No need to fear floods now;
UNESCO sets up latest ‘flood early warning systems’
UNESCO with the financial assistance of Government of Japan is introducing the advanced level remote sensing based climate and flood early warning technology in Pakistan to upgrade flood management of the country. The 3.5 million dollar project will be completed by 2013. The project will help to build the capacity of Pakistan Metrological Department and other agencies responsible for flood forecasting, early warning and management at the national, provincial and district levels.
Talking to the seminar on “Strengthening Science and Higher Education Base for Capacity Building and Managing Hydro hazards in Pakistan”, Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Director, UNESCO Islamabad said, “This will be major milestone in achieving the better capacity to mitigate extreme floods like 2010 floods in Pakistan. The project will not only bring state of the art technology but will also harness linkages between Pakistani institutions such as Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD), SUPARCO, Federal Flood Commission (FFC), NDMA and Japanese institutions such as International Centre for Water Hazards and Risk Management (ICHARM) which is also a UNESCO Category II Centre and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Our team supported lead by UNESCO HQ Science Bureau will work closely with these institutions.”
The project will not only set up advance technological solutions but will also aim to build capacity of institutions by increasing their existing knowledge and capability to be better prepared and manage the hydro hazards, “ In this country, fortunately we have established institutions, but lessons learnt from the past, hugely emphasize the need of effective coordination among these institutions. These institutions need to be backed by latest modelling and decision support systems, such as Integrated Flood Analysis System (IFAS), to be in sync with the current global benchmarks”, Dr. Shahbaz Khan, Chief Water and Sustainable Development Section – UNESCO expressed these views during his presentation.
IFAS is a key technological component of this project, which will not only provide satellite-based inputs but also incorporate ground-based rainfall data, as well as Geographical Information System (GIS) functions to simulate river channel network and to estimate parameters of flood wave analysis and interfaces to display output results for early warning.
Kenzo Hiroki, Research Principal, International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM) explained that IFAS would upgrade the existing flood forecasting capability, by integrating complex data including rains, precipitation and ground level situation in delivering a complete picture for the minutest detail to fill in the existing gaps.
The seminar was organized with National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and ICHARM Japan, on Tuesday in Islamabad, to formally introduce the project with the national and international stakeholders. The project will be completed in two years, which will enable the institutional capacity of Pakistan, to predict floods as prior as 1 to 14 days by tracking weather and flood waves.