely to experience sea level rise of 67 cm-2 metres (26.4-78.7 inches) by 2100, in line with scientific estimates if global warming increases at its current pace.

It found that 11 of the 15 highest risk cities are in Asia, with Dubai, Alexandria and New York also featuring. “As a species we tend to like to live by coasts – with all the resources and transport it provides,” said Rory Clisby, a climate change analyst at Verisk Maplecroft in Singapore. In Asia, cities with high population densities “tend to develop land that other parts of the world might leave”, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Many of Asia’s rapidly expanding cities are coastal and low-lying, making them vulnerable to rising sea levels and extreme weather such as flooding and cyclones. This week, torrential rains flooded Jakarta for the second time in 2020, while Bangkok last month trucked in drinking water after the encroaching ocean increased salinity.

To lower flood risks, countries should combine “hard and soft engineering options”, such as building sea walls and tidal barriers and restoring mangroves, said Clisby.

Sea defences would need to be reinforced every decade or so, he added, noting “it’s not a one-off expense”. Building in flood-prone areas and “ill-conceived” land reclamation projects should be stopped, he said, adding that some cities should consider moving key assets to safer places.

“Sponge city” schemes in China which incorporate sustainable drainage systems into infrastructure – like water-absorbing asphalt and green spaces to prevent water from pooling – could also work across the region, he added. The highest-risk cities globally are Guangzhou and Dongguan in China’s Pearl River Delta Economic Zone, which generates 20% of the country’s GDP and 3.8% of global wealth, the report said.

“It is a massive global manufacturing hub,” said Clisby, adding that both cities should look at relocating key assets and investing in large-scale engineering projects. Across China, $348 billion of GDP and nearly 8 million people are located in areas at high and extreme risk of sea level rise, the report noted. While China and Japan have the resources to put in place measures to mitigate flood risks, Clisby said, Vietnam, India and Indonesia have more limited resources and institutional capacity to meet the challenges posed by rising seas. Indonesia is already planning to move its capital to the island of Borneo, as Jakarta – on the north coast of Java island – is slowly sinking and suffers regular flooding.

Copyright Reuters, 2020


March 02, 2020

LONDON: Climate change could add around $100 billion, or more than 20%, to the global cost of extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves and droughts by 2040, research from Cambridge University showed on Wednesday.

The findings come from the university’s Climate Change Business Risk Index, which uses climate modelling data to quantify extreme weather event risks and their potential to disrupt business operations and supply chains globally.

Average direct costs of around $195 billion a year could rise to $234 billion by 2040, the report said, an increase of $39 billion a year at today’s values, with the remainder taken up by indirect costs such as those from supply chain disruption.

Andrew Coburn, chief scientist at the Centre for Risk Studies, said companies were struggling to get to grips with the long-range weather forecasts and how their businesses would be affected by the transition to a low-carbon economy.—Reuters


By RECORDER REPORT on March 5, 2020

Europe unveiled a landmark green growth law on Wednesday but failed to impress teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who dubbed it a “surrender” to the threat of climate change. The European Commission’s draft of the law mandates EU members to achieve “climate neutrality” – net zero greenhouse emissions – by 2050. It is seen in Brussels as the trigger to an economic revolution that will make Europe sustainable and meet the targets of the Paris climate accord.

The proposal “will be our compass for the next 30 years and it will guide us every step of the way as we build a sustainable new growth model,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters.

It “will set in stone Europe’s position as a climate leader on the global stage and will inspire many of our partners.” But 17-year-old Swedish eco-warrior Thunberg poured cold water on von der Leyen’s enthusiasm and accused Europe of making false claims of leadership on the environment.

The European Union must stop “pretending that you can be a climate leader and still go on building and subsidising new fossil fuel infrastructure,” the Swedish activist told a committee hearing at the European Parliament.

Thunberg was in the Belgian capital ahead of a Friday climate action protest, but had also been a guest of Von der Leyen at a meeting of top EU officials that approved the proposal.

The proposed climate text aims to enshrine into law the EU’s grand ambition of zero net carbon emissions by mid-century. It would also give the EU executive new powers to impose emission targets on member state governments, a measure welcomed by greens and some activists. But handing more power to the commission, the EU’s executive arm, faces almost certain opposition from the national governments and the European Parliament which must ratify the proposal.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2020