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    Climate change, a threat to human life, food security

    Climate change, a threat to human life, food security

    SWABI : Despite losing his wife and daughter in a roof collapsed incident, Mufarakh Shah was unruffled to meet people arriving at his residence to condole the tragic death of his loved ones during recent torrential rains that wreaked havoc in Swabi district.

    Mufarakh Shah, who lost his wife Mumlaykat Bibi and his seven-year-old daughter, Asma Mufarakh in a recent rain related incident, controlled his nerves despite the great tragedy and met people with calm at his native village Sikhandari at Kalu Khan here.

     “I was using my mobile phone when all of a sudden the roof of a room of my house caved in with a loud sound burying my wife and daughter alive under debris during heavy torrential rains that wreaked havoc mostly to people’s properties and killed several people,” he said.

    “I rushed toward the collapsed room while neigbours also quickly arrived to rescue my family members but in vain,” he said, adding during half hour hectic efforts, “we managed to retrieve their dead bodies from the rubbles,” Mufarakh Shah said while tears rolling down on his cheeks.

    Like Mufarkah Shah’s wife and daughters, 10 people died, two injured in KP during recent downpours, while 10 houses razed to ground and 20 partially damaged. The flash floods and torrential rains have adversely affected people of Tank, DI Khan, Lakki Marwat, Karak, Swat and Swabi.

    “The recent torrential rains and flash floods in most parts of the country are mostly caused by climate change posing serious threats to human life and properties, environment, biodiversity and food security,” said Muhammad Mumtaz Malik, former Chief Conservator, Environment and Wildlife Department KP while talking to APP.

    He said Pakistan was among 10 countries mostly vulnerable to climate change. “The climate change is converting fertile agricultural lands into deserts, water scarcity and flash floods owing to the weather’s vulnerability in the region.

    Dr Mumtaz Malik said thousands of acres of barren lands could be seen at Swabi and Mardan while travelling on Islamabad-Peshawar motorway and Kohat, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Bannu and DI Khan districts while moving on Indus highway.

    The high deforestation has resulted into an increase of floods, cyclones and erratic rains due to climate change vulnerability, severe heatwave and fast melting of glaciers besides glacial lake outbursts mostly in Chitral and Gilgit Baltistan.

    He said enhanced discharge of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our outer atmosphere due to fossil fuel combustion leads to a rise in earth’s average temperature besides polluting the air, thus making negative effects on economy and causes disruption in climatic processes in addition to leading flash floods, droughts and cyclones.

    The global climate risk index annual report 2020 has disclosed that Pakistan had lost about 0.53 percent per unit gross domestic products and suffered economic losses worth about US$ 3792.52 million besides witnessing 152 extreme weather events from 1999 to 2018.

    To combat climate change and desertification, the federal and provincial governments have joined hands by launching a 10 billion trees project (10 BTAP) under which 10 billion saplings including one billion in Khyber Pakthunkhwa would be planted by 2023.

    Latifur Rehman, Spokesman KP forest, wildlife and environment department told APP that 10BTAP was successfully underway in the province where 566.54 million saplings were planted till May 2022.

    “KP’s share in 10 BTAP is Rs27.3 billion under which plantation on 68,074 hectares and raising of seeds on 15,402.73 hectares was achieved,” he said, adding forest enclosures on 239,560 hectares were set up for natural generation.

    The plantation of fruits plants were also made part of 10BTAP and so far 137.65 million fruits plants were distributed among masses and farmers. Besides establishment of 115 ponds for storage of rainy water and using water of 152 waterfalls for plantations, he said that green jobs were provided to 713,165 people and 19, 353 jobs to labourers during 2020 COVID pandemic.

    The spokesman said that 6.3pc increase in KP’s forests and one percent overall have been registered under the billion trees project, adding that according to the SUPARCO report, 85percent positive change detection in atmosphere in the project witnessed besides 88pc plants survival rate as per WWF report.

    Latif said in 2017, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) KP has prepared the province’s first climate change policy, adding following merger of Fata into KP, EPA’s policy and action plan were being revisited and the new amended policy would soon be enforced in the province.

    He said survey of existing glaciers in Chitral, Upper Swat, Upper Dir, Kohistan and Manshera were made in 2019-20 and GIS maps were shared with UNDP for identification of glacial lakes to avert flash floods in future.

     Ibrahim Khan, deputy project director, 10BTAP said an agreement with KfW German bank has been signed to provide eruo 13.5 million for billion trees afforestration support project. He said it was a six year project primarily focused on sustainability of forest projects launched under billions trees project.

    KfU will help bring improvement in communities’ life in natural forest areas in 12 forest divisions of the country including Peshawar, he added. Under the project, he said a management information system would be developed and all the project activities and records would be digitized.(APP)

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