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Climate Change Ministry Issues June Heatwave Alert

Heatwave Alert

ISLAMABAD: As nearly 26 districts nationwide endure scorching temperatures since May 21, the Ministry of Climate Change issued warnings of prolonged heatwaves, attributing the extreme conditions to unsustainable environmental practices and deforestation.

Romina Khurshid Alam, the PM’s coordinator on climate change, underscored the severity of the situation during a press conference with senior officials from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Alam urged federal and provincial authorities to mobilize resources to safeguard citizens, particularly vulnerable groups like children and the elderly, from the oppressive heat.

Citing Pakistan Meteorological Department data, Alam noted that temperatures across most regions were 5 to 6 degrees Celsius above normal, affecting 26 districts in Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan.

These conditions are anticipated to persist through three waves of heatwaves, with the current wave extending until May 30, followed by subsequent waves in early and late June.

Highlighting the impact of high atmospheric pressure exacerbating the situation, Alam emphasized the necessity for comprehensive guidelines and early warnings to prevent casualties, recalling the tragic 2015 heatwave which claimed nearly 2,500 lives.

Alam stressed that human-induced factors like deforestation contribute significantly to heatwaves, exacerbating the effects of global warming. Public awareness campaigns aim to educate individuals on health risks and preventive measures.

Precautionary measures include limiting outdoor activities, especially for vulnerable groups, and ensuring access to water to mitigate heat-related emergencies.

The NDMA, in collaboration with provincial departments, is actively managing natural disasters and coordinating early warnings.

Alam warned of accelerated glacier melt and increased forest fire risks, urging caution in national parks and proper disposal of flammable materials. Dr. Tayyab from the NDMA highlighted water stress and the potential for drought, particularly in regions like Tharparkar and Jacobabad.

To address climate-related challenges, the PM established a high-level committee for coordination, while the NDMA is developing a mobile application for real-time alerts and disaster management plans.

Close coordination with provincial authorities and international agencies ensures comprehensive disaster preparedness and response.

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