In a bid to better manage natural calamities, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) wants all relief organisations to appoint focal persons for better coordination. To this end, a conference and a two-day exhibition kicked off at Islamabad Hotel on Monday.
NDMA Chairman Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir and representatives of various local and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) attended the session. The NGOs set up stalls to highlight disaster risk reduction, health, education, environment and gender issues. NDMA Deputy Director Dr Sabina said the conference will help them get new ideas to better tackle disasters in future.
“Bringing relief organisations together will help NDMA set up a resource centre that will bring improvements in its performance,” she said.
Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali was the chief guest on the occasion. He emphasised on the importance of research in the fields of disaster risk management, rescue and relief activities. He added, “The NDMA in collaboration with NGOs should establish a body that always remains ready to respond quickly to disasters in a coordinated way.”
He said the body should be responsible for involving women, media and civil society to cope with the post-disaster challenges. “Regular training sessions must also be arranged to train women, especially youth to act in a proper way at the time of emergency,” he added.
Pakistan is vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods due to global warming and climate change, he warned. But he was hopeful that the changing political scenario would result in a stronger NDMA down the road.
Moreover, he urged the youth to utilise their energies and talent for the uplift of the country. “I also urge the media to portray the soft image of the country being projected as a state sponsoring terrorism,” he asked. Later, singer Junaid Khan performed, receiving applause from the audience.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2013.
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