Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman on Saturday said Pakistan has been placed among the 20 countries where above-normal rainfall was predicted this year. According to the report of the Global Information and Early Warning System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Pakistan was included in the list of 20 countries at risk of heavy rains, the federal minister took to Twitter to share the important update on future weather predictions indicating heavy rainfall. Senator Rehman said the return of the El Nino (scientific term of weather system) ocean trend forecast for June this year was similar to the country’s local forecasts. She added that the return of the El Nino oceanic phenomenon could trigger severe environmental events worldwide, including higher-than-normal rainfall, floods, droughts and threats of malnutrition. “Pakistan is among the 20 countries where above-normal rainfall is predicted. These 20 countries include America, Turkey, Iran and others. The third return of the El Niño ocean trend in the last 2 years is a cause for concern,” Sherry Rehman said. “We are already in the recovery phase after last year’s rains and flood disasters. We have to be prepared to deal with extreme environmental events. Due to the ongoing rains across the country till May 5, the Meteorological Department and NDMA expressed concern that there may be damage to standing crops, recently harvested crops and new sowing,” Sherry Rehman added. The Minister underscored that the government had issued instructions to the concerned institutions to the public and farmers to take precautionary measures and remain alert. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, presiding over a meeting of local bodies of Karachi-KMC, DMCs, and district council, directed to take appropriate measures during the rain emergency period so that the life and property of the citizens could be secured. The meeting was attended by Minister Local Government Syed Nasir Shah, Advisor Law Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, Chairman P&D Hassan Naqvi, Secretary LG Najam Shah, PSCM Fayaz Jatoi, Administrator KMC Saif Rehman, MC KMC Shujaat, MD SSWMB Imtiaz Shah, MD KWSB Salahuddin MD, PD SWEEP Zubair Channa, PD CLICK Asif Jan, administrators of DMC and district council. The Chief Minister said that there was a forecast of heavy rains, which could cause urban flooding, therefore monitoring of the nullahs for their smooth flow must be ensured. “Recently all the major three nullahs have been cleaned and lined, therefore there should be no problem in the disposal of rainwater into them,” he said and added the connecting nullah falling in the jurisdiction of the DMCs and district councils must be maintained. Murad Shah said that he has noticed that people were dumping debris along the embankments of the nullas. “This is unacceptable, and I have already directed the police to impound such vehicles and take strict action against them,” he said and warned the DMCs to ensure that no vehicle could dare to download or dump debris along the embankment of the nullahs within their limits. Minister Syed Nasir Shah briefing the chief minister said that he has already held a number of rain emergency meetings with local bodies. He assured the Chief Minister that local bodies were prepared enough to meet the rain emergency. The Chief Minister directed KMC and DMCs to take necessary measures to increase their revenues. “My government would keep supporting the local bodies but, in principle, the local bodies have to generate their revenues, improve their recoveries and try to be self-sufficient,” he said. Murad Ali Shah said that recovery of property tax has been handed over to the local bodies – DMCs and district council- and they have to ensure an increase in the recoveries. “If the local bodies administrations focus on the proper recoveries of property tax they would be able to meet all their financial requirements, including carrying out development works in their respective areas,” he observed. The CM also directed the water board to improve its recovery and financially stabilize the organization.