ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf and Ambassador of Japan Seji Kojima jointly inaugurated the already functional flood warning and forecasting system at Pakistan Meteorology Department on Monday. The Rs 360 million 'Nullah Leh flood forecasting and warning system project' has been completed with the financial and technical support of the government of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The system has become functional, which performed its best during the Saturday's rainfall followed by heavy flood in Rawalpindi, said Dr I.B Sheikh, Chairman federal Flood Commission. He said the precious lives claimed by the other day's flood were because the public didn't respond actively to the warning issued by the system. Federal Minister for Water and Power, Raja Pervez Ashraf, who was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony, thanked Japan for its generous help for mitigating the human and financial losses caused by periodic floods in Nullah Leh for the last many decades. He said the coalition government was making all out efforts for safeguarding lives and properties of the people and providing maximum relief to the poor. Ambassador of Japan, Seji Kojima said that public awareness was essential for implementing any project. He expressed his deep grief over the loss of precious lives during the Saturday's flood in Rawalpindi and maintained that the loss occurred because of the poor public response to the warning given by the system. He said this was because they were not made properly aware of the system. He urged for a mass scale public awareness campaign to avoid the untoward incident in future. He said the extreme weather, frequent floods and droughts were because of the global warming, which he said was posing serious threat to life on earth. He said his country pledged on its Cool Earth Day (July 7) to provide further technical and financial support to Pakistan to fight against the climate change phenomenon through reduced carbon emissions and increased forest cover. While talking to media persons after the ceremony, Raja Pervez Ashraf said that their government was keen to provide relief to the people. Responding to a question, he said that WAPDA was under severe economic crunch due to abrupt increase in the oil prices in international market and they were compelled to increase the electricity rates to manage the deficit facing the department for long. He further said that the nation should understand their limitations and face the challenges confronting them bravely and expressed optimism that in next couple of years they would be in a position to overcome power crisis which they inherited from the previous government.