Integrated response to disasters

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PRESIDENT Dr Arif Alvi has called for developing an integrated network to effectively respond to the victims of national disasters and help prevent various diseases.

Chairing a meeting of the managing body of Pakistan Red Crescent Society in Islamabad on Friday, he emphasized the need to train students, at school and college levels, in administering first aid during incidents and natural calamities.

According to a study, Pakistan is among the 10 countries whose population is acutely exposed to natural disasters largely because of poor governance, corruption, weak infrastructure and an inability to effectively implement policies to reduce risk.

In the last few decades, Pakistan has faced natural hazards such as flooding, earthquakes and landslides that have escalated into humanitarian disasters, with the loss of lives, homes and livelihoods.

Massive floods and severe earthquakes prompted the authorities to establish National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which together with PDAs, has tried its level best to cope with the situation arising out of natural disasters but it is understood that it is beyond its capacity and resources to meet expectations with respect to relief and rehabilitation.

Experts say that a community’s ability to prepare for and cope with natural hazards can prevent disasters and save lives.

But an unprepared community is unable to cope, resulting in massive loss of life and the undermining of decades of social and economic progress.

In this backdrop, the President’s call for an integrated network to respond to the situation created by national disasters is the need of the hour.

The energetic students can surely act as an informal volunteers’ force provided they are imparted necessary training by the institutions concerned not just in first aid but also other aspects of rescue and relief.

Such training should be made part of the formal studies at different levels so that we have a nation-wide force of well-trained volunteers ready to act in case of any emergency in any part of the country.

 

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