The Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD) came under fire in a recent federal cabinet meeting for making “inaccurate weather forecast” that misled the provincial governments about the measures to counter the climatic disaster – the ongoing floods.
According to sources, some cabinet members, attending a briefing on the recent floods during the meeting, also called for investigating those responsible for the inaccurate weather forecasts and taking appropriate action against them.
The cabinet members from Sindh drew attention towards discrepancies between the figures provided by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the data of the Sindh government, regarding relief goods sent by the federal government.
While thanking the prime minister for not leaving the Sindh governments alone in the face of the catastrophe, a cabinet member pointed out that the NDMA claimed to have provided 397,000 mosquito nets, while the Sindh government had received only 7,154 nets.
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Furthermore, the cabinet member from Sindh also pointed out that Rs15 billion support announced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the Sindh government, had also not been received by the province.
The minister stressed the need for revamping the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) and the Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD) to mitigate the impact of floods in future. The prime minister told the cabinet the scale of devastation was much higher than the earlier estimates.
The NDMA chairman explained that some relief goods were being given directly to the provincial governments and the provincial disaster management authorities (PDMAs), while others items were being distributed through the army.
For instance, 8,000 tents were given to the Sindh’s PDMA, while 24,180 more had been sent to the province through the army. About the mosquito nets, he said that insisted that 300,000 nets had been delivered and assured that the figures would be reconciled in a few days.
The NDMA chief further said that 1.5 million nets would be provided to Sindh on the direction of the prime minister. The prime minister directed the planning minister and the NDMA chairman to reconcile the figures and devise a better coordination mechanism for future.
One cabinet member suggested that the PDMA and the district administrations should be used for the distribution of relief goods among the flood victims, while the army should be engaged only for inaccessible areas.
Alluding to relief support being given to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) by the federal government, a minister complained that he had sought report on the goods sent to Dera Ismail Khan but the NDMA had not given the figures despite repeated requests.
Furthermore, the cabinet member said, according to the NDMA estimates 30,000 houses had been damaged in the Dera Ismail Khan district, however, the district administration had put that number to 40,000.
In response, the NDMA chairman informed the cabinet that 4,346 tents and 30,500 food packs had been delivered to K-P government for distribution among the flood victims. However, he added that the details of district-wise distribution would be available with the PDMA.
The NDMA told the minister that data would reconciled. Later, the prime minister said that he would hold an emergency meeting with the NDMA and coalition partners to streamline the distribution strategy.