GILGIT: The government is planning to set up a well equipped and modern Disaster Resource Centre in Gilgit to react quickly against natural and manmade disasters, government officials said on Saturday.
“The resource centre will help authorities react quickly and timely,” the officials said, requesting not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Though the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) already exists in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) it is ill-equipped as it lacks proper human resources to face challenges timely and efficiently.
With meagre staff, the G-B DMA does not have the capacity to deal with a crisis, let alone calamities as witnessed this summer.
The need for a full-fledged disaster management department was highlighted this year as the region was first struck by the Attabad landslide. The Attabad landslide had disconnected over 25,000 people living in upper Hunza after it blocked the Hunza River, creating a lake that eventually expanded up to 23 kilometres. Five villages were submerged upstream as the lake expanded. More than 2,820 households were affected by the landslide.
Then came floods that devastated more than 370 villages and 947 roads.
“The Pakistan army came to the rescue of the people on both occasions,” said the official, adding that with the arrival of winter, immediate relief is required.
The officials added that if DMA is strengthened G-B will be able to deal with everything on a regional level.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2010.
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