The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and the Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) marked the National Disaster Awareness Day in all 36 districts of Punjab in remembrance of the victims of catastrophic earthquake that took place on October 8th, 2005 in the northern areas of the country.
The commemoration of the day started with observation of silence for one minute throughout Punjab. Prayers were also offered for the martyrs and seminars were also conducted.
A walk, in collaboration with the PDMA and Rescue 1122, was also organised in the city that started from Nasir Bagh and concluded at Town Hall. PDMA Director General Waheed Malik, Rescue 1122 DG Rizwan Naseer, other officers and members of civil society attended the event. Speaking on the occasion, Malik said that PDMA was taking different steps to raise awareness among public regarding dealing with natural calamities and disasters. It was also imparting training to the public in this regard, he added.
He said that they were celebrating National Disaster Day this year with the theme Tayar Pakistan. It had also initiated “Early Warning and Response System” to mitigate effects of disasters, he added. Through this system, they have integrated weather forecast department, agriculture and Rescue 1122 with 20 districts of the province that had more chances of natural disasters, he said. It also introduced a Multi Hazard Vulnerable Risk Assessment in these districts, he added.
Malik said that it had also initiated Community Emergency Response Training Programme and systems to monitor water-flows in the rivers to deal with floods. It was also introducing mobile communication service to deal with such situation in far-flung areas, he said.
The director general said that after learning lessons from the past tragedies, Rescue 1122 was establishing Special Urban Search and Rescue Teams at Divisional Level of the province. He also expressed his sorrow and grief over sad demises of those who lost their lives in the earthquake of 2005. Such incidents also provided us opportunity of capacity building, he added.
2005 earthquake: A tale of unfulfilled promises
Dr Naseer said that after establishing an integrated emergency services infrastructure, Rescue 1122 was now working to promote safety through awareness activities in communities.
Rescue 1122 was establishing Community Emergency Response Teams at every union council level in all the districts. After enrollment, Rescue Mohafiz were trained for Community Action for Disaster Response (CADRE) and Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR). Thus, Rescue 1122 was working closely with the communities to enhance disaster response capacity, risk reduction and prevention of emergencies, for the establishment of safer communities in all districts of Punjab.
He said that although Rescue 1122 had rescued over 5.2 million victims of emergencies, public awareness and community participation was essential to preventing emergencies and for becoming a disaster resilient nation.
Correspondent. National Disaster Awareness Day marked. The Express Tribune, October 9, 2017.