"News is that which comes from the North, East, West and South, and if it comes from only one point on the compass, then it is a class ; publication and not news."

 

29th December 2010

NDMA Gets a Nod from USAID

Islamabad:

A high level USAID mission headed by Director USAID, Dr. Andrew Sisson visited NDMA Headquarters; Chairman NDMA Gen (R) Nadeem Ahmad briefed the delegation about various NDMA initiatives, their funding requirements and the future financial pre-requisites of NDMA. Director USAID highly appreciated the efforts of NDMA in dealing with various disaster situations in the country. Dr. Sisson reassured that USAID will extend every possible help in all NDMA initiatives. Chairman NDMA Gen (R) Nadeem Ahmad thanked the USAID mission for its longstanding as well as far reaching assistance.


23rd December 2010

Students of GC University Lahore visit NDMA Headquarters

Islamabad:

A group of 35 students of B.SC. (Hons) Environmental Science of Government College University Lahore, accompanied by 5 faculty members visited National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), here today.

The Member Operations NDMA, Brig Sajid Naeem briefed the students about the necessary steps taken and measures adopted by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), to facilitate an effective relief, rescue and rehabilitation initiatives regarding recent floods in the country.

He also apprised the students and the faculty members about the practical working mechanism at National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), to negotiate and meet the natural environmental challenges within the country.

The students showed keen interest and inquire about various queries.

At the end of their visit, the faculty members of Government College University Lahore expressed gratitude for an effective liasion and cooperation by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) hierarchy and also for arranging a valuable and extremely informative study tour of an important national institution.

They also highly appreciated role of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in formulation of policies and handling of challenges posed by various environmental conditions in the country.

12th November 2010

Senate passes National Disaster Management Bill, 2010

Islamabad:

The Senate on Thursday passed the National Disaster Management Bill, 2010 to provide for the establishment of a National Disaster Management System for Pakistan. The Bill passed by the National Assembly was moved by the Advisor to the Prime Minister Nawabzada Ghazanfar Gul.

In its statement of object and reasons, the Bill stated that the need for strong institutional and policy arrangement was fulfilled with the promulgation of the National Disaster Management Ordinance, 2006, after passage of resolution by all the four provinces under Article 144 of the Constitution. The promulgation of the ordinance led to the consequential establishment of the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC) and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Likewise, establishment of the commissions and authorities at provincial as well as district level has been notified. The bill passed by the Senate will now be called National Disaster Management Act 2010 and extend to the whole of Pakistan.

13th August 2010

Clarification By NDMA On Distribution of Relief Goods to the Provinces

Islamabad:

Apropos a news item appearing in a section of the Press, wherein the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has accused the National Disaster Management Authority of dispatching a lion's share of relief goods donated by different countries and charity organizations to Multan and Sukkur. The Authority would like to clarify the actual position for the readers based on the factsheet below, wherein details of each item sent to all parts of Pakistan is mentioned.

Items

Balochistan

KPK

Punjab

AJ&K

Sindh

GB

Total

Tents

7750

44966

22811

1000

16606

1920

95053

Blankets

7500

18200

32446

2400

4130

7000

71676

Jackets

0

3167

166

1000

166

500

4999

Plastic Mats

17400

10000

18000 +
14 Rolls

2000

18500 +
10 Rolls

2035

67935 +
24 Rolls

Ration Packs

15000

17000

40588

6000

31446

8000

118034

Misc Food Items (Tons)

0

12

29.8

0

12

0

53.8

Generators

4

19

20

2

20

0

65

Kitchen Sets

6350

6975

325

0

290

0

13940

Emergency Medicine Kits

0

17

24

0

18

0

59

Cholera Kits

0

0

149

0

0

0

149

De-Watering Pumps

0

29

20

20

0

0

69

Hygiene Kits

4000

254

53

0

213

0

4520

Jerry Cans

5000

1900

4900

0

3200

0

15000

Water Tanks

35

13

19

0

13

0

80

Mosquito Nets

600

750

650

0

1500

0

3500

Emergency Drinking
Water Kits

0

0

1540

0

750

0

2290

Towels

0

0

1580

0

750

0

2330

Soap

0

0

1620

0

750

0

2370

Buckets

0

1521

0

0

70

0

1591

Water Purification Plant

0

13

15

0

13

0

41

Medicines (Tons)

0

11

36.4

0

16.84

0

64.24

MREs

0

390,000

24000

12000

12000

0

438000

Dates (Tons)

0

0

15

0

0

0

15

Water Bottles

0

300

672

0

300

0

1272

Atta /Flour (Bags)

0

650

1000

0

650

0

2300

Clothes

0

1700

1900

0

1900

0

5500

Tarpaulin

0

1600

4956

0

0

0

6556

Kerosene Stoves

0

470

160

0

470

0

1100

Food Bags

0

437

0

0

0

0

437

Foam Beds

0

24

0

0

0

0

24

Squatting Plates

0

650

0

0

0

0

650

Torch Lights

0

1608

1500

0

1500

0

4608


In addition to the above, the detail of flights loaded with relief items which landed directly at Peshawar Airport is given in the table as below to verify the distribution of the relief items. The NDMA followed with a formula of 50% to KP, 25% each to Punjab and Sindh province in the initial phase which has now been revised as 30% to provinces of KPK, Punjab and Sindh each, while the rest of 10% will be distributed among Balochistan, FATA, GB and AJ&K. The percentage of relief items share is regularly reviewed and revised on the basis of severity of the disaster situation/population affected and needs of each province/administrative unit.

Relief Flights received directly by Provinces)

Sr. No.

Items

Saudi Arabia

USAID

Tunisia

Total

Peshawar

Multan

Quetta

Peshawar

Quetta

Karachi

1

Tents

282

 

168

 

 

 

450

2

Blankets

360

 

300

 

 

1000

1660

3

Carpets

150

 

 

 

 

 

150

4

Medicines (Cartons)

285

 

10.5

 

 

100

295.5

5

Biscuits (Cartons)

38

 

 

 

 

1 Ton

38

6

Zodiac Boats

 

 

 

9

 

 

9

7

Water Filtration Plants

 

 

 

3

 

 

3

8

Water Bladder Kits

 

 

 

5

 

 

5

9

Saw Kits

 

 

 

12

 

 

12

10

Plastic Sheets    

 

 

 

248

 

 

 

248

11

Food Packets

 

384

556

 

 

 

940

12

Mattresses

 

 

 

 

 

1500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


































Regarding statement/accusations of Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Information Minister of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, regarding the response of the Federal government/NDMA to the crisis, especially for provision of helicopters and boats, it is to clarify that soon after the onset of floods, the Prime Minister along with Chairman NDMA, visited the flood affected areas of KPK to assess the needs of the KPK government. They immediately mobilized all their resources and dispatched some 24 helicopters and 150 boats from various parts of the country for rescuing the stranded people in Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda and Swat, along with delivery of relief goods, including tents and foods items.

7th August 2010

Japan's Assistance For Flood Affectees Handed Over To Chairman NDMA

Islamabad:

Relief goods sent by the Government of Japan for the people affected by recent devastating floods in Pakistan have arrived at Islamabad International Airport. The first consignment of cargo plane carrying tents, water purifiers and water tanks landed last night.

The Japanese Ambassador Mr. Chihiro Atsumi visited the Operation Room set up by the National Disaster Management Authority at the Prime Minnister's Secretariat, Islamabad on Saturday. He was welcomed and briefed by the Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Nadeem Ahmad, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA) on the on going devastating floodings as well as the relief efforts undertaken so far. Briefing the Ambassador of Japan, Chairman NDMA said that the current floods have affected huge population in all parts of the country and the volume of its destruction was bigger than the earthquake of 2005 besides being the worst flood since 1929.

Mr. Chihiro Atsumi handed over emergency relief goods worth US$ 230,000 to Chairman NDMA. He said that considering the friendly relationship between the two countries and the scale of the flood disaster, the Government of Japan has provided 150 tents, 67 dewatering plants, 25 water purifiers and 20 water tanks on humanitarian grounds for the flood affectess in Pakistan. In addition to these relief goods, an emergency grant assistance upto US$ 3 million for the provision of food and water in the flood affected areas has also been extended by the Government of Japan. He said that Japan wishes these relief goods to be delivered to the flood victims as soon as possible. He hoped that this assistance will contribute in supporting the affected people and helping the ongoing relief efforts of the government of Pakistan.

Lt. Gen. ® Nadeem Ahmad thanked the Japanese Ambassador for his friendly gesture to personally visit the NDMA and extending support to the flood affectees in Pakistan. He said that the people of Japan have always extended assistance to Pakistan in hour of need. He also lauded the role played by the Government of Japan through JICA and other development initiatives undertaken by them in Pakistan,

3rd August 2010

Rescue and relief operation in flood-hit areas continues as NDMA chief briefs PM

Islamabad:

As the rescue and relief operation in the flood affected areas of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces continued on Tuesday, the Prime Minister was briefed about the ongoing relief operations by the Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lt. General (retd) Nadeem Ahmed.The Prime Minister was informed that the NDMA in collaboration with all the relevant federal ministries and organisations including the armed forces, was reaching out to the affected population despite broken roads and rough weather.

The Chairman NDMA told that 35 helicopters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 10 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan and 15 in Punjab were constantly flying to rescue people stranded in flood water, as well as in distribution of provisions including food (ready to eat) and medicines to the displaced persons. The entire helicopter fleet of Pakistan Navy is on stand-by position for any eventuality in Sindh where flood water has started reaching, he mentioned.

Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf briefed the Prime Minister on the operation of major dams and barrages in the country. He also apprised him of the damage to the power infrastructure due to heavy rains and floods. Earlier Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani could not land in Mianwali on Tuesday afternoon and had to return back to the capital because of approaching rough weather system of thick clouds and gusty winds. The Prime Minister was scheduled to visit and meet the flood affected people in Mianwali but the helicopter had to turn back a few miles away from the destination.

The Prime Minister also had to cancel his visit to the flood affected areas of Swat and Malakand because of bad weather. In Karachi Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah held a video-conferencing meeting with Administrators/ D.C.Os of Sukkur, Shikarpur, Ghotki and Kashmore districts regarding flood situation there, at the conference room of the CM House. He inquired from them about latest position of discharge of water at various barrages of Sindh.The Chief Minister directed to immediately shift the people from 'Katcha' areas to safer places; relief and medical camps be properly looked after and supply of food to affected people be ensured.

The Chief Minister Sindh said that government is striving for ensuring prompt preventing and precautionary measures. Meanwhile, various international organizations have started providing health services to the victims in the areas badly affected by catastrophic floods in Punjab and Khyber-Pakthunkhwa. Such additional support was urgently required from donors in order to mounting the emergency response to flood victims particularly when many concerned government departments have yet to make any plan to alleviate their sufferings.

According to details, international agency Oxfam has launched a rapid relief effort to reach almost 400,000 people with clean water, sanitation kits and hygiene supplies. The agency is trucking water and installing tanks to help prevent the spread of water-borne diseases amongst the estimated one million affected people.

Oxfam is appealing for $6 million to help people get through the turmoil and to boost recovery over the long-term. The agency is also planning to provide hygiene kits to help people who have lost everything in the floods, as well cooked food and cash for work.

Pakistan Army in flood relief and rescue operations has so far rescued over 54,000 stranded people have so far been rescued during the last five days, a spokesman of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. The flood victims were rescued from Multan, Muzaffargarh, Kot Addhu, Nawshera, Swat, Kalam, Liyyah, Rahimyar Khan and DI Khan, Gilgit, Pattan, Dasu and Mansehra areas.Some 40 helicopters and 450 army boats are participating in the continuing rescue activities in the wide spread areas of the country.

On Tuesday, Pakistan Army troops rescued 4,000 people in Muzaffargarh,3,000 in Kot Addhu and 5,000 in Liyyah. While 15 members of a family, who gave an SOS call after midnight, were rescued following a special helicopter operation in Kot Addhu. In Sindh, troops have been deployed at Kandkot, Guddu Barrage, Qadirpur Loop Bund, Nowshero Feroze, Larkana, Dadu, Thatta and Sukkur Barrage.

At Qadirpur loopband troops beside strengthening the bund also evacuated 500 people to safer places. For the last four days, 350 tons out of its own quota of ration have been distributed by Army among the flood affectees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Punjab.

The Army engineers are busy in opening roads and making diversions to facilitate the flow of traffic. Pakistan Army doctors and paramedical staff are providing necessary medical assistance to the patients. In the areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit and Sindh which have been struck by unprecedented floods, Pakistan Army rescue teams started rescue and relief activities. In Charsadda, Mansehra, Nowshera, Swat, Tank, Lakki Marwat and FATA the army teams are busy in relief and rescue work by utilizing its all resources. Pakistan Navy has launched search and rescue operation 'Madad' in Ghotki, Sukkur, Kashmore and its adjoining areas. A Pakistan Navy press release issued here said that a command and control centre has been established at Sukkur to provide speedy assistance to affected people.

As many as 23 Search and Rescue (SAR) boats along with diving teams have been deployed to meet eventualities. The equipment and men have been transported from Karachi to assist the local administration in relief efforts.

29th July 2010

Air Blue Crash Update

Islamabad:

On 28th July, at about 0945 hrs Air Blue Flight ED-202 (Air Bus A-320) operating from Karachi to Islamabad with 152 persons onboard crashed into Margalla hills near Daman-e-koh. An immediate rescue and search operation by the Army, Navy, Rescue 1122, CDA Urban Search and Rescue Team, Ministry of Health Team (including eight Surgeons and four Orthopaedic Surgeons), Capital Police and other government agencies/volunteers was initiated. An Army Aviation helicopter reached the crash sight immediately after the incident. Chairman, NDMA also had aerial reconnaissance of the crash site to look for the possibility of any survivors and for directing/guiding the ground rescue effort. The possibility of any survivors was bleak in view of the force of impact which had resulted in total disintegration of fuselage of the aircraft, strewn across a steep Margalla slope. Notwithstanding the force of impact, concerted efforts continued to locate and evacuate any survivors. Simultaneously, Army Authorities were requested for availability of additional helicopters (1 x MI-17, Lama and Alloeutte each) for recovery of dead bodies as it was not possible to move dead bodies on ground due to the difficult nature of terrain. After deliberate coordination, arrangements were made for recovery of dead bodies from the crash site through sling operation by helicopters. The Army Aviation pilots worked professionally under challenging flying conditions and were able to recover 128 dead bodies which were shifted to PIMS by last night. The physical combing of crash site to search remaining dead bodies has resumed on 29th July morning, as per the last reports, few body parts have been collected so far. The search shall continue till complete physical combing of the entire crash site to recover remaining dead bodies. A CAA Technical Team has also reached the site to search for aircraft Flight Data Recorder (Black Box) and collect relevant evidence.

At PIMS, the dead bodies were documented and through a process of identification 62 dead bodies have been identified so far. Out of these 58 bodies have been handed over to the respective family members. The remaining unidentified bodies have been shifted to a Cold Storage at Sector-I/10 and DNA Tests are in progress to establish their identities.

23rd July 2010

Flood Situation in Balochistan

Islamabad:

Based upon PMD Forecast for widespread rains during the period from 20th - 22nd July, the NDMA issued a Weather Advisory to all concerned forewarning them against likely possibility of inundation in low lying areas on 20th July. Heavy rains in various parts of Balochistan during the night of 21st and 22nd July have affected tehsils Kohlu, Barkhan, Duki and Dera Murad Jamali.

As per the preliminary reports received from PDMA, Balochistan and Military authorities, following damages have been reported so far:

  1. Number of kiliis / villages badly affected by the flood are:-
    1. Tehsil Kohlu   -   8
    2. Tehsil Barkhan   -   3
    3. Tehsil Sibi   -   2
  2. Death toll is as under:-
    1. Barkhan   -   15
    2. Sibi   -   2
  1. Relief activities:-
    1. The NDMA has released 1200 tents, 800 blankets and 2400 plastic mats which are being collected by PDMA authorities from Quetta Warehouse.
    2. On request from NDMA, PRCS has mobilised its teams in the affected areas and shall cater for the food / health care requirements of the affected population (approximately 15,000) for the next 3 months.
    3. Apart from moving a company-size force on ground, along with four medical teams, 3 military helicopters carrying 1.25 tons of relief goods have moved (today) to the affected areas for recovery and relief operations.
    4. The Army has provided 9 tons of relief goods, whereas the civilian administration has also moved 6-8 trucks carrying relief items to the affected areas.
    5. The Army troops provided food items to the population of the affected areas on the night of 22nd - 23rd July, 2010 and the same will be done today as well.

The NDMA is in close coordination with the concerned agencies and monitoring the situation closely. The exact detail of losses is being ascertained through the provincial authorities. Chairman NDMA, Lt. Gen. (R) Nadeem Ahmed is also visiting the affected areas on 24th July, 2010.

15th July 2010

Disaster Response training held for communities in Chitral

Islamabad:

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in collaboration with the UNDP, organized a three- day capacity building training on "Disaster Response", from 12-15 July, 2010, for the TMAs and CBOs staff in Chitral District. The training focused on providing basic skills and knowledge in responding to local disasters in an organized and effective manner so as to saving lives and minimizing the disaster impacts. Around 40 participants from different government departments, members of the civil society and volunteers attended the training.

The training was formally launched by handing over of "Basic Search and Rescue equipment" to TMA, Chitral. Mr. Arshad Nawaz Cheenna, Deputy Director (M&P) NDMA and Mr. Qadir Naseer, Administrator, TMA Chitral, along with the ERRP team, were present at the occasion. Speakers at the workshop urged the need for capacity building of the communities, as well as government functionaries. They strongly felt that it was mandatory for responding effectively in wake of unforeseen disasters in order to savings lives and properties of the masses.

The training imparted skills to the participants on Casualty Handling & Evacuation Techniques, Search & Rescue Team mobilization & Response, Basic Rescue Knots, Triage System, First Aid and the Role of First Aider and Introduction to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). A demonstration of the search and rescue scenario was conducted at the conclusion of the training to exhibit the skills of the participants. This was also witnessed by Prince Mohiyyudin, MNA Chitral, Ms. Rabia Khattak, Assistant Country, Director UNDP and other notables from the Chitral municipality.

Prince Mohiyyudin, in his concluding remarks, said that the need to prepare the communities and the government of Chitral to face unforeseen disasters was mandatory, keeping in mind the recent lack of response during the recent flash floods which caused 12 deaths and injured 10 persons, besides badly damaging the Uchosht village in Chitral. He distributed certificates amongst the participants and thanked the NDMA and UNDP for imparting the training. He hoped that it would help build the capacities of the local authorities to effectively cope with the any future disasters in Chitral District.

It may be mentioned here that the NDMA and UNDP is jointly working to implement an "Earthquake Risk Reduction and Preparedness Programme" (ERRP) in the Municipalities of Murree, Chitral, Quetta, Mansehra and Muzaffarabad. The project aims to promote and achieve earthquake resilience in most vulnerable locations by conducting detailed earthquake risk assessment. The risk assessment is followed by action planning for earthquake risk mitigation, awareness raising, capacity building of local administration and members of civil society and by implementing pilot demonstrational activities on safer construction practices. Capacity development of local government authorities and institutions is the main priority under this project.

14th July 2010

Workshop on Disaster Reporting concludes

Islamabad:

For better understanding of the disaster mitigation, response, early recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction process, there is a dire need to improve the capacities of the journalists in identifying key challenges while reporting disaster stories.

A three-day training workshop on 'Disaster Reporting' was organized by the National Disaster Management Authority, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program, at a local hotel in Islamabad. The main objective of the training course was to enhance the reporting capacities of journalists by imparting essential disaster reporting skills and techniques to 26 participants from the electronic and print media, representing 26 districts of the four provinces, FATA and the AJK region.

Inaugurating the event, Mr. Niamatullah Khan, Senior Member, NDMA said that the journalists are the eyes and ears of the society, in other words they play a role of watchdogs on every segment of the society. . He further said the main aim of journalism is to provide accurate and reliable information to the target population. Therefore, they should be very careful in gathering their reports, based on accuracy and facts.

Risk communication was a major source for disaster managers for getting necessary information on better preparedness and timely response, he said. Empowerment of hazard-prone communities to hold public and private entities accountable is the linchpin of sustainable disaster risk management. He hoped that the training would build the capacity of the journalists to report disaster stories in a better way in their future course of duty.

During the interactive workshop speakers and experts from the media gave comprehensive lectures on duties and responsibilities of journalists for making the country disaster resilient. The participants also shared their views, experiences and problems faced by them while reporting disaster stories which the experts responded to effectively.

Mr Toshi Tanaka, Country Director, UNDP chaired the concluding session of the workshop. He said that the UNDP is implementing a two-year project under One-UN DRM Joint Programme in Pakistan, in collaboration with the NDMA, which seeks to strengthen the national disaster risk management system through policy-level inputs, research, capacity building, and community based initiatives. One of the activities includes imparting training on disaster reporting to correspondents of the print and electronic media stationed in vulnerable districts across Pakistan. Highlighting the role of media in the wake of any disaster, he said that timely and credible information plays a pivotal role for an informed response, early recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and long-term mitigation measures. He added that, although many humanitarian agencies and public sector departments continue providing a variety of information to various stakeholders, but it carries a potential risk of being less objective and a little biased which may result in misleading the whole process. It is in this context that the role of media in disaster risk management has been argued over the last two decades the world over. He distributed certificates to the participants and thanked them as well as the guests for attending the workshop.

7th July 2010

Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER) builds disaster response capacity in Pakistan

Islamabad:

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), hosted a gathering of International organizations, Government Departments, Civil Society Organizations, NGOs, Emergency Services and other agencies working in Disaster Preparedness and Management at the Prime Minister's Secretariat, Islamabad. This was an opportunity to share experience from Pakistan and plan for better management of future disasters.

The meeting was the launch event for a new phase in the Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER); an Asia-wide regional program, operational in nine countries and funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with supplemental support from American Red Cross (ARC).

The PEER Program has been operational in Pakistan since 2007, with NDMA support, providing trainings to enhance the capacity of professional disaster responders for Medical First Response and Collapsed Structure Search & Rescue, and Hospital Preparedness for Emergencies (HOPE). For this new phase of PEER, operational until 2014, in addition to the three on going courses a new training course will be rolled out, to supplement the significant capacity building and trainings already being implemented by the NDMA and other organizations in Pakistan.

The new course is the Community Action for Disaster Response (CADRE), which will consolidate and enhance community level response capabilities, so that communities are enabled to support themselves, and increase survival rates in the event of any disaster or hazard.

The PEER program in Pakistan received support and endorsement from Ministers, Officials and representatives from NDMA, and other keynote speakers. While welcoming guests from USAID-OFDA, ADPC, NSET and other organizations, Lt. Gen. (R) Nadeem Ahmed, Chairman NDMA said "The PEER program is of crucial importance to Pakistan. The NDMA is working proactively with programs like PEER to better prepare ourselves for any disaster. We still need to enhance all levels of preparedness, especially in communities. We also need to work on more collaboration amongst different Disaster Preparedness and Response agencies to make the Disaster Preparedness system more robust."

Representatives from the two PEER implementing organizations - Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) and National Society for Earthquake Technology, Nepal - working in partnership on PEER with the support of the NDMA - also introduced PEER. Mr. Amod Dixit, Director of NSET said: "We work to optimize the effect of PEER and promote collaboration, building a stronger and more sustainable PEER Program." Mr. NMSE Arambepola, Director, ADPC, assured that the ADPC is committed to promoting disaster preparedness in Pakistan. He also commented that Pakistan had important experiences in disaster management to share with the Asia region.

Mr. William Berger, Senior Regional Advisor, USAID-OFDA stated that it was a privilege to work with valued partners in Pakistan by supporting the building of capacity in disaster response. PEER uses best practice learning methodologies, with the highest standards of training and instructor development. PEER fits well into the big picture of Disaster Management in Pakistan, built on the experience of disasters here, and the experience of other regional organizations under the umbrella of NDMA's preparedness plan.

1st July 2010

First meeting of working group on "Compendium of Indigenous Housing" held

Islamabad:

Past experiences of disasters in the country, like the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and Kashmir and the 2008 earthquake in Balochistan caused colossal losses to buildings. This has recognized an urgent need for shelters. Due to the diverse landscapes, and geographical conditions in Pakistan, there are a variety of traditional construction techniques consisting of heavy thick stone walls in Chitral, mud construction in the Indus Valley and bamboo framed fishermen's houses on the southern coasts.

In order to discuss that local knowledge "a traditional wisdom" is captured and accessible and local typologies are documented in a consistent and technically adequate manner, as well as identifying existing resources for training and information or gaps requiring further research and development, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in collaboration with UN HABITAT, organized the first meeting of a Working Group titled "Compendium of Indigenous Housing" at NIDM, Islamabad.

Mr Niamatullah Khan, Senior Member, NDMA chaired the meeting. Mr Sarosh Lodhi, Professor, NED Karachi, Mr Qaisar Ali, UET Peshawar, Mr Salman Beg, AKCSP, Ms Yasmin Lahri, Heritage Foundation, Ms Shama Usman, PCATP and representatives from UN Agencies and research institutions participated in the meeting.

Mr. Niamatullah Khan, in his opening remarks, hoped that through this initiative the best local practices in housing construction will be compiled and promoted as affordable and low cost risk reduction and mitigation measures. He further added that during the SAARC workshop on Earthquake Risk Management in South Asia, held in Islamabad in October, 2009 under the banner of NDMA, the issues of compendium of building typologies and indigenous technology were confirmed as regional priorities for risk mitigation.

During the meeting experts from various organizations gave presentations on assessment of building vulnerability, analysis of Dhajji /stone masonry, documenting the traditional techniques in northern areas and Indigenous construction practices of hazard-prone areas of Pakistan. The meeting recommended making the data available on the website so the people can access pictures and technical information on housing construction from any part of the country.

28th June 2010

4th Pre-Monsoon Annual Coordination meeting held at the Prime Minister's Secretariat

Islamabad:

Monsoon floods are the most regular hydro meteorological hazard that happen every year in Pakistan. With global warming, the intensity of these floods, as well as timings, is undergoing great variations and uncertainties. Therefore to safeguard the lives and properties of the people it is essential to take precautionary measures to handle it efficiently.

The National Disaster Management Authority, being the focal agency of the federal government, has been convening coordination meetings with all the stakeholders on an annual basis since 2007. The 4th meeting of this series was held at the National Disaster Management Authority on 28th June, 2010. The purpose of holding of holding of these meetings is to carry out an assessment of pre-monsoon preparedness, response and recovery capacity of the federal and provincial departments and also provide a forum to the stakeholders for sharing their experiences with each other so that the best practices can be replicated in different parts of the country for benefit of the people particularly the communities at risk.

While opening the meeting, Chairman NDMA, Lt. Gen. (R) Nadeem Ahmad welcomed the participants and explained the purpose of the meeting i.e. to identify the gaps and weaknesses in the existing arrangements and to suggest corrective measures thereof to deal with any monsoon related emergency situation. He gave a brief account of the NDMA experience in dealing with disasters, including floods, with the assistance of line partners. He particularly appreciated the role of PDMA Sindh and Balochistan and the relevant response agencies in dealing with the recent Phet cyclone that hit the coastal areas of Pakistan. He further asked the stakeholders to expedite the approval and funding arrangements for the long pending projects like the Shahdara Bridge and Pat Feeder Canal. At the end of his opening speech, the Chairman assured all the stakeholders full cooperation and technical assistance from the NDMA for bringing about a desired change and improvement in the existing system.

After the opening remarks by the Chair, the representative of Pakistan Meteorological Department informed that this year's monsoon will be slightly higher than the previous year and it will start within the next 10 days in some parts of the country. He assured all the stakeholders that the PMD will provide necessary forecasting well in time.

The Engineering Directorate representative in his presentation assured the participants that relevant army formation/necessary assistance to civil departments will be provided in case of any flood situation. Representative of the Federal Flood Commission in his briefing informed that a number of remedial measures have been taken by the FFC, including formation of a Flood Coordination Cell, arrangement for provision of daily flood situation report, instructions to relevant authorities for removal of encroachments at the waterways etc. in case of floods. The representative from WAPDA, in his presentation, assured that there will be no threat to Tarbela Dam in case more water comes as a result of glacier melt and additional water from the Hunza Lake.

The representative from the Ministry of Health informed that the center of Health Emergency and Preparedness and Response (HEPR) has been established at PIMS and stockpile of medicines for water-borne diseases have been improved. Beside this, the sufficient quantity of snake venom has been dispatched to concerned stations to deal with snake bite cases.

The Provincial Irrigation Departments of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa informed that relevant staff of the Irrigation Departments is well-trained and capable to deal with any flood-like situations. However, they expressed apathy over financial constraints for effective implementation of such initiatives at the provincial level. The representatives of PDMAs, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan shared the details of the actions taken in advance for dealing with any untoward situation in the forthcoming Monsoon season.

During the concluding session, the Chairman, NDMA appreciated the deep interest shown by the participants in the proceedings of the conference and the quality of their presentations on the respective subject. He further stated that the over-all objective of the conference was achieved as it will assist the local authorities in terms of allocation of resources and disaster preparedness to deal with any emergency situation during the forthcoming monsoon season. He further emphasized close coordination between all stakeholders to make an efficient and timely response to disasters.

24th June 2010

District Disaster Management critical for effective Disaster Mitigation and Response

Lahore:

District Disaster Management Authorities are the linchpin of the new disaster management system in the country as demonstrated by the effective measures taken in districts affected by the recent Cyclone Phet. This was highlighted at a two-day workshop organized by the United Nations in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority of Punjab.

Under the "ONE UN" joint programme on Disaster Risk Management, the emphasis is placed on building institutional capacities of districts and communities in 12 hazard prone districts throughout Pakistan. These districts will serve as model to more effectively manage hazards which would be replicated in other 50 disaster prone districts in the country.

The workshop reviewed experiences of 12 model districts prone to natural disasters including the response to Cyclone Phet and Attabad landslide disaster. The participants discussed thematic issues such as: Institutional Mechanisms; Capacity Building; Disaster Risk Management Planning; Community Based Disaster Risk Management; and Financial Mechanisms. The workshop concluded with 12 model districts developing Disaster Risk Management Action Plans.

Mr. Ikhlaq Ahmed Tarar, Senior Member Board of Revenue, Government of the Punjab was the chief guest on the occasion. Mr. Wolfgang Herbinger, Country Representative of World Food Programme (WFP) in Pakistan and Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka, Country Director of United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), Mr. Amir Mohyuddin, Director Mitigation and Preparedness , National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Mr. Shaukat N. Tahir, Former Senior Member NDMA, District Coordination Officers from 12 model districts, representatives from United Nations agencies, NGOs and government officials from Punjab participated in the workshop.

Wolfgang Herbinger, WFP Representative while welcoming the participants said, "Natural as well as man-made disasters are growing all over the world including Pakistan. Timely preparedness, mitigation and response could effectively help in reducing the impacts both on humans as well as physical and economic losses." "I am sure the deliberations in these two days will reflect the needs of districts and we assure UN commitment to support priority joint interventions in the disaster prone districts during 2010-11," he added.

Amir Mohyuddin, Director Mitigation and Preparedness, NDMA deliberated upon the pre-2005 earthquake scenario. He brought attention of the participants to the disaster management arrangements before the creation of NDMA He said that all Ordinances and Acts were post disaster response, however, the 2005 earthquake was a trigger where Government of Pakistan adopted a comprehensive approach of managing all phases of disasters including prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response/relief and reconstruction and rehabilitation. He said that the National Disaster Management Framework is an overarching document which is based upon not only domestic requirements, but also international commitments. The framework identifies nine priority areas, such as establishment of institutions and legal arrangements, conduct national hazard and vulnerability assessment, promote training, education and awareness, promote disaster risk reduction, establish multi-hazard early warning system, mainstream DRR into development process, role of media, private sector, etc.

In his key note address, the Senior Member Board of Revenue, Government of Punjab, Mr. Ikhlaq Ahmad Tarar said that we need to have professional arrangements at the federal and at the provincial level which should ensure that the risk assessments are carried out, we prepare our plans according to risk assessments, the 2005 earthquake was an eye opener for everyone. We had been dealing with floods, disasters in Cholistan and lately we had been managing disaster like virus that infested cotton crops in Punjab. We did not have a professional institutional mechanism in place, which NDMA has taken up the responsibility. On behalf of the Punjab government, we are appreciative of these efforts, assistance and guidance in the provinces and districts. This is the best way to do things.

District Coordination Officers from the 12 Model districts were invited to share their successful experience through the planned interventions, lessons learned and exchange information on best practices that the districts adopted during any recent disaster. The model districts include Badin, Thatta, Dadu and Tharparkar in Sindh, Quetta and Gwadar in Balochistan, Haripur and Nowshera in KP, Sialkot, Jhang, Bhakkar, Rajanpur in Punjab and Gilgit in Gilgit-Baltistan province. During the presentations, it was encouraging that more DDMAs are now functional and started work on strengthening of DRM activities at District and community levels.

The Country Director, UNDP, Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka said "recent Cyclone Phet experiences demonstrated the invaluable evidences of importance of disaster preparedness and mitigation measures implemented by DDMAs and partners. The people of Gwadar were well organized when they were asked to evacuate. All families had essential documents and identity cards with them. The loss of human lives and assets were minimized as compared to earlier disasters. We were able to make a difference in the lives of people because of effective disaster risk management."

As the co-chairs of UN DRM programme, Wolfgang and Toshihiro concluded that the DDMAs workshop was very successful and productive, and the UN will continue to support communities, District Governments and build national capacity in the upcoming years. Eventually the national stakeholders both governmental and non governmental including the private sector need to build locally tailored mechanisms for enhanced resilience of the communities."

Let's hope that through a unified approach by combining the strengths of United Nations, Government departments and communities we will continue to save precious lives and protect livelihood by building capacities for disaster response, recovery, mitigation and preparedness.

15th June 2010

NDMA repatriates Pakistani students and families from Kyrgyzstan

Islamabad:

On special instructions from Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, to ensure early and safe return of the Pakistani students stranded in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, the National Disaster Management Authority has successfully airlifted the students and families back home. The first C-130 flight landed at the Chaklala airbase in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, 15th June, 2010, with 134 passengers on board. The second flight, carrying the remaining 129 Pakistani nationals and their foreign spouses, including body of Ali Raza who was killed in the Kyrgyz-Uzbek ethnic violence, landed at around 5pm.

Upon arrival of the first flight at Chaklala air base, they were warmly received by the Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Mr Qamar Zaman Kaira, Chairman NDMA, Lt. Gen. (R) Nadeem Ahmed, and officials of the NDMA, Foreign Office and the PAF. A large number of anxiously awaiting family members of these Pakistani students was also present to receive them.

Speaking on their arrival, Mr Kaira praised the arrangements made by the NDMA, in coordination with the Foreign Office and the PAF, which initiated the smooth process of the timely and safe return of all the Pakistani to their homeland from riot-stricken Kyrgyzstan. Chairman NDMA, Gen. Nadeem Ahmed said that harmonized efforts by all concerned agencies could make it possible he further added that the NDMA has made all arrangements to extend support and facilitation for the students, to contact their family members, as well as, to travel to their hometowns. On its way to Osh, the aircrafts carried 15 tons load which included tents, blankets, food and medicines donated by the Government of Pakistan to the Kyrgyzstan Government.

Upon arrival the students and families were very excited and relieved to return to their homeland and thanked the Government and NDMA for providing them with all the facilities. Their parents also thanked the GOP for extending its full support and ensuring the safe return of their children.

Click here for Pictures.

11th June 2010

UNDP, NDMA join hands for disaster management

Islamabad:

There should be strong coordination among relevant departments in order to mitigate risks, enhance preparedness and handle post disaster situations in a sustained manner, said speakers while addressing a four-day workshop. The orientation workshop was organized by the United Nations Development Programme and National Disaster Management Authority under One UN Disaster Risk Management Joint Programme Component.

The workshop focused on District Disaster Risk Management Planning in districts Mianwali and DG Khan (Punjab), districts D.I. Khan and Nowshera (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and district Bajaur in FATA.

The objective of the workshop was not only to sensitize the participants regarding hazards, vulnerability, disasters and their impact on the communities in their respective districts but also to enhance their capacity to develop District Disaster Risk Management Plans. Disaster Risk Management Systems, both at provincial and district levels, were introduced in Pakistan in 2006 following the promulgation of National Disaster Management Ordinance. This resulted in mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction into planning and development processes.

To date, NDMA has organized similar trainings in 45 districts throughout Pakistan. One of the key focuses of UNDP support to NDMA is to ensure that capacities on disaster risk management are made effective at provincial and district level. The workshop was inaugurated by Arshad Nawaz Chenna, Deputy Director NDMA and supported by Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Punjab. Retired Major Rizwan Ullah Baig, DG Relief and Crises Management Cell PDMA was also present on the occasion.

The participants of the workshop hailed from different government departments such as Revenue, Planning, Civil Defense and PDMA (Punjab) etc and possessed relevant experience in managing emergencies, relief work and disasters in their areas. Participants were of the view that role of coordination cannot be understated as all relevant departments should work pre, during and post disaster situations in coordinated manner to reduce the impact of the disasters and respond to the situation timely and effectively. Manager Planning, District Bajaur Abdul Hafeez said "Pakistan is located in a region which is prone to a number of natural disasters; Attabad Lake and Phet Cyclone are the most recent examples of this time.

"The impact of such disasters can be minimized tremendously by strengthening the district management. Therefore, this training on drafting DRM plans is a step forward in this direction," he said.

7th June 2010

National Working Group reviews mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management into development process

Islamabad:

There is a dire need to integrate Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in the planning process and development programs by all ministries for better management and reduction of risks as the current practices are not fully considerate about Disaster Risk Reduction. In order to review the progress made on decisions of the previous meetings, the National Working Group met on 7th June, 2010, in Islamabad. This 6th meeting of the NWG on Disaster Risk Reduction was chaired by Mr. Niamatullah Khan, Senior Member, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Welcoming the participants of the meeting Senior Member, NDMA said, "In light of International commitments, Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, the National Disaster Risk Management Framework of Pakistan (NDRMFP) was approved by the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC) and circulated to all Ministries and Provincial Governments in 2007. One of the priorities under the framework was to "Mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction into our Development ventures". For ensuring that all future development programs and projects of Ministries in disaster prone areas incorporate elements of DR assessment and reduction in the planning, design and implementation stages, a strategy paper was prepared by the NDMA and a National Working Group (NWG) on DRR was constituted to steer the process further in the policies, programmes and projects of selected Ministries".

He said that this is an opportunity to take lead in becoming the agents of change towards adapting DRR sensitive development practices in our respective Ministries. For this, he assured that the NDMA will extend its fullest support and provide all possible assistance to the partner Ministries and Donors Community.

He added that since the creation of Pakistan, disasters have caused losses of billions of rupees to the lives and properties of people of the country. Therefore, there is a need for all the Ministries and the Provincial Governments, together with support from the NDMA, to accord high priority to the vital issue of DRR. He stressed that to bring a change in the current development practices, it is vital to make it disaster resilient and sustainable in the true sense.

On this occasion presentations were made by the Planning Commission and Ministries of Housing & Works, Water & Power, Industries & Production, Defence, Communications, Education, Environment, Health and Food and Agriculture on their process of integrating DRR into their development plans. During the presentations it was encouraging to learn that majority of the ministries have created DRR Cells to smoothen the implementation of the DRR Mainstreaming initiative. Moreover, they have also conducted a number of capacity building activities for the concerned staff members.

The provinces being the main stakeholders in the overall national development process, the meeting unanimously approved inclusion, into the NWG, of all the Director Generals of the Provincial / State Disaster Management Authorities.

Mr. Tariq Rafique, National Project Manager, One UN DRM Program, on this occasion said that the hiring of DRR Consultants for the remaining ministries would be completed soon so that work on mainstreaming DRR into development projects is accelerated.

Besides representatives of the ministries, the meeting was largely attended by the Provincial and Regional DRM Authorities as well as donor agencies e.g. World Bank, UKAID and key implementing partners of UN agencies.

In the end, Mr. Niamatullah Khan thanked the participants for attending the meeting stressed the need for initiating concrete work on the decision taken in the meeting for achieving the objectives in the best national interest.

27th May 2010

Army USAR training successfully completed

Islamabad:

The closing ceremony of the 10-week training of medium Army USAR Team was held at Rawalpindi Cantonment on 27th May, 2010.

To undertake urban search and rescue operations a 54-member Army team has been trained in accordance with international standards. This team is now capable of responding to disasters which require urban search and rescue capacity. At the end of the training, a 36 - hour mock exercise was held to assess the:

  • Compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for search and rescue operation
  • Capabilities and effectiveness of the Army medium team to deal with natural or human-induced disasters.

Chief Guest Brig. Shamim Akram, speaking at the occasion, said that the Pakistan Army has been actively involved with Civil Admin in all the disasters, however with this raising of a new Army USAR team and the specialized equipment provided by NDMA, the capacity of the Pakistan Army will increase manifold.

The medium USAR team of Pakistan Army has been raised using Pakistani trainers who were trained by international experts. The resource persons from NDMA and instructors from CDA's USAR team worked together for the subject training. With the raising of this team, Pakistan's total capacity in USAR has been enhanced to 2-heavy and 1-medium team. NDMA is planning to further improve the capacity by raising two more teams in addition to the existing ones in the near future.

Certificates were given to the participants who successfully completed the training. Brig. Shamim Akram also presented souvenirs to NDMA and representative of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

It is worth mentioning here that the devastating earthquake of 2005 highlighted the inadequacy of emergency and disaster response capacities in Pakistan. The resources that existed were largely unable to deal with the collapsed Margalla Towers in Islamabad and hundreds of other structures across the earthquake zone. Likewise there was no formal institutional arrangement to deal with such disasters. The Government of Pakistan therefore decided to institutionalize the disaster management systems in Pakistan which would deal with whole spectrum of disaster management i.e. mitigation and preparedness, response, recovery/rehabilitation and reconstruction.
 

19th May 2010

NDMA to launch "One million safe schools and hospitals" program in July 2010

Islamabad:

To discuss the launching of "One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals" global program in Pakistan, a meeting with the concerned stakeholders was held on Wednesday, 19th May, 2010 at the National Disaster Management Authority, Prime Minister's Secretariat and was chaired by Senior Member, NDMA, Mr. Niamatullah Khan.

The Senior Member opened the discussion by remembering the 2005 earthquake. He said we lost scores of children due to lack of safe schools and hospitals. However, now we have the Manila example with us by which we can specially focus on constructing safer schools and hospitals for our future generations. Mr. Amir Mohiyuddin, Director M&P, NDMA said that we have laid the foundation of a Disaster Management system in Pakistan and now we are inviting partners to join us in this activity. He informed that we have shared the concept paper with all the stakeholders, including ISDR, for adopting a vibrant and participatory approach. He said that inputs from the Ministries of Health and Education have been received. He further informed that the NDMA plans to launch the program in July 2010, targeting 50,000 schools in two years, in the 12 most vulnerable districts of Pakistan. He said that the Health and Education Ministries will be taken on board while the health and education institutions from the private sector will also be included in the program. A representative from Action Aid floated the idea of adopting a holistic approach in the implementation of safer school constructions for which a vulnerability marking should be developed. An ERRA representative said that they are extending help in providing earthquake-resistant construction designs as well as advocating and ensuring its implementation by the institutions. He added that ERRA has started an awareness program in nine districts. The representatives of FOCUS and Agha Khan Foundation offered their technical support and volunteers in different areas for implementation of the program which was warmly accepted by the Senior Member. He said, in order to achieve maximum results, the implementation would be carried out in close collaboration with all the stakeholders, in all parts of Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltitstan.

The meeting was attended by Ms. Emmeline U. Managbanag, Deputy Director Programme, CWS, Mr. Allan A. Calma, Coordinator (interim) DRM, Mr. Dirk Komm, Country Head, German Red Cross, Mr. Gareth Aicken, Country Director, Asia Foundation, Mr. Ali Effendi, Senior Programme Officer, Aga Khan Foundation , Mr. Fikre Zewdie, Country Director, Action Aid ,Mr. Muhammad Ayaz, Programme Manager, Training PRCS, Ms. Ayesha Aftab, Programme Officer, Focus Humanitarian International, Mr. Naunehal Shah, Advisor DRM, Ms. Zaib-un-Nisa, Programme Officer, ERRA, Mr. Adil Sheeraz, Senior Programme Manager, CRS, Mr. Shaharyar Khan, Programme Manager World Vision KPK, Mr. Amjad Ali, Assistant Program Director Concern Worldwide, besides senior officers of the NDMA.


18th May 2010

Chairman briefs media on latest Hunza landslide situation

Islamabad:

The NDMA Chairman, Lt. Gen. (R) Nadeem Ahmed has said that there are remote chances of bursting of Hunza Lake but all arrangements are in place to tackle the worst case scenario. Addressing a Press conference on Tuesday he said that flooding would put at risk 40,000 people with residents from up to 34 villages which have already been evacuated to safer areas.

He said that water level in the lake is rising about one meter per day due to increase in water inflow which will take five to six days to overflow through the spillway made by the Pakistan Army. The Chairman informed that a Monitoring and Early Warning System has been established for timely communication of any threat to the local population. A message service, with the cooperation of cellular company Telenor, would be introduced to warn the people who are likely to be affected by the flooding. Army troops, including engineers, have been deployed in Hunza, Gilgit and Chilas to assist the civil administration cope with any eventuality. The Frontier Works Organization has been tasked to keep clear the Gilgit-Hunza road so as to ensure uninterrupted supply of relief items. He said that seven helicopters of Pakistan Army, Cabinet Division and Agha Khan Foundation would be ready to cater to any unforeseen event.

General Nadeem Ahmed said about 40,000 people will have to be taken care of and arrangements have been made to save and rehabilitate them besides arranging provision of essential commodities. He added that Control Rooms have been established at Hunza, Gilgit and at NDMA premises in Islamabad.

Chairman NDMA said in all about 34 villages will have to be evacuated upto Gilgit. Of them, people from Faizabad, Ahmedabad, Mayoon and Salmanabad were evacuated earlier as a precautionary measure and nine more villages were evacuated yesterday. Eighteen camps have been set up for the affected people but most of them are living with their relatives. Ration enough for one month has been provided even to those who are living with their relatives so that they do not become a burden on them. He said food, non-food items, medicines and generators are also available for the affectees.

He said the United Nations has been asked to provide water filtration plants and wash rooms for probable camps. He further added that the Army Engineer Corps has been made responsible for maintenance of some 48 bridges situated at different areas and eight aerial ropeways are being installed, three of which have already been completed. The FWO has been made responsible for road maintenance.

General Nadeem said the Federal Government has released 700 million rupees to the government of Gilgit-Baltistan to meet contingencies, especially to ensure restoration of road infrastructure. This is in addition to 100 million rupees provided earlier by the government. The Sindh Government has also provided seven million rupees to Gilgit-Baltistan and the Punjab government has also dispatched relief items for the affected population.

Replying to questions from the media, he said once the situation stabilizes, damage assessment would be carried and the government would announce a compensation package for the affected people. Rebuilding of the affected portion of the Karakoram Highway would also depend on the future scenario. However, the National Highway Authority will construct a road, worthy for travelling by jeep, within three months, to ensure resumption of trade with China which is a major source of livelihood for the local population.


30th April 2010

District Administration Chitral Sensitized On Earthquake Risk Reduction

Islamabad:

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) arranged a two day sensitization workshop on "Earthquake Risk Reduction and Preparedness" (ERRP) on 20-21st April 2010 at District Chitral.

The objective of the ERRP workshop was to raise awareness of the local administration on earthquake preparedness and risk reduction measures, including importance of community based disaster preparedness. Eminent resource persons from leading institution of the country including Prof Dr. Muhammad Riaz of Peshawar University, Syed Hurer Shah, Coordinator GTZ, Mr. Wali Muhammad, Regional Program Officer FOCUS, Mr Amir Muhammad, Program Officer FOCUS shared their knowledge and experiences regarding earthquake risk reduction in vulnerable areas. On this occasion outcomes of the Earthquake Risk Assessment of Chitral municipality were also shared with the participants for their information and feedback.

District Coordination Officer Mr. Rehmat Ullah Khan Wazir was chief guest on this occasion. While awarding certificates to the participants of the workshop he appreciated the efforts of NDMA in organizing the workshop and introducing ERRP project in Chitral.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Amir Mohyuddin, Director (M&P) NDMA said that with an aim to promote and achieve earthquake resilience in most valunerable locations by conducting detailed earthquake risk assessment, the NDMA is conducting ERRP workshop in the municipalities of Murree, Chitral, Quetta, Mansehra and Muzaffarabad. He added that the risk assessment is followed by action planning for earthquake risk mitigation, awareness raising, capacity building of local administration & members of civil society and by implementing pilot demonstrational activities on safer construction practices, capacity development of local government authorities and institutions.

Some 60 participants from different line departments, NGOs and civil society attended the workshop while Mr. Qadir Naseer TMO Chitral, Mr. Shahid Aziz Project Manger ERRP and project team were also present on the occasion.
  


30th April 2010

Civil Society, District Govt Officials Sensitized On Cyclone Mitigation

Islamabad:

A five-day training course on "Cyclone Mitigation", arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), for civil society organizations and government officers of cyclone prone districts of Sindh and Balochistan, ended here Friday.

The overall objective of the initiative was to provide disaster risk management knowledge and skills to district government officers and civil society members who have key disaster risk management responsibilities at the district level.

Mr. Niamatullah Khan, Acting Chairman NDMA formally inaugurated the training course on 26th April, 2010. Addressing the participants he said that the course will enable professionals to effectively integrate disaster risk management into their development programs and policies. He further added that the course would promote sharing of information on preparedness and mitigation measures adopted at the local level in Pakistan. He hoped that the participants will learn these techniques and enhance their capacities through various skills imparted by the experts during the training course.

The course contained five different modules consisting of group exercises, interactive discussions, readings, and video clips. Key experts from academia, the UN, the Government sector and INGOs, each with sound academic background imparted key skills to the participants. Besides a field visit to the 1999 cyclone hit area of Jatti Thatta was also undertaken.

Mr. Saleh Ahmed Farooqui, Director General, PDMA Karachi, was chief guest on the final day of the training. He advised the participants to replicate their learned skills in their future plans for saving lives and properties of the people of their areas in cyclones.

About 35 participants from three districts of Sindh, namely Karachi, Badin and Thatta and three districts of Balochistan, namely Gwadar, Lasbela and Kech attended the training, in addition to 10 Government officers from civil society organizations working in the cyclone prone districts.
  

26th April 2010

NSPP team visits NDMA

Islamabad:

A team of the Senior Management Course from the National School of Public Policy (NSPP), Lahore led by its faculty members visited the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Prime Minister's Secretariat, Islamabad on 26th April, 2010. Mr. Muhammad Bilal, Director (Administration) NDMA gave a detailed briefing, on "Disaster Risk Management System in Pakistan", to the Course participants. At the end of the presentation he also responded to the various queries put forth by the delegation.

Appreciating the role NDMA, the head of the visiting team, Mr Rahat-ul-Ain said that despite resource constraints, the NDMA has the resolve and commitment to rise to future disasters. He thanked the NDMA for the impressive presentation which he said has inculcated hopes in the minds of the participants.

At the end, shields were exchanged between the National School of Public Policy and the NDMA. The briefing was also attended by Brigadier Sajid Naeem, (Member Operations) and Directors of the NDMA.
  

19th April 2010

Global campaign on "One million safe schools and hospitals" to be launched in Pakistan.

Islamabad:

A preliminary meeting for launching of "One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals Campaign" in Pakistan was held, in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on 17th April, 2010, with the visiting Regional Manager Ms. Madhavi of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Bangkok -Thailand. The representatives of relevant UN agencies i.e. UNDP, WFP, UNESCO and WHO also attended the meeting. Mr. Niamatullah Khan, Acting Chairman, NDMA, chaired the meeting.

The initiative is in line with the priority set, in the Hyogo Framework 2005, on disaster risk reduction, aims at raising public awareness against different hazards and to create demand for safe schools and hospitals. Initially 10-11 disaster prone cities will be selected for the campaign which will subsequently be expanded to other parts of the country. The initiative will be led by the NDMA at the federal level.

The meeting held deliberations on launching of the campaign at the national level under the supervision of NDMA. During the course of discussions, it was agreed to associate more partners, both from public as well as private sector, to implement the initiative in Pakistan and also to get a pledge from the people for advocating safe schools and hospitals in the country.

To have a revolving process for making the schools and hospitals safer in Pakistan, there was a need to take the Ministries of Education and Health on board. The NDMA will hold consultative meetings with them in this regard.

On the basis of deliberations made in the meeting, the NDMA will act as the focal agency in Pakistan for implementation of the initiative at the federal level and, in the first instance, develop a Concept Note on the proposed initiative which will be shared with the Ministries of Education and Health. With regard to the funding arrangement for launching of the initiative, it was agreed that the NDMA would convene a Donors Conference at Islamabad towards the end of June or early July 2010 inviting representatives of donor agencies based in Islamabad.
   

19th April 2010

Hunza landslide review meeting with stakeholders held at NDMA.

Islamabad:

In order to review and assess the latest situation of the Hunza landslide, a meeting with all the key stakeholders was held on 19th April, 2010 at the NDMA, which was presided over by Mr Niamatullah Khan, Acting Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The meeting reviewed various aspects of the landslide including making of a spillway cut in the dam created as a result of the landslide, relief provided to the affectees and the Evacuation Plan revised and updated by the Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority in the light of Dam Break Study conducted by the NESPAK. The representative of GBDMA briefed the meeting on the steps taken and preparedness plan, incase of breach/ collapse of the Dam. The Pakistan Red Crescent Society's representative informed the meeting about their efforts regarding provision of relief to the people in the affected areas. Acting Chairman, NDMA instructed that all the organizations involved in relief activities in Hunza should be taken on board and mutual contacts be established for better coordination. Brig. Sajid Naeem, Member Operation, NDMA informed that a helicopter is located at Gilgit to carry out the day-to-day relief activities in the area while more could be dispatched in case of any demand by the local authorities. Moreover, transportation facilities through boats are also being provided to the people across the blockage of Hunza River and the KKH due to landside.

On a point regarding opening and rehabilitation of the Karakoram Highway, Mr. Niamatullah Khan asked the NHA to chalk out a contingency plan for early realignment of the KKH to commence work soon after the water is released so that trade activities between Pakistan and China are not affected after re-opening of borders in May 2010.

The representative of Frontier Works Organization (FWO) briefed the participants that so far his organization has spent Rs 54 million and over 20-meter cut has been completed to construct a spillway in the dam. However, as per revised plan the depth of the Spill Way cut is being constructed up to 30 meter deep and over 170,000 cubic meters which is over 86% of the total target of 196,000 cubic meters, has already been completed. If the weather conditions improve the FWO needs approximately 12 days to finish their Excavation work. He added that due to splashy and clay soil the machines tend to sink while heavy boulders require frequent blasting which is making the work difficult and slow.

The experts dispelled the impression that there is any danger of a sudden outburst of the dam as reported by certain sections in the media. The Chairman, emphasized the need for closer interaction for identifying recovery and rehabilitation priorities, satisfying the people's concerns and enabling all in meeting the challenges in a better manner. He thanked the valuable inputs of the technical experts, saying that post-disaster coordination between all the stakeholders can ensure better management, rehabilitations, and risk reduction.

The attendees of the meeting consisted of representatives of WAPDA, NESPAK, Cabinet Division (Emergency Relief Cell), Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA), Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Provincial Disaster Management Authority, E-in-C Branch Pak Army, Frontier Works Organization (FWO), and Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) Pakistan.
   

8th April 2010

Two day training workshop on "Earthquake Risk Reduction and Preparedness" held in Quetta.

Quetta:

A two day capacity building training workshop on "Earthquake Risk Reduction and Preparedness" was held in Quetta, from 7th to 8th April, 2010. This workshop was arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in collaboration with Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The training focused on raising awareness of the local administration on earthquake preparedness and risk reduction measures, including importance of community based disaster preparedness. The training was formally launched by Mr Arshad Nawaz Cheena, Deputy Director, NDMA, while Mr Muhammad Tahir Khan, PDMA Quetta, Mr Amir Rahat, Field Coordinator ERRP and the ERRP project team were also present on the occasion. Eminent resource persons from leading institutions of the country were requested to share their knowledge and experiences regarding earthquake risk reduction in vulnerable areas. Furthermore, the outcomes of the Earthquake Risk Assessment of the Quetta municipality were also shared with the participants for their information and feedback.

The NDMA in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is implementing an "Earthquake Risk Reduction and Preparedness Programme" (ERRP) in the Municipalities of Quetta, Chitral, Murree, Mansehra and Muzaffarabad. The project aims to promote and achieve earthquake resilience in most vulnerable locations by conducting detailed earthquake risk assessment. The risk assessment is followed by action planning for earthquake risk mitigation, awareness raising, capacity building of local administration & members of civil society and by implementing pilot demonstrational activities on safer construction practices. Capacity development of local government authorities and institutions is the main priority under this project.

2nd April 2010

Hunza lake--- a Threat to Tarbela Dam.

Islamabad:

It is with reference to a write up in the daily news on 25th March 2010 regarding the situation of Hunza lake. In the write up there are certain facts which need to be corrected to put the whole scenario in right perspective. It was in July 2009 when on request of local authority of Gilgit-Baltistan, NDMA arranged a study of the Attabad area through Geological Survey Of Pakistan and in September 2009 NDMA advised the local government to evacuate the village as it was found hazard prone. Accordingly evacuation was completed and no life loss occurred in Attabad due to landslide however the neighboring village (Sarat) suffered 19 causalities due to rebound of debris from across the gorge. These facts have already been reported in media.

Secondly, WAPADA has categorically stated that there is no threat to Tarbela project due to Hunza lake so there is no reason to deny the claims of concerned technical authorities. The inflow of sediments is there but it is not a threat to Tarbela given the distance between the Hunza Lake and the Tarbela dam.

Further in order to assess the situation and respond accordingly NDMA consulted all the technical authorities including FWO, WAPDA, NESPAK and some internationally renowned experts and based upon technical advice it was decide to create a spill way for water release from the artificial lake. The work on spillway is underway and it is likely to be completed by third week of April. In the meantime, three international experts: Dr. Richard Hughes, Dr. David Petley and Mr. Allessandro Palmieri, visited the site for conduct of technical evaluation. Moreover, NESPAK was tasked for a comprehensive technical study to evaluate all the aspects of dam break. Reports received from Dr. Richard Hughes, and Dr. David Petley have been sent to all stakeholders for mid-course correction, whereas report of Mr Allessandro Palmieri and NESPAK will be shared with all relevant agencies as soon as these are ready.

To prepare for a worst possible scenario all the precautionary measures have been put in place including monitoring, early warning system for downstream communities and evacuation plans have been finalized and mock evacuation drills for some communities have also been conducted by Gilgit-Baltistan government. NDMA is continuing to provide helicopters support and boats for transportation of people and goods.

The comparison between Tangjiashan lake of China and Hunza lake of Paksitan is needed to be taken in right context as both the incidents have some similarities but more dissimilarities. And only technical experts can advise on the subject as every situation has its own nature and dynamics. In Hunza incident all the decisions have been made in the light of technical advice from experts who do not favour explosive method. For further details, please NDMA's website , www.ndma.gov.pk

NDMA arranges "Earthquake Risk Reduction and Preparedness" workshop at Murree

Murree:

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organized a two-day capacity building training workshop on "Earthquake Risk Reduction and Preparedness" at Jinnah TMA Hall, Murree, from 29th-30th March 2010.

The objective of the training workshop was to raise awareness of the local administration on earthquake preparedness and risk reduction measures, including importance of community based disaster preparedness. Prominent experts of leading institutions of the country shared their knowledge and experiences regarding earthquake risk reduction in vulnerable areas. On this occasion the outcome of the Earthquake Risk Assessment of Murree municipality was also shared with the participants for their information and feedback.

It is to mention here that National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), jointly with UNDP is implementing an "Earthquake Risk Reduction and Preparedness Programme" (ERRP) in the Municipalities of Murree, Chitral, Quetta, Mansehra and Muzaffarabad. The project aims to promote and achieve earthquake resilience in most vulnerable locations by conducting a detailed earthquake risk assessment. The risk assessment is followed by action planning for earthquake risk mitigation, awareness raising, capacity building of local administration & members of civil society and by implementing pilot demonstrational activities on safer construction practices. Capacity development of local government authorities and institutions is the main priority under this project.

27th March 2010

NDMA Striving to Integrate Disaster Risk Management in Development Programs and Policies

Islamabad:

(Islamabad) The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has taken the initiative to build the capacity of the district officers and NGOs in disaster risk management for having a proactive response system in place for unforeseen disasters in the country. The NDMA, in collaboration with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (|PDMA), Sindh arranged a five-day training course on DRM at Karachi from 22-26 March, 2010. Inaugurating the training course as chief guest, Mr. Saleh Ahmed Farooqi, Director General PDMA, Sindh said that for mainstreaming the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) on all levels, the Government has set up the National Institute of Disaster Management. The objective is to build the capacity of the concerned government officers and civil society organizations so that a proactive system is in place for handling future disasters in the country. The training was supported by the United Nations Development Program, Pakistan. Key DRM experts from the academia, UN, government sector and INGOs imparted skills to the participants of the training through five different modules consisting of lectures, group exercises, interactive discussions, readings and video clips. The participants were also taken to field visits to see the disaster management methods of vulnerable communities during disasters. Mr. Ghulam Ali Shah Pasha, Senior Member BoR / Chairman PDMA, Sindh was the chief guest on the closing day of the five-day training. He distributed certificates amongst the participants and said that the course will enable professionals of the district government to effectively integrate disaster risk management into their development programs and policies. He added that the Disaster Risk Management course would help promote sharing of information on preparedness and mitigation measures adopted at the local level in Pakistan. The DRM training course was attended by 30 senior government officials from various departments, including the PDMA, Revenue Deptt, fire brigade, agriculture, health, planning, finance, admin and accounts, social welfare and forest departments of the government of Sindh. Officials from Pakistan Red Crescent Society, Sindh and Civil Society Organizations also attended the training.

25th March 2010

NWFP Lawmakers Urged to Advocate Disaster Risk Management

Islamabad:

(Peshawar) Active participation of Parliamentarians is crucial for improving the effectiveness of DRM (Disaster Risk Management) in the country and especially in NWFP. Given the importance the NDMA places on sensitizing the policy makers on DRM, a policy dialogue on "Effectiveness of Disaster Risk Management - Engaging Parliamentarians" was held here in NWFP, supported by UNDP. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) organized the dialogue, which was chaired by Mr. Kiramatullah Khan, Speaker, Provincial Assembly, NWFP. General® Farooq Ahmad Khan, Chairman NDMA welcomed the support NDMA has had from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority and stressed for continued cooperation and effectiveness of building linkages with PDMA and the DDMAs. He also mentioned the need for political will to achieve an effective implementation of NDMO in NWFP especially, and in the whole country, in general. Mr. Shakeel Qadir Khan, Director General, PDMA, NWFP, delivered a presentation on the status of PDMA NWFP and the issues faced by it. He thanked the members of Parliament for extending their support to a subject crucial to the people of NWFP. He stressed that the political will is critical to ensure the effective role of PDMA in NWFP and suggested institutional response to disasters must be well-informed and well-coordinated. Mr. Kiramatullah Khan, Speaker, Provincial Assembly, NWFP, appreciated the efforts of the organizers of the policy dialogue and assured his full support towards the accomplishment of the objectives for the PDMA in the province. Mr. Ahsanullah Khan, Senior Member Board of Revenue, NWFP, emphasized the need to be prepared in future for any unforeseen disasters, at national, as well as at provincial and local levels. He said that the Government of the NWFP would leave no stone unturned in bringing about a vibrant and fully functional PDMA in the province. He added that all the political support and financial resources would be ensured to have an effective and comprehensive system in the province with close linkages with the NDMA. The members of the NWFP Assembly showed their keen interest in the subject of disaster management. They expressed their willingness to become the DRM supporters in the Assembly, by debating the issues surrounding the subject, and putting together all out efforts towards allocating ample resources for effective DRM in the province. The dialogue was attended by the members of Provincial Assembly NWFP belonging to various political parties across the political arena, heads of various government departments, civil society organizations, media representatives and bar associations from across the province.

24th March 2010

"Effectiveness of Disaster Risk Management: Engaging Parliamentarians" Policy Dialogue with NWFP Parliamentarians".

Peshawar:

Despite the vulnerability to devastating disasters, there is a lack of policy response and debate on legal and institutional framework for disaster management in the country. For an effective Disaster Risk Management (DRM) regime, sensitization of the policy makers and parliamentarians on disaster related issues is essential for disaster preparedness and response. In this regard, a series of policy dialogues are being organized on "Effectiveness of Disaster Risk Management: Engaging Parliamentarians", across the country by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs). The aim is to provide a forum for interaction amongst the parliamentarians and technical experts. This gives them a chance to map and discuss challenges and opportunities in DRM, and develop consensus among various actors and relevant stakeholders on different policy options to improve DRM in Pakistan. The fifth dialogue of the series is being held today in NWFP, which will be participated by a large number of parliamentarians, media, civil society and other key stakeholders. Some key issues that are expected to come under discussion are (i) The challenges in DRM in Pakistan and the need of strengthening the institutional capacity and improving budgetary allocations for DRM (ii) Generate an informed debate on various issues hindering the proper functioning of Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) in order to ensure that PDMAs are fully operational and are contributing to effective DRM in Pakistan (iii) Provide a forum for interaction amongst the parliamentarians and technical experts to map and discuss challenges and opportunities in DRM; and (iv) Provide an agenda for parliamentarians and offer an opportunity to develop consensus among various actors and relevant stakeholders on different policy options to improve DRM in Pakistan. Lt Gen Farooq Ahmad Khan,(R), Chairman NDMA, Mr. Kiramatullah Khan, Speaker, Provincial Assembly, NWFP, Mr. Shakeel Qadir DG-PDMA, NWFP, Mr. Ahsanullah Khan, Senior Member Board of Revenue, NWFP, along with Parliamentarians and members of the civil society and media are among the distinguished guests participating in the dialogue


22nd March 2010

NDMA Starts Training of Pak Army's USAR Team.

Islamabad:

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has planned to conduct a 10-week training for officers /officials of Pakistan Army. The training will commence from 22nd March, 2010. The purpose of the training is to enhance the capacity of the Army team in the field of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) in times of disasters/emergencies. The first 12 hours are called the Golden Hours where the survival chances of trapped victims are the maximum.  Building in-country capacity in search and rescue is, therefore, crucial to saving lives during disasters.  The highly technical and state of the art equipped USAR teams are the backbone of any disaster response system. Pakistan did not have any such team in the past and the need for these teams was felt in the aftermath of the devastating 2005 earthquake. The NDMA, soon after its inception, took on the gigantic task of raising two heavy international level and one medium USAR teams. 

Two heavy USAR teams have been raised and handed over to the City District Government, Karachi and CDA Islamabad. The third team which will be of a medium level, will be trained through the on-going capacity building initiative. These teams are a national asset and are capable of deployment at national, as well as, international level in disaster situations. Lt. Gen.(R) Farooq Ahmad Khan, Chairman, NDMA handed over state of the art medium urban search and rescue equipment to the Pak Army at a cermoney at GHQ.


22nd March 2010

Orientation Workshop on Preparedness for Tsunami & Coastal Hazard Risk Reduction for the Students of Gwadar (16-17 March 2010).

Islamabad:

The Makran region is one of the most vulnerable regions in Pakistan to tsunami due to the presence of Makran Subduction Zone (MSZ) at a distance of 80-130 km only. In the National Disaster Risk Management Framework (NDRMF) prepared by NDMA, Tsunami and cyclone have been identified as two key hazards in the coastal areas of Pakistan. NDMA has taken a number of initiatives to mitigate the effects of tsunami and other coastal hazards on the life and property of the local communities. Creating awareness on different hazards among the local communities is one of the nine priority areas of NDMA as envisaged in the NDRMF. NDMA in collaboration with UNDP, had earlier organized a number of awareness workshops for the students of Primary, High and College level classes in the coastal areas. Subsequently it was decided that the students of Master level classes who are studying in Karachi and Quetta should also be taken on board who could be instrumental for creating awareness among the local populace of their respective districts. The first orientation workshop for the students of Gwadar and other coastal districts was organized at Karachi in collaboration with NED-UET Karachi during February 2010 The second workshop of this series has been organized at the University of Balochistan Quetta on 16-17 March 2010. This workshop was jointly arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority/UNDP, UET University of Engineering Karachi and the University of Balochistan. The summarized objectives of this workshop were as follows:

  1. To orient participants on basic concepts and issues of tsunami and coastal hazards threatening coastal areas of Pakistan as well as associated community preparedness for such disasters.
  2. To impart requisite skills that will enable them to plan and execute disaster management activities to strengthen early warning system in project area.

A total of 125 participants attended the workshop including the speakers, students of different departments of University of Balochistan. The number of students from Gwadar and other coastal areas was 25 including female students. The workshop will go a long way in creating awareness among the local communities.


19th March 2010

NDMA Holds Interactive Dialogue with Civil Society Organisations on Disaster Risk Management.

Islamabad:

Islamabad (March 19, 2010). In order to benefit from the expertise of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and to have a robust system in place for information sharing and resource mapping on Disaster Risk Management in the country, the National Disaster Management Authority has initiated the process of holding a series of dialogues with the CSOs and NGOs. The first dialogue was held on Friday 19th March, 2010 at the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Prime Minister's Secretariat, Islamabad with Lt. Gen. (R) Farooq Ahmad Khan in the chair. He welcomed the participants and apprised them that the government of Pakistan is striving to reduce the risks of disasters emanating from multiple hazards including natural as well as human induced, through a paradigm shift from a reactive emergency response approach to an all encompassing spectrum of disasters management since the promulgation of National Disaster Management Ordinance in December, 2006. He added that NDMA is cognizant of the key role played by the Civil Society Organizations in the overall development of the society, particularly the crucial role of response for relief and rehabilitation of people during disasters in Pakistan. He recalled the tremendous support provided by some of the organisation to the affectees of the devastating earthquake of October 2005. He said that in order to benefit from the capacity and expertise of the CSOs in disaster management in the country, the NDMA intends to develop a consultative mechanism with the purpose to pool together these expertise and resources which would strengthen preparedness, mitigation, relief, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. "There is an increasing need to work together and to capitalize on each other's strengths for strengthening the DRM system in Pakistan. We have to create and provide opportunity for knowledge and skill sharing on DRM, which could enable us in improve understanding of DRM issues and identify ways and means to tackle these through joint and coordinated efforts. Due to resource constraints, we need to create synergies and ensure that duplication of effort is avoided" the Chairman remarked. The Chairman NDMA invited the participating NGOs/CSOs to designate a person amongst themselves to act as Co-Chair of the proposed forum, and to form a focus group to propose modalities for future course of action. Air Vice Marshal ® Muhammad Ateeb Siddiqui , Director Operations, Pakistan Red Crescent Society said that interaction in post-disaster scenario can help identify, relief, recovery and rehabilitation priorities. At the end the Chairman NDMA thanked the participants for their active involvement and keen interest in the establishment of the NDMA-CSOs Forum and dialogue process. He assured all possible help on behalf of the government and NDMA to the Civil Society Organizations in their endeavours for disaster risks reduction and expressed the hope that smooth evolution of the interactive dialogue would be a step forward in enhancing their capabilities to meet the disasters in future for the betterment and development of the people of Pakistan. The dialogue was largely attended by representatives of the Community Based Organisation and NGO, INGOs including Aurat Foundation, Sungi Foundation, SPO, Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Lead Pakistan, Plan Pakistan, Save the Children Sweden,FOCUS Humanitarian,Oxfam GB, Oxfam Novib, IUCN, WWF, Wetlands Programme, Concern Pakistan, Action Aid, CRS and American Refugee Committee.



10th March 2010

Parliamentarians urged to promote DRM cause.

Islamabad:

Active participation of Parliamentarians is crucial for improving the effectiveness of DRM in the country and especially in the Province of Balochistan. Given the importance NDMA places on these Champions for DRM, a policy dialogue on "Effectiveness of Disaster Risk Management - Engaging Parliamentarians" was held here in Quetta supported by UNDP. Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) organized the dialogue, which was chaired by Mr. Abdul Wasy, Senior Minister/Minister for Planning & Development, Balochistan. The dialogue was attended by the members of Provincial Assembly of Balochistan belonging to various political parties across the political arena and Civil Society Organizations, Media representatives and Bar Associations from across the province.

Farooq Ahmed Khan, Chairman NDMA welcomed the support NDMA has had from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority and stressed for continued cooperation and effectiveness of building linkages with PDMA and the DDMAs. He also mentioned the need for political will to achieve an effective implementation of NDMO in the province of Balochistan specially and in the whole country in general. The Ziarat earthquake of 2008 was another reminder of the importance of effective linkages between federal, provincial and district level disaster management authorities.

Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed, Director General, PDMA, Balochistan gave a presentation on the status of PDMA Balochistan and the issues faced by it. He thanked the members of Parliament for extending their support to a topic which is close to the people of Balochistan. He stressed that the political will is critical to ensure the effective role of PDMA in Balochistan and suggested institutional response to disasters must be well informed and well coordinated.

Mr. Abdul Wasy appreciated the efforts of the organizers of the policy dialogue and assured his full support towards the accomplishment of the objectives for the PDMA in the province.

Minister for Revenue, Engineer Zamarrud Khan was the chief guest at this event. He emphasized the need to be prepared in future for any unforeseen disasters at national as well as at provincial and local levels. He said that the Government of the Balochistan would leave no stone unturned in bringing about a vibrant and fully functional PDMA in the province. He added that all the political support and financial resources would be ensured to have an effective and comprehensive system in the province with close linkages with the NDMA.

Other members of the Balochistan Assembly who attended the Policy Dialogue were Ministers for Health, Forest, Youth, Sports, Minorities, Fisheries, Population Welfare, the SMBR, Secretary Health, Secretary Home and Secretary Finance. They showed their keen interest in the subject of disaster management and expressed their willingness to become the DRM champions.



2nd March 2010

Use of modern tools stressed to avert disasters in marble sector.

Islamabad:

To shed light on the challenges encountered in the Marble and Granite Sectors, experts and scholars stressed the need of Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) into these sectors in order to shift from the obsolete technology to modern techniques that would result in disaster reduction.

The day long workshop was organized by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), on Tuesday, 2nd March 2010, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industries & Production and Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC). The workshop was supported by UNDP - Pakistan under the One UN DRM Joint Programme. It was attended by various stakeholders of mine owners and marble products manufacturers / processers, chips industry and professionals from various relevant organizations and academia.

Mr. Tariq Rafique, DRM National Project Manager, while welcoming the participants said that in Pakistan, since earthquake - 2005, focus is on incorporation of DRR in all policy & regulatory instruments and steps are being taken to ensure that the DRR elements are incorporated in all future programmes, practices and procedures. He said, our policies and practices should be economically viable and technologically sound. He continued that the policy documents which are particularly being referred to today include, National Mineral Policy 1995, Ministerial Strategy on DRR for Ministry of Industries & Production and NWFP Mining Concession Rules 2005, which, he stressed, are important to be viewed with a DRR lens. He hoped that the recommendations of the workshop would identify gaps in the Industrial Policy of Pakistan, and the above mentioned policies and rules, with reference to the Marble and Granite Sector from a DRR perspective to make industrial activities in these sectors safer & sustainable by developing them on modern scientific lines.

Mr. Ahsan Ullah Khan, Chairman PASDEC was the Chief Guest on this occasion. Addressing the participants of the workshop he said that there are various quarrying activities, with more than 100,000 workers, in NWFP and Balochistan wherein the Marble and Granite are extracted and thereafter processed into value added products. He added that use of explosives, unscientific mining and improper waste disposal also causes land degradation, stagnant pool and flooding of water, bad visual impact, pollution, health and safety hazards. He stressed the need for improved engineering practices. Usage of calculated explosives and shifting to explosive-free extraction through introduction of modern techniques could help prevent lung diseases in quarrying workers. In addition to land creeping where effective engineering controls are not possible, workers should wear approved respirators/PPEs, he advised. Referring to the Quran, he stressed that saving of a single life carries un-imaginable rewards.

Mr. Shaid-R-Khan, Chief Executive, Indus Mining Company (Member Board of Governors - PASDEC), while appreciating the efforts of the NDMA, assured full support on behalf of the Marble Sector. He termed the NDMA initiative a right step in the right direction as modernization and incorporation of DRR will enable these sectors to contribute significantly to the exchequer of the country.



25th Feburary 2010

NDMA conducts 1st ever industrial mock exercise at Engro Fertilizers, Daharki, district Ghotki.

Islamabad:

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is actively working to chalk out a well-conceived response structure, to be well publicised and understood by all stakeholders for enhancing their capacities on the disaster and emergency management.

In order to put the contingency plan into practice, the NDMA, in collaboration with Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Karachi, District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) Ghotki and various other response agencies/stakeholders, conducted the first ever controlled mock exercise on Industrial Disaster Management at the premises of ENGRO Fertilizer Ltd at Daharki on 25th February 2010. The exercise was aimed at providing base for active involvement of district/provincial disaster management authorities, various stakeholders at different tiers to handle any future disaster in an effective way. The Urban Search and Rescue Team also took part in the mock exercise. The exercise was evaluated by a joint team of experts from Technical Cell of the NDMA, Ministry of Industries, DESTO and ENGRO Fertilizers. It may be mentioned here that earlier the NDMA has organised a workshop for all stakeholders to share their valuable input to finalise the contingency plan for the management of industrial disasters.

Chairman NDMA Lt General (R) Farooq Ahmad Khan monitored the mock exercise at Daharki on February 25, 2010. While briefing the journalists on this occasion, he said that in order to create comprehensive guidelines for effective management of the industrial disasters in the country, the NDMA has prepared a plan regarding identification of the gaps in the existing mechanism, policy and programmes for prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Chairman NDMA, while appreciating the team work of the participants of the mock exercise said that the skills learned by the participants would help build their capacity to tackle with disasters in future.



23rd Feburary 2010

Seminar on Disaster Risk Reduction Sensitive Housing Policy and National Planning Standards Held At NIDM.

Islamabad:

In order to develop appropriate guidelines for integration of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aspects in the Housing Policy and National Reference Manual for planning standards, a day long consultative seminar was arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing & Works and United National Development Program, at National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), at Islamabad on Tuesday.

The main focus of the seminar was to (i) Introduce a Ministerial Strategy on DRR in the Housing sector in Pakistan (ii) Initiate dialogue and to identify gaps in the "National Housing Policy" and the "National Reference Manual" instruments from a DRR perspective (iii) Finalize recommendations and way forward from the mutual consultation of the resource persons and professional participants from PCATP, PEC, development authorities and other relevant agencies in Pakistan.

"DRR Sensitive Housing Policy and Planning Standards" is identified as a crucial need by the Ministry of Housing and Works for mainstreaming DRR in the Housing Strategy which has also been emphasized globally in the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and in Pakistan, to incorporate DRR in all such policies and regulatory instruments, since the earthquake of 2005.

Prominent partners of this initiative included the Pakistan Engineering Council, Pakistan Council of Architects, Town Planners and the UN-Habitat. Professionals from the planning and construction fields who attended the seminar included engineers, architects, town planners and decision makers from various public and private sector organizations. Lt. Gen. (R) Farooq Ahmad Khan, Chairman NDMA, Ms. AR Shama Usman, Chairperson Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners, Mr. Aslam Mughal, President Institute of Planners Pakistan (IPP) and Ms. Maggie Stephenson, Senior Technical Advisor, UN-Habitat were some of the keynote speakers on the occasion.

Speaking to the participants of the seminar, Chairman NDMA, Mr Khan was hopeful that the recommendations of the seminar will lead the NDMA/UNDP to formulate a methodology which would be developed as guidelines for integration of DRR aspects in the relevant section of the Housing Policy and National Reference Manual for Planning Standards. The recommendations evolved from this seminar will lead towards formulation of DRR annexure for both the Housing Policy and National Reference Manual and will serve as a consultative start for development of DRR guidelines for the sector.



19th Feburary 2010

5-Day training on "Flood Mitigation" for district officials and NGOs held at NIDM.

Islamabad:

A 5-day training course on "Flood Mitigation" for the district authorities and community based organization of flood prone district was organized by the National Management Authority (NDMA) at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Islamabad from February 15 to 19, 2010.

A total of 23 persons representing the District Finance, Planning & Development, Revenue and Tehsil Municipal Committees as well as community based organization attended the training course. The first course on "Flood Mitigation" was organized during December 2009 at Islamabad and this was the 2nd round in which out of the 30 flood prone districts, the remaining 18 flood prone districts were covered.

The objective of the training was to build the capacities of the concerned government and civil society organizations, in flood disaster preparedness, response and mitigation, through structural and non structural interventions adopted at local level for saving lives and properties of the people.

Lt. Gen. (R) Farooq Ahmad Khan, Chairman NDMA was the chief guest at the inauguration of the course at the National Institute of Disaster Management. Addressing the participants he said that the course would provide comprehensive flood disaster risk management knowledge and skills to district government officers and civil society members who have key flood disaster risk management responsibilities at the district/tehsil level.

Renowned experts in the field of flood management delivered lectures on four key modules e.g (i) Overview of flood disaster risk situation in Pakistan (ii) Institutional arrangements to cope with flooding (iii) Flood Risk Assessment and (iv) Flood Mitigation Measures. A field trip to the Pakistan Meteorological Department was also organized where participants were exposed to different traditional and modern equipments and satellite technologies for weather forecasting and early warnings System.

At the end of the training course a ceremony was held on Friday wherein Ms. Rabia Khattak, Assistant Country Director, UNDP, Pakistan awarded certificates to the participants of the training.



19th Feburary 2010

NDMA holds training on Emergency Preparedness and Response for NUST staff.

Islamabad:

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in consultation with the National University of Science & Technology (NUST), held a five-day training programme on "Emergency Preparedness and Response" for the staff members of NUST. The training was aimed to create a cluster of master trainers at the university level. The main objective of the training was to build the capacity of the key staff in disaster risk management through enhancing their knowledge and skills in preparedness and response. The intensive training focused on both theory and hands-on exercises for response.

The 16 Master Trainers who were trained through this exercise learnt key skills in evacuation planning, first aid, fire fighting and basic search and rescue.

The participants showed keen interest and actively involved themselves throughout the entire course. They displayed their newly learnt skills in a simulation/drill conducted at the end of the training. A joint simulation, at the end of the training course, involving the participants and a specialized Urban Search and Rescue team of CDA, raised by the NDMA, highlighted the importance of the working together strategy of the first responders with the specialist team in a disaster situation.

 



15th Feburary 2010

National Institute Of Disaster Management (NIDM) established - A Step towards Making Pakistan Disaster resilient.

Islamabad:

The National Disaster Management Authority through the technical support of United Nations Development Programme has launched the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) in Islamabad. The NIDM has been established to build capacities to respond and prepare for disasters across the country.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was established in 2007 with an aim to be at the forefront of disaster management in the country. It has been mandated to focus on putting in place systems which reduce the potential devastation from a disaster and ensures that if they do occur there are mechanisms to respond to it effectively. For this purpose, national and provincial fora have been strengthened in disaster risk management. It is to mention here that the section -26 (sub-section -1) of the National Disaster Management Ordinance (NDMO) also envisages establishment of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) to be responsible body for planning and promoting training and research; and developing core competencies in the area of disaster management, documentation and development of national level information base relating to disaster management policies, prevention mechanism and mitigation measures. This Management Institute will further strengthen the efforts of the Government to promote Disaster Risk Management (DRM) as a priority as disasters are one of the major stumbling blocks in attaining development goals and very often reverse the gains from development.

The Institute will respond to the need of creating a full fledged academic institute for providing research and training services for disaster risk managers in the country. NIDM will function as a premier centre of excellence for providing training and research services on DRM to the public and private sector individuals. The UN System in Pakistan also plays a pivotal role to further strengthen the national Disaster Risk Management System. A One-UN Joint DRM Programme was launched in early 2009 for an initial time-frame of two years. UNDP Pakistan, as part of the ongoing One UN DRM Programme, has adopted a comprehensive approach towards disaster risk reduction encompassing mitigation, preparedness and advocacy in every initiative it supports with communities and government institutions. Working with NDMA, the national institution responsible for disaster preparedness in Pakistan, UNDP ensures that disaster risk reduction is included in the planning of relevant line ministries, and that communities are better prepared when natural hazards strike. NIDM will develop curriculum on various facets of disaster management; offer short courses on DRM, conduct studies on disaster-related areas to assist legislators and policy makers for informed planning and decision making undertake study, research, develop linkages and build partnerships with national and international academic institutions. It will develop a network of disaster management professionals working in various disciplines inland and abroad; undertake mass awareness to raise disaster risk awareness among the general public. It will also build a database about disasters in the country and give regular updates through its website which will work as a hub of information for the consumption of public sector departments and media organizations.

In his address as Chief Guest on the launching of the NIDM, Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority, Lt. Gen. (R) Farooq Ahmad Khan said that he is immensely pleased to witness the launching of a much needed set-up like the National Institute of Disaster Management in Pakistan. He further added that the NIDM has a huge responsibility of instilling DRM ideas in the minds of our youth, government officers and civil society organizations. "I am determined to make the NIDM a hub of knowledge and information on Disaster Risk Management", said the Chairman. He was optimistic that establishment of the NIDM would develop a culture of DRM which would lead Pakistan towards sustainable development and a risk free country. Speaking on the occasion, the UNDP deputy Country Director, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka said, "When disasters strike, the impact of our work - so often measured in gradual increments over time - is by necessity instant and pivotal. At moments like this, we are reminded again of the imperative to work on disaster risk reduction and response in times of both stability and turmoil. I am confident that the NIDM under NDMA leadership will play a crucial role for imparting appropriate training to disaster managers at various levels to ensure coordinated and quick response during emergencies."



3rd Feburary 2010

Chairman NDMA visited the artificial Lake formed by Hunza Landslide with senior officials of Gilgit Baltistan.

Hunza:

On 28 January 2010, the Chairman NDMA, Lt Gen Farooq Ahmad Khan (R) visited the artificial lake formed at Hunza River near the disaster hit Attabad village. He was accompanied by the Speaker of GBLA , former Member of NALC Nazir Sabir, NATCO MD Zafar Iqbal, Home Secretary Usman Younis, DC Hunza-Nagar Zafar Waqar Taj and Khuwaja Khan of the Ismaili Regional Council among others.

The general instructed FWO workers, NHA and B&R personnel to expedite work on breeching the artificial dam. He also met some Chinese engineers who have joined the FWO workers recently to create a breech in the lake. The work is going to take around two months, a Chinese engineer told journalists. The general, as reported by Daily Mahasib, has said that if precautionary measures had been taken earlier, based on the research and survey findings of FOCUS and other NGOs the loss could have been reduced. He also instructed the district administration to conduct geological survey of the region to further explore and identify areas at risk.
Our correspondent adds from Gulmit – DG of NDMA, Wazir Baig, Mutabiat Shah, Nazir Sabir and other government officials visited Ayeenabad Shishkat today to observe the destruction caused by a fast expanding lake formed on the Hunza River. They also visited office of the relief commissioner at F.G.Boys High School, Chamangul.
Youth of the village put tough questions to the visitors and said that despite of several VIP visits no tangible work can be seen taking place at the lake site. They urged the representatives and government officials to use their mandate and authority to provide relief to people of Gojal valley by releasing water from the artificial lake and urgently linking the valley to rest of the country by opening up KKH.
They also condemned the ideas of creating a dam in the area.
General Farooq assured the youth that the government is using all its energy and resources to open the lake, besides supplying food, fuel and other essential commodities to the 25, 000 people of Gojal valley.
Courtesy: http://pamirtimes.net/


29th January 2010

NDMA represented Pakistan in Asian Conference on Disaster Reduction (ACDR) 2010 held on 17-19 January 2010 at Hyogo, Japan

Islamabad:

The Asian Conference on Disaster Reduction (ACDR) 2010 was held in Kobe - Japan, from 17 to 19 January 2010. Senior Member, National Disaster Management Authority participated in the meeting on behalf of Government of Pakistan. The conference was organized jointly by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), and the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC).

International participants from 28 countries as well as representatives of international and regional organizations, academic community, private sector and civil society organizations attended the conference. The participants expressed their sincere condolence and sympathy to the people and communities affected by the unprecedented earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010. This most recent catastrophic disaster attracted great attention of the participants during the discussion at ACDR 2010. The key topics addressed at ACDR 2010 included are some suggestions for follow up actions, especially in relation to the Mid-Term Review of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 and the 4th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), to be held 25-28 October 2010 in Incheon, Republic of Korea to discuss climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

It may be recalled that ACDR serves as an evolutional program of the past ADRC Annual Meetings. Previously ACDR was conducted in Japan in 2003, Cambodia in 2004, Republic of Korea in 2006, Kazakhstan in 2007 and Indonesia in 2008.

Senior Member NDMA Proposed sending two Team Leaders of USAR Teams for capacity building in Singapore

Islamabad:

While attending Steering Committee meeting of Asian Disaster Reduction Centre (ADRC) held in Kobe, Japan on 18 January 2010, Mr. Shaukat N. Tahir, Senior Member of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) expressed the desire of NDMA for capacity building of the two international level Urban Search and Rescue Teams (USAR) raised by Pakistan in its two major cities of Islamabad and Karachi.

Senior Member requested the ADRC to sponsor the courses in this regard for the two USAR team leaders at the “International Urban Search and Rescue Course” offered by the Civil Defense Academy of Singapore. Assistance of ADRC was also sought for coordination with the Singapore Government to reserve two slots in the ensuing courses planned for 2010.

The ADRC is a 28 member forum which was established in Kobe, Hyogo prefecture, in 1998, with mission to enhance disaster resilience of the member countries, to build safe communities, and to create a society where sustainable development is possible. The Center works to build disaster resilient communities and to establish networks among countries through many programs including personnel exchanges in this field.


15th January 2010

Seminar on information exchange in the wake of Natural Calamities/Earthquakes in Pakistan and other countries

Islamabad:

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with the US Embassy Islamabad, is organizing a seminar on information exchange in the wake of natural calamities/earthquakes in Pakistan and other countries. Initial outline of the proposed workshop was discussed during a meeting with the representative of the US Embassy. The meeting was held in NDMA on 15th January, 2010 at 1100 hrs under the chairmanship of Lt Gen ® Farooq Ahmad Khan, Chairman NDMA.

The proposed seminar will be held in June or July 2010. The exact dates will however be finalized through subsequent contacts between NDMA and the US Embassy. It was agreed that both sides will exchange lists of experts/speakers by 15th February 2010 while logistic arrangements will be finalized during April and May.

Besides above, the representative of US Embassy showed interest in enhancing capacity of relevant departments/agencies in Pakistan by providing training to the relevant officials from the departments on disaster management, covering both theoretical and physical parts, especially in search and rescue in hilly, mountainous and difficult terrains.


5th January 2010

EARLY CAUTION OF NDMA AVERTED LARGE CATASTROPHE- USAR TEAM MOBILIZED TO ASSIST THE AFFECTEES IN HUNZA

Islamabad:

Following the yesterday incident of landslide of about 20 vacant houses of village Atta Abad, Hunza District of Gilgit Baltistan, which caused death of 10 people in Sarat village in the low lying area, the Gilgit- Baltistan Disaster Management Authority has started its activities in close coordination with the local administration and the specialized teams of NDMA have been mobilized from Islamabad through three newly inducted helicopters available with the Cabinet Division for rescue operations. In addition to this all facilities including food, shelter, non-food items and health care are ensured to the affected population.

Eastern part of Atta Abad Village was already declared High Hazard Area by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in September, 2009, on the basis of a study conducted by the NDMA through Geological Survey of Pakistan wherein movement of terrain/ground resulting into cracks in the houses pitched on the mountain slope in the village Atta Abad, Hunza Valley, was observed. According to preliminary reports, approximately 20 vacant houses of Atta Abad Village slide and fell over the Sarat Village in the low lying area, inhabited by some families. Due to land sliding, River Hunza is partially and Karakurram Highway is completely blocked. Since the area was declared disaster prone, therefore, some 103 families of Atta Abad village were already evacuated and shifted to a safer place. Due to inclement weather conditions and dust/debris on the site, the numbers of causalities could not be ascertained, however, large numbers of causalities are not feared keeping in view of the precautionary measures already undertaken by local authorities and prompted by the NDMA.

NDMA is closely monitoring the situation and is keeping liaise with all concerned authorities to minimize losses of lives and properties and alleviate the sufferings of the affectees.



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