PESHAWAR (Khyber Mail): The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), working in collaboration with the Relief, Rehabilitation, and Settlement Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has unveiled the Winter Contingency Plan for 2023-24. The plan is designed to address various natural hazards that the province may encounter during the winter season, including extreme low temperatures, fog/smog, snowfall, rainfall, landslides, flash floods, and seismic activities in mountainous regions.

Muhammad Qaisar Khan, the Director General of PDMA, revealed that the Winter Contingency Plan 2023-24 was initiated in October 2023. The plan involves key stakeholders such as the Federal Government, Provincial Line Departments, District Administration, UNDP GLOF-II, and other development partners. Digital tools for data collection were developed and shared to gather information related to district/sector-specific hazards, vulnerability profiles, hazard impacts, damages, compensation details, resource mapping, need assessment, and coordination efforts.

The plan provides a comprehensive overview of winter hazard profiles for each district in the province. It includes details on the Composite Risk Score for every district based on various hazards, outlining corresponding risks and estimating the vulnerable population in case of emergencies. The plan guides districts in mapping vulnerable sites and developing contingency plans, defining the roles and responsibilities of various departments to ensure a coordinated response to unfavorable scenarios.

The province faces diverse winter hazards, each presenting unique challenges such as disruptions in daily life, road closures, building collapses, landslides, and shortages of supplies. The Winter Contingency Plan 2023-24 outlines resources, estimated caseloads, and the clear roles and responsibilities of different departments to manage emergency situations effectively during the winter season. The primary objective is to achieve a unified response to minimize the impacts of various winter hazards on the population.

Muhammad Qaisar Khan emphasized that contingency planning for major hazards facilitates the initiation of mitigation measures, ensuring a coordinated response to minimize loss of life and property during disasters. The Winter Contingency Plan 2023-24 is a stakeholder-inclusive exercise that evaluates existing plans, resources, and hazards, providing a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the impacts of winter hazards in the upcoming season.

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