Awareness key to mitigate country’s disaster-resilience, Mushahidullah Khan

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 12 (APP):Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan on Thursday said that promoting a national culture of public awareness about climate change caused risks and disasters risk education is critical for helping people and communities mitigate their exposure to disasters they face now more frequently and with intensity.
“Protecting lives and livelihoods of the people, particularly in the country’s disaster-prone areas such as mountainous and coastal, through public awareness programmes and integrating disaster-resilience in public infrastructure development policies are inevitable to address poverty, hunger, malnutrition, food insecurity and recurring cost of repeatedly restoring public infrastructures,” the minister told media here in connection with the International Day for Disaster Reduction marked every year on October 13 worldwide.
Highlighting the importance of the international disaster reduction day, the climate change minister said the day offers a great opportunity to sensitise public about viable techniques to reduce their vulnerabilities to climate change-induced disasters, particularly, land and river erosions, forest fires,, riverine and glacial lake outburst floods in the country.
“However, the role of the government, nongovernmental organisations and media is key to highlight importance of disaster risk reeducation in the country, which is ranked among the top ten most vulnerable countries to climate change-caused disasters, which have shown increase in frequency and intensity since 2010,” Mushahidullah Khan underlined.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction is marked under the ageis of the United Nations and countries including Pakistan celebrate the day with realisation that people and communities around the world need to reduce their exposure to disasters particularly through public awareness activities about the risks that they confront. This includes disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.
This year the Day is being marked under the theme ‘Home Safe Home: Reducing Exposure, Reducing Displacement’ and key focus is to highlight unprecedented importance of reducing the number of affected people by disasters by 2030.
This day also encourages every individual, community and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.
Mushahidullah Khan said that the country has been ranked the 7th most affected country in the world because of climate change-related disasters, which have become more frequent intense and warned that the country’s ranking about vulnerability to disasters could worsen if all relevant federal and provincial government organisations failed to implement disaster risk reduction programmes , particularly in agriculture, energy, water, health, education, transport, infrastructure and energy sectors.
Quoting figures from the German Watch Index-2017 report, the minister said that as many as 133 climate change-induced disasters have occurred in the country between 1996 to 2015, which have caused economic damages of several billion dollars over these years.
“The climate change-related disasters, particularly riverine and flash floods, cause around four billion dollars of losses annually in economic damages, most of them related to agriculture, water, irrigation, health, education, energy and public infrastructure sectors,” he said.
Mushahidullah Khan pointed out, “Addressing these climate change-induced challenges and boosting countries resilience through local and national adaptation plans require an annual investment of around 40 billion dollars in renewable energy, transport, waste management and forestry sectors for mitigating 20 percent of its national carbon emissions by 2030 and seven 14 billion dollars annually for adapting to shifting climatic patterns.”
He stressed that ranked extremely vulnerable country to extreme climate events, Pakistan is in a state of forced adaptation to strengthen its resilience through these hefty investments projects that help protect the country from exacerbating fall-outs of climate change on people, their lives and livelihoods, country’s economic sectors, mainly agriculture, water, energy and transport.
There is a huge potential for adaptation in Pakistan particularly in strengthening and fortifying the flood infrastructure including water reservoirs and irrigation network. This would involve enhancing resilience of local communities to the adverse impacts of climate change.