Disaster in India leaves Pakistani daily worried

Islamabad, June 24 (IANS) Pakistan must closely watch for weather systems approaching the country that may cause a disaster situation, warned a Pakistani daily following the calamity in India's mountainous Uttarakhand state.

An editorial in the News International said that cloudbursts have induced massive landslides and flash floods in India's Mandakini river.

"The swollen river washed away houses, shops, apartment buildings, hotels and bridges on its way - along with unsuspecting locals and visitors. Flood-related deaths have also been reported in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and in neighbouring Nepal," the daily said.

The toll is over 500 with thousands still stranded.

"This disaster was so unpredictable that even the most capable agencies would have been caught off guard - and the Indian military has been deployed to rescue the affected," it said.

The daily said that disasters such as these offer deep insights about the climate change issues we face the world over.

"Extreme weather events around the world are taking place with greater frequency and have been attributed to global warming - a result of the indiscriminate plunder of the Earth's natural resources."

The unprecedented floods in Pakistan in 2010 that submerged one-fifth of the its total area and directly affected 20 million people and then again in 2011, forest fires in Russia in 2010 due to record high temperature, Hurricane Sandy in the United States last year which caused massive destruction, and now this disaster in India all indicate that countries must expect such events in the future and invest in disaster preparedness infrastructure, said the editorial.

"Pakistan must also closely watch for weather systems approaching the country that may cause a disaster situation - and start preparing from now for the inevitable human and material losses that come with these disasters."

"The consequences of the devastating floods in Pakistan - the worst in 2010 - over the past three years still linger. People are displaced, crops ruined, and homes destroyed," it said.

The editorial demanded that the government must take effective measures to counter natural disasters before they strike so that precious lives can be saved and affected populations are rehabilitated quickly.

"...it is hoped the new government has a more hands-on approach when it comes to tackling natural disasters."

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