Islamabad: To improve Pakistan’s response and preparedness to climate-induced disasters, the Japanese government has offered the country a grant worth $19 million (Rs3 billion) to build sophisticated weather surveillance radar in Sukkur in southern Sindh province.
The installation of the new radar “will enhance Pakistan’s weather surveillance capacity and contribute to the mitigation of damages caused by natural and hydro-meteorological disasters” and deliver reliable and timely meteorological information. It will help develop a weather surveillance radar network that can cover around 90 per cent of the country.
Noor Ahmad, Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) and Ambassador of Japan Matsuda Kuninori signed the grant agreement on Monday. Federal minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtyar also witnessed the signing ceremony.
“Japanese economic assistance has played a vital role in the socio-economic uplift of Pakistan,” Secretary EAD Noor Ahmad said, adding that Pakistan greatly values its ties with Japan and both countries share a mutual stance on most of the regional and international issues. He acknowledged Japan as a proactive development partner, which has always helped Pakistan during health emergencies such as polio and COVID-19 outbreak.
Ahmad also appreciated the previous assistance extended by Japan for installation of the weather radars in Karachi, Islamabad and Multan. In 2019, Japan also helped build specialised medium range weather forecasting centre (SMRFC) to strengthen Pakistan’s weather forecasting system.
“Japan’s government will continue to work together with Pakistan to make the country disaster-resilient, making good use of experience and expertise Japan has gained from many disasters in the past,” the Japanese Ambassador Kuninori said. He added that disaster management is one of the priority areas as both the countries are prone to natural disasters with frequent episodes of floods, earthquakes, storms, landslides and heavy rains. Furuta Shigeki, chief representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Pakistan Office, stated that “enhancement of weather surveillance capacity will mitigate the damage caused by natural disasters”.
The Japanese government has been assisting Pakistan in the enhancement of weather surveillance since the 1980s to improve weather forecasting capacity in a country prone to natural disasters and threat of climate change. The new system provides “advanced weather information to local communities, identify heavy rain areas, and issue early warning to local residents living downstream rivers” for timely evacuation in an emergency situation, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) official said.