Tsunami threats to Pakistan coastal regions

Tsunami threats to Pakistan coastal regions

ISLAMABAD - The unprecedented water inundation of 2004 namely Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami unveiled a new form of devastation to the world.

Pakistan''s coastal areas particularly the Makran Subduction Zone (MSZ) had major tsunami threats that under went a destructive tsunamigenic earthquake in 1945 which caused over 4,000 casualties.

According to Director National Seismic Monitoring Centre, Zahid Rafi, “Subduction zones are places of high activity.

When two huge tectonic plates collide, the pressure and friction is great enough that the material in the Earth''s mantle can melt, and both earthquakes and volcanoes can result”, he told.

In December 2015, the UN General Assembly designated 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day.

Zahid Rafi said it is pertinent to inform that National Seismic Monitoring and Tsunami Early Warning Centre set up by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) in Karachi with the assistance of UNESCO was running round the clock and efficiently performing Seismic monitoring.

He said keeping in view the vulnerability of country’s coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan including Karachi city of 20 million people, PMD conducts awareness sessions and drills to educate people about the developing stages of Tsunami flood and safety measures to be adopted .

Zahid Rafi said that Tsunami is basically an earthquake oriented disaster activity that results into massive water outbursts which plays havoc in the shortest span of time in its approaching vicinity.

He said PMD, in collaboration with local community especially students, various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), disaster management authorities, Pakistan Navy and other concerned public departments holds awareness workshops across the vulnerable areas.

“It gets difficult to reach schools and communities in remote areas due to large distance and scattered population.

It take 3-4 months for that purpose so therefore, Urdu translated booklets and pamphlets bearing safety guidelines about Tsunami floods and its developing stages are distributed among the masses of that area for awareness.

” To a question, he said, “According to our systems’ calculations a possible Tsunami wave would take 22-23 minutes to hit Gwadar area and reach Karachi in 3-4 hours with reduced magnitude as compared to the one hitting the earlier.

” He informed that the department uses maximum technology for the monitoring and early Tsunami Warning which is based on monitoring stations having advanced sensors and global positioning system (GPS) that are submerged in the ground.

New GPS have been bought from United States of America to be installed in Gwadar, Pasni, Ormara and Jiwani, adding, which would be installed within a month or two after survey by PMD teams, he said.

NDMA''s Member Operations Brig Mukhtar Ahmed told APP that the Authority has formed a comprehensive Tsunami Plan under its National Disaster Management Plan based on Tsunami disaster risk management and mitigation which has been share with all stakeholders including Pakistan Navy, Armed Forces, Coast Guards and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs), United Nations offices and Universities and is under their consideration.

He informed that NDMA conducts awareness workshops and drills with the assistance and cooperation of UNDP and its various offices associated with disaster management and other donor organizations in various schools of Balochistan and Sindh provinces that are vulnerable to Tsunami.

He added that Pakistan Navy, Armed Forces, Coast Guards and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) are also the main stakeholders during the process.

Brig Mukhtar informed that last year safe evacuation and awareness drills were organized with the collaboration of PDMA Sindh and Balochistan and other partner organizations in the vulnerable areas, adding that the Tsunami Plan will be made public after the final approval of the relevant stakeholders has been prepared with the assistance of a special from UNDP. - APP