ISLAMABAD: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has issued an advisory alert to federal and provincial departments, urging them to take necessary measures for disaster preparedness.
This action comes in response to a rain-thunderstorm forecast issued by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) from May 22 to 26.
According to the advisory report, a westerly wave is expected to enter the western and upper regions of the country on May 22, persisting throughout the week until May 26. This weather system is likely to result in intermittent precipitation, including wind-dust, thunderstorms, rain, and the possibility of hailstorms with isolated heavy falls.
The affected regions include Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sargodha, Mianwali, Layyah, Khushab, Bhakkar, Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Sheikhupura, Nankana, Gujranwala, Mandi Bahauddin, Narowal, Sialkot, Kasur, Pakpattan, Okara, Sahiwal, Lahore, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalnagar, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Islamabad, Balochistan, and Sindh.
The advisory highlights several potential impacts, including heavy hailstorms, thunderstorms, and strong winds that may pose risks to human and livestock lives as well as properties.
Loose structures such as under-construction buildings, hoardings, and tall trees are also susceptible to damage from dust storms and windstorms.
Furthermore, the advisory warns of potential crop damage in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Kashmir between May 23 and 25 due to strong winds. The wet spell is expected to bring relief from high temperatures.
The advisory recommends that tourists plan their activities with caution, as heavy rainfall may trigger landslides, avalanches, and disruptions to traffic flow.
The general public is advised to seek shelter in safe areas during dust storms, windstorms, and thunderstorms.
To ensure preparedness, all provincial, Gilgit Baltistan, and state disaster management authorities, as well as relevant line departments, ministries, and federal agencies, are urged to undertake necessary measures as per their respective mandates.
Additionally, the advisory specifies several actions that should be taken by all concerned parties to mitigate potential risks and ensure public safety.
These actions include assessing and deploying additional resources at vulnerable locations, securing loose infrastructure, engaging local communities for monitoring and early warning systems, coordinating with district administrations for landslide and flood preparedness, and providing awareness to farmers and livestock herders about the potential impacts and necessary precautions.
Travelers on provincial and national highways in at-risk or affected areas should be informed of adverse conditions and guided towards safe waiting areas under the supervision of respective disaster management authorities, local authorities, and law enforcement agencies.
In anticipation of increased water flow in seasonal nullahs, law enforcement agencies are advised to regulate level crossing points and divert traffic in coordination with local administrations, district disaster management authorities, and the National Highway Authority (NHA) and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO).
The NDMA emphasises the importance of proactive measures and collective efforts to minimise the potential impact of the forecasted weather conditions and safeguard lives and property.