PR No. 48 Islamabad

A regional toolkit targeted towards city governments to support heatwave management planning in Asian cities has been launched on Saturday. It will serve as guideline for the disaster managers to formulate effective response plans against heatwave related hazards.

The toolkit was launched during a Regional Workshop on ‘Heatwave Management Planning in Asian Cities’ organised by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaborations with LEAD Pakistan and CDKN on Saturday.

Lt. General Omar Mahmood Hayat, Chairman NDMA was the chief guest of the event. Brigadier Mukhtar Ahmed, Member OPS NDMA, Anil Pokherel, DRR specialist from Nepal, Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, CEO LEAD Pakistan, Hammad Raza, Manager CDKN along with regional, national and provincial stakeholders also attended the event.

Speaking during the event, Chairman NDMA Lt. General Omar Mahmood Hayat said that NDMA is committed to mainstream heatwave management in urban centers at national and regional level.

‘With the launch of this toolkit, we will now be able to identify context appropriate heat management and mitigation strategies along with institutional frameworks to enable effective implementation and look forward to working with downstream agencies and department for taking heatwave management to grass root levels in our cities’ he added.

He said that the toolkit will serve as an important contribution and a stepping stone in the efforts to make our cities resilient and sustainable.

He said that the rising intensity and frequency of heatwave events under the influence of climate change presents a major adaptation challenge and urban centres, the engines of growth in modern economy, are particularly vulnerable in this regard.

‘Managing the increasing risk of excessive heat in urban areas, that will house 70 percent of the world’s population by 2050, is imperative for a resilient future of the planet’ he added.

Chairman NDMA said that the staggering death toll from 2015 heatwave episode in South Asia was a stark reminder of the scale of this challenge.

CEO LEAD Pakistan, Ali Tauqeer Sheikh said that Climate change is one of the biggest challenge of 21st century and heatwaves are a clear manifestation of this reality.

‘There are multiple reasons why the heatwaves challenge needs immediate attention.   First, this is an event which is inherently immune to traditional DRM approaches because of its slow onset nature. Unless early detections protocols are in place, it is usually too late by the time alarm is raised. Second, urban centers, the engines of modern growth, are most vulnerable to extreme heat events. Hence effective management of extreme heatevents is critical to enable sustainable and resilient economic growth’ he underlined.

He said that LEAD Pakistan assisted city government of Karachi to develop a comprehensive heatwave management plan for Karachi which will hopefully be served as a trail blazer for other cities to initiate heatwave management planning.

It is pertinent to mention here that a severe heatwave with temperatures as high as 49°C struck southern Pakistan in June 2015 and caused the deaths of about 2,000 people from dehydration and heat stroke, mostly in Sindh province and its capital city, Karachi.