According to a media report, the glaciers in Pakistan are receding at a rate of almost 40-60 meters per decade and the melting ice from these glaciers is increasing the volume of water in the glacial lakes in the region.

Presently, the country is facing a critical gap in knowledge of hydrological forecasting, risk mapping and disaster prevention planning. According to a recent report, the V-shaped canyons of a normally small mountain stream can suddenly develop into an extremely turbulent and fast-moving torrent, some 50 meters deep. On a floodplain, inundation becomes somewhat slower, spreading as much as 10 kilometers wide. Both scenarios present horrific threats to lives, livelihoods, infrastructure and economic assets, for the exposed population. Mountain communities living in the proximity of glacier lakes and glacier-fed rivers are particularly at risk, as they live in remote and marginalized areas and depend heavily on fragile eco-systems for their livelihoods.

It will be seen from the above that our frozen water reservoirs are diminishing rapidly. The climate change has not only triggered the extreme weather events, but also brought uncertainties in the behavior of certain weather phenomena.

The country is heading for increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, which includes frequent floods and droughts. Hence, there is a need to make policies to cope with it, including, but not limited to, construction of mega dams, flood hazard mapping, flood evacuation plans, disaster mitigation measures and resilient flood control policies.

KHAN FARAZ,

Peshawar, February 29.