Red flag: Coordination between disaster management, Met depts stressed

Authorities asked to play proactive role to avoid widespread loss of life

Shahzad Anwar August 31, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Experts have warned of detrimental effects from the serious disconnect between the District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) and the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

They asked the authorities to play a proactive role to avoid wide scale loss of life during natural calamities.

They were addressing a conference on “Consultation on Disaster Management” organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) at a local hotel on Saturday.

The experts said Pakistan was now capable enough to forecast natural disasters, particularly heavy rains that perturb flash floods 24 to 48 hours before the event. Authorities responsible for disaster management are unable to respond on timely weather forecast, they added.

Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Deputy Director Operation and Implementation Dr Ali Imam Syed said that the state of emergency services in the country including pre-hospital emergency management of accidents and disasters had long been neglected.

He said that pre-hospital emergency services such as fire, rescue and ambulance services were virtually non-existent before Rescue 1122.

Syed said that the role of the PDMA was to implement disaster management policies, adding that every disaster was an opportunity for development.

There were people in some flood-affected areas including DG Khan, Rajanpur and Rojhan who had encroached over river beds and built multiple schools there, he said, explaining that they wait for floods to destroy those structures so as to acquire compensation from the government. He suggested that the government should take action against these people and not allow them to go back in these areas to encroach on the river beds again.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) official Muhammad Razi said the NDMA was shifting focus from response to risk reduction.

He shared that after mega the disasters — 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods — the country had to face cumulative losses in the last four years of over $16 billion.

Ministry of Climate Change Deputy Director Communication Saleem Sheikh said that disaster risk-management plans lacked community-based disaster management approaches. “No disaster risk-management plan can succeed unless they are community-centric,” he said. Sheikh stressed that disaster planning was the best way for a community to move towards disaster resilience.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2015.


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