Chairman National disaster management authority (NDMA), Lieutenant General Omar Mahmood Hayat stated that Pakistan greatly appreciates the goodwill gestures of assistance extended from our friendly neighbours and foreign countries during past disasters.
Speaking at the launching ceremony of “Host Nation Support Guideline for Foreign Assistance to Pakistan during Disasters” here he further said that foreign assistance was of great value, but it also increased the level of coordination for the host country.
While emphasising the importance for contextual understanding of local needs by foreign responders, he observed that the “Host Nation Support Guidelines for Foreign Assistance to Pakistan during Disasters” would ensure a clear understanding of the rules, responsibilities and processes for all stakeholders, both national and international. “Ensuring a common operating picture was vital to avoid delays and wasteful duplication of effort”, he added.
Lt. Gen Omar reiterated that NDMA will continue to work with all stakeholders to build the capacities necessary for best utilisation of relief assistance provided by foreign countries. Experiences of two of the largest disasters to affect Pakistan in recent past – the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake and the 2010 Super Floods in addition to multitude of smaller scale disasters – have highlighted the need for understanding the complexities of large scale logistics, planning and coordination efforts required for managing foreign assistance in disaster situations.
To bridge this gap, NDMA with the support of the Australian High Commission in Islamabad, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, and a team of locally-based consultants, developed the Host Nation Support Guidelines for Pakistan.
Member (Operation), NDMA, Brigadier Mukhtar Ahmed, highlighted the need of such national level guidelines for effective coordination and efficient distribution of resources among the disaster victims. He also dilated upon the complex and complicated process involved in the development of this document. He informed that input from all relevant stakeholders, government departments and development partners were duly sought and incorporated into this document.