Met Office warns of glacial floods in Pakistan’s north amid rising temperatures

Met Office warns of glacial floods in Pakistan’s north amid rising temperatures
A car crosses the Kowardu suspension bridge over the Indus River on the outskirts of Skardu on January 24, 2021. (AFP/File)
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Updated 21 May 2024
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Met Office warns of glacial floods in Pakistan’s north amid rising temperatures

Met Office warns of glacial floods in Pakistan’s north amid rising temperatures
  • A heatwave is expected to hit Pakistan this week, with temperatures in certain areas surging past 40 degrees Celsius
  • Pakistan this year experienced its ‘wettest April since 1961,’ with at least 144 people killed in rain-related incidents

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) on Monday warned of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan region and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, citing higher temperatures due to an expected heatwave from May 21 onwards.

A heatwave is expected to hit parts of Pakistan this week and temperatures in certain areas of the southern Sindh and eastern Punjab provinces may surge past 40 degrees Celsius, according to the country’s disaster management authorities.

Heatwaves, which occur in summer, are caused by slow-moving high-pressure systems leading to prolonged high temperatures. The World Meteorological Organization defines a heatwave as five or more consecutive days during which the daily maximum temperature surpasses the average maximum temperature by 5 °C (9 °F) or more.

“The daytime temperatures in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) are expected to remain 4-6°C higher than normal from May 21 to 27 with chances of gusty wind/thunderstorm,” the PMD said in its GLOF alert.

“This atmospheric condition [will be] potentially increasing the likelihood of triggering a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) event or flash floods in the vulnerable snow-covered and glaciated areas of GB and Chitral.”

The Met Office advised the district administrations as well as local organizations and communities to remain vigilant during this period and take precautionary measures to avoid any untoward situation.




Labourers are silhouetted as they stand on scaffoldings at a construction site during a hot and humid day in Karachi, Pakistan on May 20, 2024. (REUTERS)

Pakistan experienced its first severe heat wave in June 2015 when temperatures as high as 49 degrees Celsius struck the country’s south, causing the deaths of about 2,000 people from dehydration and heatstroke. A heat wave in Sindh’s provincial capital of Karachi that year alone claimed 120 lives.

Increased exposure to heat, and more heat waves, have been identified as one of the key impacts of climate change in Pakistan, with people experiencing extreme heat and seeing some of the highest temperatures in the world in recent years. The South Asian country of more than 241 million, one of the ten most vulnerable nations to climate change impacts, this year experienced its “wettest April since 1961,” with at least 144 people killed in thunderstorms and house collapses.

Climate change-induced extreme heat can cause illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and hyperthermia. It can make certain chronic conditions worse, including cardiovascular, respiratory, and cerebrovascular disease and diabetes-related conditions, and can also result in acute incidents, such as hospitalizations due to strokes or renal disease.

Keeping the weather predictions in view, the government in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Monday announced the closure of public and private schools from May 25 till May 31.

“In view of the surge in temperature and heat wave in the province, all public and private schools shall remain closed for seven days with effect from 25th May 2024 to 31st May 2024,” the Punjab education department said in a notification, adding that exams could be conducted during these days with necessary precautions in place.

According to the Global Climate Risk Index, nearly 10,000 Pakistanis have died while the country has suffered economic losses worth $3.8 billion due to climate change impacts between 1999 and 2018.

In 2022, torrential monsoon rains triggered the most devastating floods in Pakistan’s history, killing around 1,700 people and affecting over 33 million, a staggering number close to the population of Canada. Millions of homes, tens of thousands of schools and thousands of kilometers of roads and railways are yet to be rebuilt.


So close to death: NGO captain recounts sea rescue involving Pakistani, other migrants

So close to death: NGO captain recounts sea rescue involving Pakistani, other migrants
Updated 19 sec ago
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So close to death: NGO captain recounts sea rescue involving Pakistani, other migrants

So close to death: NGO captain recounts sea rescue involving Pakistani, other migrants
  • One boat with 51 survivors, 10 bodies was intercepted about 90km south of the island of Lampedusa, Italy
  • Another was spotted about 200 kilometers east of the southern Italian region of Calabria, rescuers said

ROME: Saving migrants from one of the shipwrecks that have left dozens dead or missing off Italy’s shores involved walking through bodies to find barely alive survivors, the NGO captain involved in one of the rescues said on Tuesday.
One boat with 51 survivors and 10 bodies was intercepted about 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of the island of Lampedusa, while another was spotted about 200 kilometers east of the southern Italian region of Calabria.
Eleven survivors from the second shipwreck and the body of a woman were taken ashore on Monday, and aid groups said 64 people, including 26 children, were unaccounted for. The Italian coast guard recovered three more bodies at sea on Tuesday.
Captain Ingo Werth of German aid group RESQSHIP, which operates the “Nadir” boat, led the first rescue in the early hours of Monday, picking up the 51 survivors from a “totally overcrowded wooden boat,” he told Reuters.
Before leaving, his team inspected the lower deck and found what seemed to be about a dozen bodies. A medical officer then said, “There’s a guy who’s breathing, he makes some noise, I hear some noise.”
Wearing gas masks, crew members went below to pick up the man and take him to safety. Another survivor was found in a second inspection, but getting him out was more complicated for the captain and a nurse who went with him.
“The (migrants’) boat was almost capsizing and so it was a potential grave (for rescuers),” said Werth.
The captain and the nurse left the hold with the bodies to return above deck, and managed to save the man below by pulling him through a hole made above his head using an axe and a hammer.
“There was that much life left in both of them,” Werth said about the survivors, using a hand gesture to signify they were close to death. He said the body temperature on one was below 32 degrees.
The pair has been airlifted to a hospital in Palermo and are recovering, he added.
The two shipwrecks have confirmed the central Mediterranean’s reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes. According to UN data, more than 23,500 migrants have died or gone missing in its waters since 2014.
According to RESQSHIP, the migrants picked up south of Lampedusa had set off from the Libyan port of Zuwarah and spent two days at sea. They told rescuers half of the passengers were from Bangladesh, with others from Pakistan, Syria and Egypt.
The migrants from the other shipwreck off Calabria set sail from Turkiye, spent eight days at sea, and came from Iran, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to statements from UN agencies and the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity.
Survivors are “very confused” and don’t know “who among their relatives is alive or dead at sea. Entire families have been destroyed. Some have lost a wife, a child, a husband, a friend or a grandchild,” MSF staffer Cecilia Momi said.


4.7-magnitude earthquake jolts Islamabad, parts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

4.7-magnitude earthquake jolts Islamabad, parts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province
Updated 9 min 54 sec ago
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4.7-magnitude earthquake jolts Islamabad, parts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

4.7-magnitude earthquake jolts Islamabad, parts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province
  • Tremors were felt in Peshawar, Swat, Malakand, Dir and other areas at 4:17am
  • However, no loss of life or property was reported in the wake of the earthquake

ISLAMABAD: A 4.7 magnitude earthquake jolted the Pakistani capital of Islamabad and parts of the country’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistani state media reported on Wednesday.
Tremors were felt in various areas, including Peshawar, Swat, Malakand, North Waziristan, Parachinar, Lower Dir, Hangu, Charsadda and Swabi, at around 4:17am Pakistan time.
“The center of earthquake was region of South-East Afghanistan and depth was 98 kilometers,” the state-run Radio Pakistan broadcaster reported, citing the National Seismic Monitoring Center in Islamabad.
However, no loss of life or property was reported in its wake.
Earlier this month, an earthquake of 3.2 magnitude jolted parts of the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi.
Its epicenter lied 15 kilometers northeast of the city at a depth of 22 kilometers, according to the National Seismic Monitoring Center.


Festivities continue as Pakistanis mark Eid Al-Adha for third and final day

Festivities continue as Pakistanis mark Eid Al-Adha for third and final day
Updated 14 min 2 sec ago
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Festivities continue as Pakistanis mark Eid Al-Adha for third and final day

Festivities continue as Pakistanis mark Eid Al-Adha for third and final day
  • People continue to visit relatives to convey Eid greetings and share elaborate meals
  • Recreational spots and beaches witness rush as Pakistanis celebrate final day of Eid

ISLAMABAD: People in Pakistan and other countries on Wednesday continued sacrificing animals and taking part in festivities as they marked the third day and final of Eid Al-Adha. 
Muslims celebrate three-day Eid Al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, by slaughtering animals such as cattle and goats and sharing their meat among family and friends and the poor. It commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God’s command.
In Pakistan, Eid Al-Adha, one of the two most important festivals on the Islamic calendar, began on Monday with special prayers for the well-being of the Muslim world, particularly Palestine and Kashmir.
On Wednesday, Pakistanis continued to visit each other to exchange Eid greetings and share elaborate meals to celebrate the joyous occasion, the state-run Radio Pakistan broadcaster reported.
“The distribution of meat also continues among each other particularly to deserving people,” the report read.
“Picnic and recreational spots are observing unusual rush due to children.”
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif conveyed Eid greetings to countrymen and several other leaders of the Muslim world on Eid Al-Adha as his government announced a three-day holiday on the joyous occasion.
Over six million animals valued at approximately Rs531 billion ($1.9 billion) were sacrificed during the three-day Eid festival in 2023, according to tanners association.
As many, if not more, animals are expected to be sacrificed this year.


Small businesses boom ahead of Eid Al-Adha, invigorating local commerce

Small businesses boom ahead of Eid Al-Adha, invigorating local commerce
Updated 19 June 2024
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Small businesses boom ahead of Eid Al-Adha, invigorating local commerce

Small businesses boom ahead of Eid Al-Adha, invigorating local commerce
  • Allied businesses like animal fodder, knives and wooden blocks thrive in weeks before Eid
  • Boom in Eid side businesses also creates seasonal employment opportunities in Pakistan

KARACHI: While Eid Al-Adha generates billions of rupees through the sale and purchase of sacrificial animals, allied businesses like animal fodder sellers and knife makers also thrive in Pakistan, traders said, underscoring the religious festival’s impact on livelihoods and local commerce.
Last year Pakistanis sacrificed over six million animals worth around Rs531 billion ($1.9 billion) over Eid, according to the Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA).
“Eid offers employment opportunities to thousands of people across the city,” said Syed Amjad Ali, an animal feed seller who had set up his stall in the Burns Road area of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and commercial hub.
Indeed, a variety of animal feeds go up on sale at stalls around the city, ranging from bales of hay to more nutrient-rich feeds, while the prices of animal fodder typically increase in the run-up to Eid due to high demand. Sellers capitalize on the opportunity to earn additional income while it is also convenient for members of the public to find things like feed, knives and wooden blocks at makeshift stalls set up in their neighborhoods rather than traveling far to purchase them.
“It is easier for people living in the neighborhood, even a child can come and buy the feed,” said Ali, who set up his stall two weeks before Eid. ” In this area there will be about 8-10 stalls and 6-8 people are working at each stall.”
Another business that thrives ahead of Eid is that of butchering tools, most importantly knives and cleavers. Retailers report a “significant boost” in sales before the holiday, when markets and shops across Pakistan stock up on knife varieties. 
“We have been doing this for 50 years, since my grandfather’s time. Every year, when the moon of Bakra Eid (Dhul-Hijjah) is sighted, we set up this stall to facilitate consumers,” said seller Muhammad Sarfraz, whose customers include families as well as amateur and professional butchers. 
Sarfraz also sells related materials like skewers, grills, stands and various types of pans. 
Sales of wooden blocks on which butchers cut up meat after slaughtering the animals also see a boom ahead of Eid.
“People come to buy wooden meat cutting blocks from our saw machine,” vendor Paras Khan said, adding that his business picked up pace two months before Eid. 
Meanwhile, the boom in Eid side businesses also creates seasonal employment opportunities.
“This is the system of Allah,” Muhammad Siddique, a resident of Karachi’s Saddar area, said as he bought feed for his two cows, “where livelihood is created for many people including transporters, feed sellers, and decorative material sellers for animals.”
“I have bought two goats and have come to buy ropes for them,” said Yousaf Gul Ahmed, a young child standing at a stall. “I have bought two good goats.”


‘Important to show respect,’ says Pakistan pacer Rauf after spat with fan 

‘Important to show respect,’ says Pakistan pacer Rauf after spat with fan 
Updated 19 June 2024
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‘Important to show respect,’ says Pakistan pacer Rauf after spat with fan 

‘Important to show respect,’ says Pakistan pacer Rauf after spat with fan 
  • Video of Rauf charging angrily at a fan in the US goes viral on social media 
  • Pakistan Cricket Board chairman warns of legal action if fan doesn’t apologize

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani pacer Haris Rauf urged fans to respect cricketers and their families after a video of his spat with a fan went viral on social media, days after Pakistan failed to qualify for the second round of the ICC T20 World Cup 2024. 

In a video that has gone viral on social media, Rauf can be seen talking to a few people as he stands with his wife somewhere in the United States. One of the men uses an expletive against Rauf at which the fast bowler can be seen rushing across a hedge toward the group as one of the men tries to stop him. 

The video appears to be shot in the United States. Pakistan’s last group-stage match at the T20 World Cup being held in the USA and West Indies was played in Lauderhill against Ireland. The green shirts won the fixture narrowly but were unable to qualify for the Super Eight stage of the tournament, having lost to minnows US and arch-rivals India earlier this month. 

Pakistan’s poor performance in the megaevent has enraged cricket fans and commentators alike. Many of them have called on skipper Babar Azam to resign and urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to probe the national team’s hapless performance in the tournament. 

“As public figures, we are open to receiving all kinds of feedback from the public. They are entitled to support or criticize us,” Rauf wrote on social media platform X. 

“Nevertheless, when it comes to my parent and my family, I will not hesitate to respond accordingly. It is important to show respect toward people and their families, irrespective of their professions.”

PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi took to social media to address the “appalling” incident, warning that such acts would not be tolerated. 

“Those who are involved must immediately apologize to Haris Rauf, failing which we will pursue legal action against the individual responsible,” he wrote on X. 

Compared to other Pakistani pacers, Rauf fared better in the T20 World Cup. The fiery pacer, known for clocking above 150 km/h on pitches that favor bounce and speed, grabbed seven wickets in four bowling innings, at an economy rate of 6.73.