Islamabad: Abid Siddique Chaudhry
Pakistan is prone to natural disasters such as floods and landslides caused by heavy torrential rains, tropical cyclones, earthquakes and so on. Quite notably, every year Pakistan experiences heavy damages due to floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains during the monsoon season. Therefore, the Japanese government has been assisting Pakistan proactively, in the enhancement of weather surveillance capacity through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) since the 1980`s, in order to mitigate the damage by flood.
Weather surveillance radars in Islamabad and in Karachi have already been put in place and a few others are planned to be constructed in Multan and in Sukkur, in cooperation with Japan. These radars will cover almost the whole of Pakistan.
In addition, in 2019 the Japanese government through JICA has assisted in establishing the “Specialized Medium Range Weather Forecasting Center” in order to enhance not only the weather surveillance capacity, but also weather forecasting capability for Pakistan.
An officer from the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), mentioned that the “Capacity of weather forecasting has been enhanced by various Japanese assistance. We can now get exact positioning information of clouds through high-resolution images as compared to previous weather surveillance system. We can also provide advance weather information to local communities, identify heavy rain areas, and issue early warning to local residents living downstream of rivers which are expected to be flooded. Similarly, advance weather information can also be provided to the Islamabad international airport.”
A Japanese engineer also said, “I am glad that the weather surveillance radars with the same state-of -the art technologies as those of Japan are utilized in Pakistan.”
Photo: Weather surveillance radar established by Japanese Grant Aid in Islamabad
(The White building located on the right side is old weather surveillance radar, also previously assisted by Japan)
During the monsoon seasonal floods in 2020, the “Specialized Medium Range Weather Forecasting Center” coupled with PMD`s efforts enabled local residents to safely evacuate through the timely issuance of early flood warning, disseminated to local residents and related stakeholders.
Fig: Islamabad weather radar Image old weather radar,
new weather radar)
Meanwhile, a recently occurring new phenomenon called the “urban flooding” which has devastated urban centers is being experienced in and around Karachi City. In this regard, the Japanese government through JICA continues to support Pakistan to mitigate the risks and damages from these expected natural disasters.