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PM sets up climate change task force amid heatwave and melting glaciers

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday set up a task force on climate change in view of the heat wave and melting glaciers in the country.

The task force included relevant federal ministers, secretaries, provincial chief secretaries and relevant provincial secretaries, the chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and senior officials from other agencies.

The task force will develop a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the effects of climate change in the country and prevent incidents such as the glacier incident in Hunza.

Chairing a high-level emergency meeting on the recent heat wave and the effects of climate change, the Prime Minister ordered action to prevent food and water shortages and to conserve water and forests .

The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers Syed Khurshid Shah, Sherry Rehman, Ehsas-ur-Rehman Mazari, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Maryam Aurangzeb, NDMA Chairman Lt. Gen. Akhtar Nawaz and heads of relevant agencies. Participation by video link of Federal Minister of Education Rana Tanveer Hussain and Provincial Secretaries.

Prime Minister Sharif ordered to take immediate action in this regard and report back at the next meeting. The meeting was informed that climate change was the main reason for the intense heat wave and that Pakistan was the fifth most vulnerable country in the world in terms of climate change.

It was pointed out that Pakistan, although having significant glacier reserves, was also threatened by water scarcity which could have a direct impact on the country’s agriculture. The Prime Minister ordered to formulate a comprehensive strategy in this regard on an urgent basis and also underlined the launching of a public awareness campaign for water conservation.

He called for immediate action to ensure rainwater storage before the next monsoon.

The Prime Minister was also informed of the water shortage in Cholistan, to which he directed an immediate supply of water for human settlements and animals. He ordered to ensure immediate relief activities during the recent heat wave in Cholistan by the district administration and relevant agencies.

Prime Minister Sharif ordered the chairman of NDMA to go to Hunza immediately and also insisted on the reconstruction of the bridge which collapsed during the melting of the glaciers. The Prime Minister also requested a detailed report at the next meeting regarding the progress of the construction of the bridge.

Prime Minister Sharif also ordered the Ministry of Education to implement SOPs to prevent the recent heat wave in public schools and to order private schools to implement them. He ordered the Ministry of Health to immediately submit a detailed report on the research and possible effects of the new COVID-19 subvariant.