Experts call for specific risk assessment and designing disaster response plan for Karachi

May 30, 2013 Off By Web Desk

Karachi: Speakers representing government’s disaster management authorities, Pakistan Meteorological department and humanitarian organizations demanded to have specific risk assessments for Karachi with designing disaster response plan as the city is more prone to disasters.

They were speaking at a stakeholders’ dialogue on Disaster in Pakistan Rehabilitation Approaches in Sindh and Khyber Pukhtoon Khuwa (KPK), jointly organized by Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), and Development Foundation, which attracted experts from KPK and Sindh to discuss the situation, as impacts of climate change are visible and it has become a reality.

They demanded strict action against land mafia involved in mangroves cutting and ensure protection of mangroves.

They realized the fact that there is a lack of political will to respond to emergencies effectively and save the communities living in the affected areas.

Karamat Ali, executive director Piler, Mohammed Ali Shah, Chairperson Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), Dr Sono Khangharani, CEO Hisaar Foundation, Tausif Alam, Chief Metrological Department, Yasir Hayat, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) KPK, Zulfiqar Shah and others spoke on the occasion.

They demanded compensation to small land owners for land lost due to soil erosion in the flash floods and measures should be taken to stop further erosion. There is a dire need to chalk out comprehensive Disaster Management Frameworks, Strategies, and allocate resources with respect to the diversity of the geographic areas in Sindh

Tausif Alam, Chief Metrological Department, talking about the early warning system, said they are installing early warning systems in the entire coastal areas to inform the people timely to evacuate it earlier and avoid loss.

“We should learn from the experiences during the recent flood emergencies and improve resource mechanism to cope with such disasters,” he said and added if the government, humanitarian organizations and community work together with coordination they can meet any emergency.

Dr. Sono Khangharani said the people living in flood plains; coastal areas and catchment of the River Indus are prone to disasters in one or the other way. These people are always seen ready to face the situation and shift their families. But, he said there is need of strategy of government to have a capacity to evacuate these people. There is lack of planning. There is no system of resources mobilization with the government. There is need to have proper policy criteria and disaster mitigation plans.

PFF Chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah said it seems the Sindh government officials do not have disaster and destruction on priority to design strategies and learn from the communities. He said almost all the disasters seem manmade.

He lauded the role of KPK PDMA and termed it a role model to help the people in emergencies and asked Sindh PDMA to learn from the experiences of KPK officials for disaster mitigation.

Shah said the flood water needs way to stream smoothly. When humans block natural flow of the rivers it causes disasters. Therefore be nature friendly and do not disturb the natural resources.

M Ahsan Khan Executive Director Rural Development Program KPK giving his input regarding the community perspective from his province said there are militants and security concerns in the area, where humanitarian organizations face difficulties during the emergency. He realized the fact that except Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum other organizations, working on disaster mitigation do not have rescue equipment and resources.

Karamat Ali, executive director PILER, tracing history said in fact rivers used to change direction after sometimes and we can see archaeological sites like Moen Jo Daro and others, which reveals the destruction.

“We are facing disasters presently because the human disrupt the nature. When humans block ways of the natural rivers in return for building irrigation systems we experience the destruction. This approach of development is main cause of these disasters,” he said.

They demanded to align district disaster management authorities (DDMA) with the National DRR Policy. Separate and sufficient budget allocation for the PDMAs& DDMAs should be ensured. The community, concerned authorities, media and other stakeholders should be educated properly on DRR, Emergency response, Humanitarian code of conducts and Accountability and quality protocols so as to make emergency response proper, transparent and accountable. National forest policy should be implemented in letter and spirit so as to put check on deforestation which contributes to Climate change and soil erosion and more than this it exacerbate the effects of Disasters. Coordination among affected community, Government and Intl Humanitarian Organizations should be increased in order to capitalize the available resources, infrastructure etc. to response emergency. Radio Pakistan and other FM station should broadcast special programs for fishermen and peasants as they do for arm forces and other sectors.

They said community is main stakeholder which has capacity to deal with natural phenomenon through generations with adopting indigenous strategies. Looking to this, they emphasized the need to take community people into confidence while designing strategy to cope with emergency, floods, drought and cyclone.

They demanded to have more budget allocation with re-prioritization to address resource constraints to meet rehabilitation needs.

All assistance from foreign donors and international financial institutions must be in grants or donations and not in loans because in the case of the latter the burden of economic hardships ultimately affects women the most. In consideration of the unprecedented flood crisis that has affected most parts of Pakistan and has severely affected agriculture and economy, the foreign governments and international financial institutions should also write-off their
previous loans to Pakistan.