Islamabad—Federal government and provinces reached consensus on Thursday to ask the to Council of common Interests (CCI) to implement flood protection plan. The CCI seeks the plan which will be completed in ten years.
The consensus was reached in a high level meeting held at ministry of water and power under chairmanship of Khawaja Muhammad Asif.
Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Minister for Climate Change, Zahid Hamid. Provincial Irrigation Ministers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and relevant officials from other Provinces participated in the meeting.
Khawaja Muhammad Asif, while welcoming the Chief Minister Sindh and other participants of the meeting, said it is need of the hour to bring about a consensus based national plan for flood protection.
He appreciated the spirit displayed by all the federating units and territories during the preparatory meetings and for arriving at a consensus document. He stated that due to global climate change and its impact on Pakistan in recent years, the frequency and intensity of floods and corresponding damages have increased manifold, making it imperative to have an integrated and innovative approach to flood protection. He also welcomed any proposals for improvement in the flood plan.
The meeting was briefed by the Chairman Federal Flood Commission on various aspects of the plan. He informed the meeting that floods are the most devastating natural disasters and is generally caused by heavy concentrated rainfall in the catchments during the monsoon season (July through September). During the past 6 years, damages caused by floods are almost equal to total flood damages caused in preceding 60 years.
In view of increasing flood damages, Ministry of Water & Power through Federal Flood Commission (FFC) formulated the ten year plan through World Bank funding.
The meeting was informed that an integrated country-wide flood management exercise was conducted during 2011-13 to prepare the plan, which envisages reduction in damages through flood plain mapping and significant improvement in relief and rescue operations. It also aims at flood reduction through watershed management and in reduction in flash flooding through management of hill torrents.
The meeting was apprised that total financial outlay of the plan is 177,661 million rupees for ten years. The plan affords flexibility in provincial priorities during the ten years period.
Different suggestions by all the provincial governments and Ministry of Climate Change were duly incorporated in the Plan. It was decided that a Steering Committee will be formed at the Federal Government level with representation of all stakeholders while a third party evaluation mechanism will also be put in place.
The meeting, while approving the National Flood Protection Plan-IV, recommended that it be placed before the Council of Common Interests for formal approval and adoption in its next meeting.
It was also decided that the financial aspects relating to the execution of the Plan will be decided by the CCI where all the provinces are represented.