Omar urges people to learn about preparedness to meet any disasters


October 8 to be observed as National Resilience Day

Zubair Qureshi

In a disaster-prone country like Pakistan it is essential for every citizen, young, old, women, children and students to get prepared and adopt the safe measures ahead of a catastrophe, natural or manmade. Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lt. Gen. Omar Mahmood Hayat, HI (M) raised this point at a National Disaster Awareness Day ceremony here in F-9 Park on Sunday. Each year on October 8, NDMA holds such awareness-generating seminars, walk and conferences to remember the martyrs of October 8, 2005 deadly earthquake and express solidarity with the affectees. The quake had claimed more than 80,000 lives while over 70,000 were injured while hundreds and thousands were affected. The day also serves to remind us that we need to learn how to get prepared in case of emergency or disaster. On October 8, this year too (yesterday), one such ceremony was organized in the environment–friendly settings of the Fatima Jinnah Park, popularly known as F-9 Park. Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz, a large number of diplomats, UN and Oxfam representatives also took part in the ceremony.
Lt Gen Omar Hayat while highlighting the significance of the day and need for preparedness said Pakistan was among those countries which are disaster (earthquake, floods and climatic changes) prone. Effects of climate change are manifest here in Pakistan where temperature continues to rise and duration of winter season is narrowing down.
He called upon the academia and public-private sector to play their role in generating climate change awareness in the people, particularly youth. On the occasion, Lt Gen Omar Hayat also announced to mark October 8 in future as “National Resilience Day.”
Chief Guest Sartaj Aziz also cautioned the nation against instant as well as ‘creeping’ disasters. After October 8 earthquake in 2005, we saw floods first in 2010 and then in 2011. Besides we are confronting challenge of water scarcity due to dry spell, climate changes and increase in population. NDMA, he said, in recent years has turned into a leading body guiding people in preparing against natural and man-made disasters. It can now meet the challenges and reduce the risk in case of natural disasters and one should appreciate the leadership of the NDMA for that.
Earlier, a walk was also held in the park to generate awareness on disasters and preparedness. On this occasion city branding and awareness through banners and pamphlets were also organized. A number of students and children from various schools of the capital city and workers and teams of CDA led by Chairman Sh Ansar Aziz also participated in the event.
A representative of the NDMA said resilient Pakistan was the major aim of NDMA and implementation of priority areas of NDMP would contribute to the resilience of the community at all level. She appreciated the contribution of Oxfam GB for building resilience of the community again frequent disasters.

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