The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) here on Friday issued a detailed advisory for the nationwide preparedness measures to cope with rain and snowfall prediction advising the provinces to ensure mass awareness and sensitization of travelers and tourists to the high-risk areas.
The NDMA advisory mentioned the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) forecast citing that a westerly wave was likely to enter North Balochistan on 6 January (evening/night) and was likely to grip upper and Northern parts of the country from 6 to 9 January. Under the influence of this weather system, the following events were forecast as light to moderate rain (with snowfall over the hills) was expected in Quetta, Zhob, Barkhan, Ziarat, Nokkundi, Dalbandin, Harnai, Qilla Saifullah, Qilla Abdullah, Chaman and Pishin on 7 and 8 January.
However, moderate rain (with snowfall over the hills) was also expected in Murree, Galliyat, Kashmir (Neelum valley, Muzaffarabad, Poonch, Hattian, Bagh, Haveli, Sudhanoti, Kotli, Bhimber, Mirpur), Gilgit Baltistan (Diamir, Astore, Ghizer, Skardu, Hunza, Gilgit, Ghanche, Shigar), Chitral, Dir, Swat, Malakand, Kohistan, Mansehra and Abbottabad from 7 to 9 January.
The weather prediction may also cause light rain in Islamabad, Pothohar region, Charsada, Bajaur, Kurram, Waziristan, and Kohat between 7 and 8 January.
Keeping in view the weather situation, all provincial disaster management authorities (PDMAs), Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA), State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration, National Highway Authority (NHA), National Highway and Motorway Police (NH&MP), Frontier Works Organization (FWO), Rescue 1122, line departments, Ministries and federal agencies were required to undertake measures as per respective mandate.
The NDMA advised that it was to be ensured by all concerned in addition to measures deemed appropriate as per on-ground situation to make ensure widespread circulation of advisories and alerts to raise awareness and sensitize travelers and tourists.
The concerned departments were to prepare general and area or region-specific awareness campaigns and ensure widespread propagation of likely threats and hazards. Moreover, they should also engage local communities at traditionally dangerous and hazard-prone sites to enable round-the-clock monitoring and establish feedback mechanisms for early warnings and alerts for an at-risk population.
It also added that the PDMAs and DDMAs to arrange and replace necessary inventory and other essentials at strategic locations or vulnerable choke points in coordination with NH&MP, NHA, FWO, local Construct and Works Departments (C&W), Rescue 1122, and line departments.
It also advised that the local administrations assess and plan the deployment of additional resources and exercise control over vehicle movement leading to and in the vicinity of vulnerable areas, choke points, tourist spots, and attractions to prevent losses and damages and save precious lives. Moreover, medical resources; paramedics, equipment, and medicine should be deployed as per the vulnerability and risks identified in different regions to meet respective regional requirements.
The provincial departments and the concerned should also ensure that tourists, visitors, and travelers in at-risk and affected areas will be apprised and forewarned about forecast weather and road conditions in coordination with NH&MP, law enforcement agencies (LEAs), NHA, and FWO to ensure availability of emergency services personnel during the forecast period.
Travelers on Provincial and National Highways in at-risk/affected areas be forewarned of adverse conditions and may be detoured to safe waiting areas under the guidance of respective PDMAs, Local Authorities, National Highway and Motorway Police, LEAs, etc., ensure immediate stocking of basic commodities, especially in regions that get cut-off during winters snowfall, ensure round the clock monitoring of situation through emergencies operation centers (EOCs) with regular feedback to provincial and national EOCS (PEOCs and NEOC respectively).
Tourists, visitors, and travelers to check PMD Weather Forecast for information on fog, snowfall, rain, high flows in nullahs and landslides, etc. to assess road conditions from control rooms, helplines, websites, social media platforms of NH&MP, NHA, FWO, DDMAs, and PDMAs before undertaking the journey.
The NDMA also instructed all departments concerned that in case of any eventuality, twice daily and routine updates are to be shared with the Authority.