After damaging rain spells in Karachi, it is transpired that the country – especially Karachi – has neither an effective telemetry system nor modern weather forecast radars for timely prediction of flooding.
“The country still does not have an effective aviation system to deal with flood disasters and other catastrophes,” the National Monsoon Contingency Plan 2020 compiled by the Natural Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) revealed as cited in a report.
According to the plan, Pakistan has a medium and long term forecast system capable of accurately predicting the weather for a period of only 7 to 15 days while the seasonal weather forecast accuracy rate is also not more than 65-70%.
The report indicated that the country is relying on old technology for weather forecast which makes it difficult to make standard and accurate atmospheric predictions. It said the availability of data on the discharge of water in the eastern rivers depends on timely information from India.
There is no telemetry system for flash flood warning in the mountainous regions in Khyber Pakhtunkwa (K-P), South Punjab, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Balochistan.
Telemetry is the automatic recording and transmission of data from remote or inaccessible sources to an IT system in a different location for monitoring and analysis.
According to the contingency plan, Pakistan does not always have an aviation system ready for disaster management. Rescue and relief operations during natural disasters require application to the Pakistan Army or the Ministry of Interior.
This process takes time as it involves getting approval from the competent authorities; delays the relief operations and disrupts the operational activities of the army and navy ships.
The report said the NDMA provided heavy machinery during the natural calamities in Gilgit-Baltistan to remove icebergs, especially on the Karakoram Highway in 2017 to maintain traffic.