Time: 20 January, 2020
- The Saudi aid agency’s $1.5 million winter relief project is expected to benefit 150,000 people
- Pakistan is likely to witness extreme weather events in the future as well, says expert
ISLAMABAD: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) will dispatch warm clothes and winter kits to Neelum Valley in Azad Kashmir on Monday to help the residents of the area who were suffering from harsh weather conditions, said the organization’s officials.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), at least 105 people were killed and 96 injured in the wake of the recent weather-related incidents in the country. The majority of casualties were reported from Azad Kashmir where heavy rains and snowfall triggered avalanches, especially in the Neelum Valley area.
“KSRelief is going to distribute 7,500 winter kits, including 15,000 blankets, shawls for men and women, socks, gloves and caps in Azad Kashmir. Most of these items will find their way to the most effected districts of Neelum Valley,” KSRelief told Arab News via a statement on Sunday.
Earlier this month, KSRelief launched a $1.5 million winter relief project to distribute 30,000 winter bags containing 180 tons of goods in 21 districts across Pakistan. The initiative is expected to benefit 150,000 people.
“As Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has received record snow due to severe cold weather this year … KSRelief distributed 16,000 blankets and 8,000 pieces of winter gear, including 16,000 men’s and women’s shawls, socks, gloves, and caps along with warm clothes for children,” the agency said in its statement.
Last week, the Saudi aid agency distributed 3,000 blankets and 1,500 pieces of winter gears in Astor district of Gilgit-Baltistan under the program.
With one of the largest humanitarian aid budgets in the world, KSRelief has been working in 46 countries. Pakistan is the fifth-largest recipient of its assistance and has received more than $117.6 million in aid since 2005.
The organization once again jumped into action as a bout of bitter cold swept across Pakistan and heavy rains and snowfall paralyzed life in the country’s northern areas and Balochistan.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has warned that heavy rains and snow in northwestern parts of Balochistan may result in flash floods. The province has recorded the heaviest snowfall in two decades, according to the PMD.
A westerly wave has also engulfed northern parts of the country, the PMD said in a statement, which may lead to cold and dry weather in much of Pakistan and result in extremely frigid climate in north Balochistan.
The PMD’s former director general, Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, who is also one of the authors of the country’s climate change policy, told Arab News via phone on Sunday that the recent snowfall and extreme weather patterns were unprecedented.
“This unusually cold weather and snowfall can be attributed to climate change since Pakistan is one of the top 10 countries in the world that are most adversely effected by the phenomenon,” he said, adding that such extreme weather events would continue in the future as well.
“We can also expect such climate events in the future. Either there will be no rain, resulting in a drought, or there will be extreme snowfall and rain, making us deal with emergency situations such as the one we have recently witnessed. The country must adapt itself to deal with its vulnerability to climate change,” Chaudhary said.