Normal monsoon rains this year: NDMA chief

* says authority ready to tackle any untoward situation

ISLAMABAD: Monsoon rains would be normal this year and there is no threat of any floods in the country, however the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is still all set to meet any untoward situation that may arise from the rains.
The NDMA, in this regard, has identified 50 districts as vulnerable for floods and all of the riverain districts are also in this list. This was stated by Chairman NDMA, Maj. General Muhammad Saeed Aleem while addressing a press briefing after the conclusion of a two-day National Review Conference on Monsoon Preparedness, held under the auspices of NDMA on Tuesday. 
“It is our annual exercise to hold this conference that aims to implement, coordinate and monitor the whole spectrum of pre and post disaster management in order to review the national efforts in monsoon preparedness and to harmonize 
the provincial and departmental plans,” said the chairman while highlighting the aims and objectives of the conference.
The conference was attended by the officials of national, provincial and district disaster management authorities who sit under one roof to see the repercussions of the coming monsoon season.
Stressing on the role of media, the chairman was of the view that media should exercise freedom of expression but at the same time it was their core responsibility to avoid speculating situation as the speculations create havoc among general public. 
“I would stress upon all the media to play their role in creating awareness among general public about any untoward situation but media should refrain from negative reporting as it sensitises normal situation”, said General Aleem.
To a question, the chairman made it clear that the ratio of rains would be normal to below normal this year, however the spectrum of rains would be broader as compared to previous year.
He apprised that during the two-day conference, they have briefings at length from different stakeholders including the met office as the weather forecasting is vital for the NDMA in formulating any kind of strategy.
“Keeping in view the current circumstances, we have decided to issue weekly forecast as less the forecast, the accurate the results are,” he opined. 
Reiterating his demand, he appealed to the whole media not to sensitise any situation while delivering information and play a responsible and pro-active role while reporting on this sensitive issue.
The Chairman said that the rains remained above normal last year and the level of water was high as compared to last four years, yet casualties and losses to properties was less than 2010.
General Aleem expressed the confidence that due to their effective policies they are expecting even lesser loss this year as they have also adopted the policy of Disaster Risk Reduction.
“Three-tier policy is under implementation that includes; awareness among general public, informing people well in time and to take steps in this regard,” he apprised. To a question about the measures taken in military operation zone, the chairman made it clear that the conflict areas are not expected to receive much rains so there is no threat of any kind of floods. 

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