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Balochistan launches school safety projects

Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) and School Safety Programmes have been launched in Nasirabad and Jaffarabad to minimise risks to human lives during disasters.

Aga Khan Agency for Habitat’s (AKAH) Department of Emergency Management, formally known as FOCUS Pakistan, in close coordination with Balochistan’s Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) launched the CBDRM and School Safety projects during an event held at a local hotel on Tuesday.

PDMA Director General Muhammad Tariq said, “The Balochistan government is working together with its partners to minimise risks to human lives during disasters.”

There is a dire need to spread the CBDRM and School Safety Programmes across the province, he added.

He emphasised the need to increase the project area in future and to work on hard component, like, hazard-free infrastructures. He assured cooperation of his department for all sorts of activities in the near future.

‘Build capacity of students to tackle disasters’

World Food Programme (WFP) Pakistan Head of Policy and Programme William Affif said, “Pakistan has suffered from consecutive natural disasters and emergencies in the recent past, including devastating earthquakes and flooding, causing the unfortunate loss to human as well as to animal lives.”

He said these losses can be minimised by educating the people on disaster risk management and disaster response strategies.

Education Minister Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal said, “The Balochistan government is working to improve the lives of people through providing basic necessities of life including food, education and shelter.”

The government is also working to raise awareness among the communities to prevent them from natural disasters, with its partners – UN agencies, INGOs/NGOs and research institutions. The government welcomes the launching of the UN WFP’s CDBRM and School Safety Programmes in Balochistan, he added.

Funded by the UN WFP, the CBDRM and School Safety projects will benefit around 3,150 community members by increasing their ability to identify hazard, vulnerability and risk. It will help minimise loss of life and property during disasters covering more than 6,500 people, including school children, teachers, school safety committees, local community members, trainers, local and district government officials, from 40 schools, 14 revenue villages with 40 sub-villages in both Nasirabad and Jaffarabad. A similar project was launched in Sindh towards the end of last year.

Pakistan under strong influence of climate change

Addressing the gathering, AKAH Chief Executive Officer Nawab Ali Khan said, “It is very important to build resilient communities in Pakistan as millions of people in the last decade have been impacted by natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and landslides. Disaster Risk Management is a shared responsibility of the government, private sector, civil society and the communities. This partnership will create the environment for all to synergise their efforts for creating a safer human habitat.”

The UN’s WFP, NDMA and PDMAs have signed Framework of Cooperation for the years 2016 – 2018. The AKAH’s Department of Emergency Management has been selected as the implementing partner of the WFP Pakistan to launch a series of orientation sessions for projects on CBDRM across Pakistan. The department also has the credit of developing school safety strategy for Gilgit-Baltistan and commemorating May 16 annually as School Safety Day across Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral.

Reporter. Balochistan launches school safety projects. The Express Tribune, April 19, 2017.

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