ISLAMABAD - Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lt. General Omar Mahmood Hayat on Wednesday urged India to share timely information on water outflows from its rivers and actual rainfall recorded as stipulated in the Indus Water Treaty.

He chaired an inter-agencies meeting on floods mitigation here. He also advised for enhanced Inter Agency Coordination and improved Early Warning Arrangement on water inflow from Eastern and Western rivers so that timely and effective response may be initiated to avoid the losses.

The chairman NDMA observed that along with the flood hazards from heavy rainfall in catchment areas and glacial melt, release of water from across the borders in eastern and western rivers like Kabul, Chenab, Jhelum and Indus was the major vulnerability.

He said that as an upper riparian neighbour India should cooperate by timely information sharing on water outflow from its rivers and actual rainfall recorded as stipulated in the Indus Water Treaty. He asked Pakistan Commission for Indus Water (PCIW) to enhance coordination mechanism of Early Warning Arrangements for release of water, especially, from the Eastern Rivers so that timely and effective response for flood mitigation may be initiated by relevant stakeholders.

He was of the view that by strengthening Early Warning System and through better adaptive strategies, flood losses can be brought to the minimum level. He also reiterated that NDMA was taking all necessary measures to enhance National Resilience against disasters and to ensure the safety to human lives, properties and developmental infrastructure.

Chairman Federal Flood Commission (FFC) Engineer Ahmed Kamal, Director Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD) Dr Muhammad Hanif, Director Federal Floods Forecasting Division, Joint Director Pakistan Commission for Indus Water (PCIW) and Member Operation NDMA also participated in the meeting. The participants updated the Chairman NDMA on the arrangements made and initiatives undertaken by their respective departments for the flood mitigation during the current monsoon season.

Later, Pakistan and Cuba signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the field of Disaster Management. The MOU was signed by Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lieutenant General Omar Mehmood Hayat and Ambassador of Cuba to Pakistan Gabriel Tield Copote in a small ceremony here.

The executing agency for implementation of MOU from Pakistan is NDMA while from Cuban side it is General National Staff of the Civil Defense.

While speaking on the occasion, Chairman NDMA termed the signing of MoU a significant step toward building resilience against disasters and said that this MOU will provide a legal framework for enhancing mutual cooperation between the two countries in the areas of Disaster Management and Risk Mitigation. “This cooperation is much-needed to save precious human lives and economy in both the countries,” Lt. Gen Omar added.

The Cuban Ambassador said that through such bilateral cooperation countries can learn from each other new ways of reducing disaster risks to minimise exposures to hazards.  He observed that during peace time management skills of complex disasters and applications of innovative methods of handling them can be shared with each other for capacity building of disaster management professionals.

Both sides expressed strong resolve for continued support and co-operation and to share mutually beneficial experience. Towards the end, the Chairman NDMA presented a souvenir to the visiting guest as a token of profound gratitude.