President stresses effective strategy for disaster risk reduction

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Mamnoon commends NDMA’s preparedness to meet disasters

Zubair Qureshi

President Mamnoon Hussain on Monday stressed the need for an effective strategy in order to reduce disaster risk and called for quick disaster management in fire-related incidents to ensure safe living conditions for the people.
He said this while addressing the launching ceremony of Fire Safety Provisions – 2016 of Building Code of Pakistan here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. The event was jointly organized by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).
The president said natural and unforeseen disasters could occur anytime, however with safety measures and better enforcement, losses could be avoided or at least curtailed. It is a well-recognized international practice to have special arrangements to deal with all sorts of emergency situations including fire-related accidents at all public places including commercial and industrial units and residential areas, said the president. He said due to absence of uniform nature of safety provisions and approach towards unforeseen disasters had been rather reactive than pro-active.
Resultantly, he said, in recent times, there had been an increase in fire-related accidents at offices, industrial units and buildings where precious human lives were lost besides huge financial loss.
The president appreciated that National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) with cooperation of all other stakeholders had now developed a comprehensive legal framework which would certainly be useful in preventing and curtailing fire incidents. He said any law or code of conduct could not be effective and applicable unless it was developed according to local conditions, environment and available facilities. He noted with appreciation that local conditions had been taken care of in the new legislation which would hopefully guarantee its success. The president said it was a general observation that unforeseen accidents including fires generally occurred at such places and buildings which were relatively old, congested and frequented by people. He said it was necessary that a strategy should also be devised to protect old buildings from such accidents.
He said it was a basic responsibility of the government to ensure protection of lives and property of the people. He noted with appreciation that preparation of new fire safety provisions was a big achievement of the present government and hoped that their implementation would further safeguard our people and property. The president congratulated NDMA, PEC and all institutions and people who extended their intellectual and technical support in preparation of these provisions. Speaking on this occasion, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanveer Hussain said the new fire safety laws would be instrumental in protecting peoples’ lives and properties. Chairman NDMA Maj Gen Asghar Nawaz and Chairman PEC Engineer Jawed Salim Qureshi also addressed the ceremony.
Maj Gen Asghar Nawaz said launching of Fire Safety Provisions in the Building Codes of Pakistan was a significant achievement and important milestone achieved in the history of Pakistan which is a step forward towards achieving the objective of a Disaster Resilient Pakistan.
On this occasion, President Mamnoon Hussain was also presented a copy of Building Code of Pakistan Fire Safety Provisions-2016.
The president also gave away certificates of appreciation to Task Force Members of PEC for preparing fire safety provisions. Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jhagra was also present on this occasion.