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Calamitous: Many disaster bodies exist on paper only

A number of ghost district disaster management authorities (DDMA) exist across Pakistan, The Express Tribune has learnt.

An official working closely with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said that there are many districts across the country where DDMAs exist only on papers.

A National Post Monsoon 2016 Review Conference was held on Tuesday to identify gaps, record the lessons learnt and to devise most appropriate strategy for future.

“Pakistan has to suffer great human loss in natural calamities every year because of the absence of DDMAs,” the official said.

Furthermore due to the absence of these DDMAs, the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) are unable to provide accurate details to the NDMA,” he said.

Considering the impact of climate change on Pakistan there is a dire need to have active DDMAs in every district of the country along with trained human resources, he said.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the NDMA chairman Major General Asghar Nawaz highlighted the paucity of trained workforce.

“Shortage of human resources is a major concern and a setback for capacity building,” he said.

He specifically emphasised that response must be configured according to the degree of vulnerability for optimum utilisation of resources, improvement in response to urban flooding in major city centres, rationalisation of requirement of rescue equipment at district level by taking into account equipment held by the army and provinces, completion of flood protection work before June 2017, standardisations of reporting format and creations of synergy in relief efforts.

Chairman NDMA appreciated the collaborative role of various federal and provincial departments to mitigate the flood threat during monsoon season 2016. He stated that climate change presents a real threat and emphasised over the need to further strengthen integrated coordination mechanism amongst all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure better preparedness.

Wasif, Sehrish. Calamitous: Many disaster bodies exist on paper only. The Express Tribune, January 11, 2017.

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