Disaster management

IN its fifth meeting held on Wednesday, National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC) approved a number of measures in a bid to ensuring country’s better preparedness to deal with any disaster. These included Pakistan School Safety Framework that would serve as a model for all provinces to ensure safety and disaster risk management for schools, formulation of a cohesive disaster management legislation and institutional framework, compensation to affected people and above all creation of a model National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) at the Federal Capital level as a pilot project.
These measures are reflective of the desire and vision of NDMA to effectively fulfil the responsibilities for which it was created. As pointed out by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who chaired the meeting, that climate change in addition to various contributing factors has resulted in a higher frequency of disasters requiring higher level of preparedness and institutional response. It is satisfying that NDMA under its dynamic Chairman Lt Gen Omar Mahmood Hayat is alive to the ground realities as it has a detailed plan in place for risk management and prompt provision of relief. The most important aspect of the strategy is setting up of NDRF with specific task of ensuring effective response in case of national emergencies. It is understood that in view of the financial constraints of the country, a dedicated and separate force cannot be set up and maintained and that is why it would consist human resource of the organisations dealing with disaster and relief management. We hope that this force would be capable and smart enough to be able to respond to such situations without delay. For this to happen it will have to be properly trained, equipped and an elaborate SOP evolved to avoid any confusion or lethargic attitude on part of the force. After success of the pilot project at federal level, similar forces should be set up in provinces beginning with their capitals and with the passage of time and availability of resources these should be set up down to district level. It would also be appropriate if all rescue and relief agencies and departments are placed under the administrative command of NDMA, if not permanently then at least during emergencies to ensure better coordination.

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