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Press Release No. 924

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Pakistan strengthens flood forecasting services to ensure that warnings
arrive ahead of the waters

Geneva, 31 August 2011 (WMO) – As the monsoon and flooding season in Pakistan progresses, the country’s forecasting and warning services are being strengthened in order to ensure that information flows faster than water.

Over the past year, WMO has been working with the Pakistan Meteorological Department on an Integrated Flood Management plan. The cooperation is meant to avert a flood disaster of the magnitude it hit the country in 2010, affecting an estimated 20 million people, causing nearly 2,000 fatalities, damaging nearly 2 million homes and general infrastructure, including meteorological and hydrological networks.

As a result of these continued efforts, Pakistan has installed a Flash Flood Guidance System
to help provide warnings about the imminence of potential flash-flooding. The development of such a system was the result of a WMO Expert Mission that visited Pakistan last November.

“The monsoon rains have caused flooding, displacement and death again this year in Pakistan, although nothing like on the scale of 2010. Strengthening the flood forecasting system including the establishment of the Flash Flood Guidance System will help Pakistan’s disaster prevention and flood management capacity,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

In a 27 August forecast, the Pakistan Meteorological Department warned that conditions indicate that a strong weather system is developing over central parts of India that would cause widespread heavy rains in Pakistan during the coming week. Heavy to very heavy rainfall may generate severe flooding in lower Sindh, and flash flooding in the local rivers of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Eastern parts of Balochistan, it said.

The Flash Flood Guidance System was developed by Hydrologic Research Center (HRC), USA, through joint collaboration between the World Meteorological Organization, U.S. NOAA National Weather Service, USAID, and the Pakistan Meteorological Department at a cost of around US $ 100,000.

In a ceremony in Islamabad on 18 August, Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Permanent Representative of Pakistan with WMO and Advisor (Meteorological and Climate Affairs) to the Ministry of Defence, said the implementation of the new Flash Flood Guidance System would help in improving protection of life and property against flash floods.

In addition, WMO has made available some 25,000 Swiss francs from its Emergency Fund to Pakistan to assist in the rehabilitation of the hydrometeorological network that suffered greatly as a result of the 2010 floods. This Fund is being utilized in conjunction with some US$ 200,000 allocated to assist Pakistan in the Hindu Kush Himalaya Hydrological Cycle Observing System project that is currently being implemented.

That project aims to establish a regional flood information system and is being implemented jointly by WMO and the Nepal-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, with funding provided by the government of Finland. Finland is also providing support, under WMO’s Voluntary Cooperation Programme, to restore meteorological observatories which were damaged during the 2010 floods.

World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s
authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water


For more information, please contact:
Clare Nullis, Media Officer, Tel: +41 (0)22 730 8478;
e-mail: cnullis[at]wmo.int

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