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Forming A Sustainable Disaster Management Policy in Pakistan

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The best Disaster Management practices lead to lasting solutions to natural calamities and create resilience among the communities. Unfortunately, In Pakistan, poor planning, inactiveness of the Institutions and poorly trained Disaster Management officials make the manageable Circumstances into Unmanageable one due to incompetence.

Pakistan has experienced various huge  disasters in the history  -be  it Earth Quake of  8th October 2005 , that hit the major parts of  Azad Kashmir  and  the capital of the country  ,killing 100s  of  people  and  hundreds of  people  were injured  , Hundreds of people  became  homeless since their  Houses turned into debris  by the  massive  earth  Quake  . This was the big ask for the Fragile Disaster Management Practices since there was no any institute or body to mitigate such High-level destruction.

These Grave Circumstances prompted the Government to establish the Earth Quake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA).  The ERRA contained professionals mainly from Pakistan Army since Our nation always looks toward the army in times of  Disasters as our brave soldiers rush to rescue, relief, and rehabilitate the communities.

The army Officers possess the high level of experience in disaster management and are always ready to help the Government in extenuating disasters. ERRA has done the marvellous job in rebuilding the demolished houses, roads and other structures. They also introduced various disaster Resistant technologies after researching the conditions for shelters and infrastructure.

The Super floods of 2010 also spread widespread destruction of crops, houses, industries and loss of hundreds of people. The Super  Floods affected various Parts of Punjab such as (Muzaffargarh, Raheem Yar Khan, Rajanpur), Parts of  Baluchistan and Major parts of  Sindh  Including  18 Districts of Sindh which were directly hit by the Floods. The District Kashmore was severely hit as the Tori Embankment is situated in the District. The Super Floods were caused due to overtopping of Indus river caused breach in the weak Tori dyke.

The River Indus inundated hundreds of Acres of Agricultural Land. People Stranded in the various places as the Breach occurred in the late Night when people were asleep and they were not aware of such breaking of the Dyke. The Super Floods were caused by the Heavy Rains in KP, Punjab that caused Flash Floods that engulfed entire Pakistan.

Pakistan Metrological Department had issued Flood warnings to the people given the heavy rains recorded above 7.9 inches. The Rainwater destroyed roads, bridges, Communication, Electric Supply and uprooted Trees.

The Repercussions were very intense owing to being Hilly area and the water was flowing like the bullet inflicted collateral damage to properties. The rains also hit the Parts of Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan bringing misery in the areas.

The UN  Secretary General Ban Kay Moon termed the Flooding as the biggest  Disaster he had ever seen and submitted his appeal for relief and  Rehabilitation to the  UN member Countries as the damage was too big for Pakistan to mitigate.

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That was the time when disaster Management services were felt. The Govt of Pakistan thought over the establishment of  Disaster Management Authority to help Government Make the Contingency plans to fight existing and  Future Disasters.

The  Rain Floods of 2011, The frequent Rain floods in Baluchistan due to monsoon rains, Earth Quake of  Awaran Baluchistan 2013 warrant to have  Proper  Disaster Management Policy to alleviate  Natural Calamities in a proper way.  There is a need of establishing Disaster Risk Management fund at Provincial Level and District level to help provide relief to the affectees on time. Though, it has been established at National Level with the assistance of  Asian Development Bank.

The National Disaster Management Authority was established after provision of National Disaster Act 2010 by the Parliament to mitigate the Disasters and making contingency plans for catastrophes with the approval of NDMC (National Management Council) headed by PM.

The NDMA is headed by the chairman mostly from the army. It would be more effective if the chairman should be from the Development sector as they have great Training in Disaster Management and Other  Field Level Activities. The development sector organizations express their reservations to interact with military leadership.   The  NDMA act must create room for a civilian chairman who can steer the goals of Apex  Disaster Management Authority.  The NDMA  may be given the Financial Freedom to carry out rescue, relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation initiatives on its own and the Government should play the role of the Monitor or supervisor.

The Establishment of NDMA is not sufficient but giving it financial freedom and proper Human resource is very necessary. NDMA must hold various Seminars at Federal Level to create awareness amongst the people and encourage them to strengthen their resilience in case of Natural Disasters especially those people who are frequently hit by natural disasters or prone to natural disasters such as the areas of KPK, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. Especially, Thar Desert of Sindh where drought, famine and Epidemics have engulfed the poor Tharies and so far, both the Federal and Provincial Governments have failed to assess the level of damage and mitigate such high level of Natural Calamity.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authorities of the provinces have no coordination among them in times of Disasters including NDMA that has created a great vacuum for intervention in the affected areas for both Government and Development partners.

The Development partners have the greater role as they had shown in the earthquake of 2005, Super Floods of 2010, Rain Floods of 2011 and Earth Quake of  2013 resulting (80% of destruction in Awaran District ) of Baluchistan.

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Instead of shedding tears and clamouring for  The Help from International community, we need to develop a viable disaster Management Policy and  Disaster Risk Reduction Policy so that that the damages may be minimised at a massive level.

There is a strong need of Restructuring Disaster Management Services at District Level. The District Disaster Management Authority is headed by District Council Chairman and Its Members include DCs/DCOs, SSP, District Head of Health Department.  It is missing the key departments in case of flooding or rain emergency such as Irrigation, Agriculture, Works and Services Department, District Food Controllers, Social Welfare Department, Population Welfare and Information department.

The Deputy Director /Manager of grade 17/18 officer from the  Civil Services, PMS or Other departments may be appointed on deputation or Permanent basis to head DDMA and carry out its work smoothly since DCs /DCOs are career Civil servants and they get overburdened in times of Disasters. The Proper DDMA chief will make detailed Contingency Plans for Rain or Flood Emergency plans and appraise the District and Provincial Governments to take necessary arrangements ahead of such happenings.

The DDMA must include INGOs/NGOs, CBOs, Philanthropists, Educators and others so that an effective Plan may be chalked out.

There is also need of establishing Taluka Disaster Management Committees, UC Disaster Management    Committees and Cluster Village Committees with the inclusion of Local Government representatives and Village Heads so that Disaster Management network may be strengthened.

The establishment of Provincial Disaster Management Institutes (PDMI)  in Every Provincial Head Quarter is imperative in order to impart disaster Management training to the Public Sector, Private Sector People of the respective province. The civil servants must have compulsory training in disaster management.

The NDMI (National Disaster Management Institute) is doing a great job in imparting Training to the Government officers, Private Sector and Development partners. It was also a welcome initiative to establish a National Disaster Risk Management Fund with Assistance from Asian Development.

It is imperative to devolve it at Provincial Level and District level so that the interventions in the disaster-affected areas may be initiated on time. It is accepted truth that disasters bring misery to the hustling-bustling cities and convert them into debris but with the proper disaster management policy, we may be able to mitigate the effects, create resilience and rehabilitate the affectees in a proper way.

The current PTI Government is well aware of the importance of Disaster Management and they need to frame the sustainable Disaster Management Policy in consultation with Policy Think tanks such as SDPI, IPS.SPDC, PILER and NDMI so that future disasters can be prevented and professionally mitigated.

 

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Disaster Management

Mexico Braces for Devastation as Monster Hurricane Otis Makes Landfall

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PUERTO ESCONDIDO, Mexico – Hurricane Otis, a powerful Category 4 storm, made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific Coast on Wednesday, unleashing torrential rains, damaging winds, and a life-threatening storm surge. The hurricane, packing winds of 140 mph, made landfall near the town of Puerto Escondido, a popular tourist destination in the state of Oaxaca.

The storm’s arrival triggered widespread power outages and caused significant damage to infrastructure, including roads and bridges. Flooding was reported in several areas, with some residents forced to evacuate their homes.

Mexican authorities had urged residents in the hurricane’s path to take shelter and prepare for the storm’s impact. The government deployed emergency personnel and supplies to the affected regions.

Hurricane Otis is expected to weaken as it moves further inland, but it is still likely to bring heavy rains and strong winds to parts of central and eastern Mexico. The storm is forecast to dissipate by Friday.

Impact of Hurricane Otis

  • Widespread power outages
  • Damage to infrastructure, including roads and bridges
  • Flooding in several areas
  • Evacuations of residents

Response to Hurricane Otis

  • Mexican authorities urged residents to take shelter and prepare for the storm’s impact
  • Deployment of emergency personnel and supplies to affected regions

Forecast

  • Hurricane Otis is expected to weaken as it moves further inland
  • The storm is forecast to dissipate by Friday

Additional Information

  • Hurricane Otis is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Mexico since 2014
  • The storm is expected to cause significant economic losses in Mexico
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Analysis

Flooding: How Hong Kong’s Visionary Flood Control Failed the Test of Climate Change

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Introduction

In recent years, Hong Kong has faced the growing threat of climate change and its adverse effects. One area where this issue has become particularly apparent is in the city’s flood control measures. Despite being known for its visionary flood control systems, Hong Kong has struggled to cope with the increasing frequency and intensity of storms and rising sea levels brought on by climate change. This article delves into the reasons behind Hong Kong’s inability to withstand the test of climate change and the challenges it currently faces.

A Brief History of Hong Kong’s Flood Control Strides

Hong Kong has always been susceptible to flooding due to its mountainous terrain and dense urban development. In response to this vulnerability, the city implemented a series of innovative flood control measures in the past, which were seen as groundbreaking and visionary at the time. These included the construction of extensive drainage systems, sea walls, and reservoirs to divert water away from urban areas.

The Impact of Climate Change

However, despite these initial efforts, the impact of climate change has proven to be a game-changer for Hong Kong’s flood control infrastructure. Rising sea levels, more intense rainfall, and the increasing frequency of typhoons have overwhelmed the city’s existing systems. These once-thought-of visionary measures have fallen short in the face of these new challenges.

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Inadequate Planning and Infrastructure

One of the major contributing factors to Hong Kong’s failure to adapt its flood control measures to climate change is inadequate planning and infrastructure. The rapid urbanization and population growth over the past few decades have placed immense strain on the city’s infrastructure. The existing flood control systems were not designed to accommodate such a rapid expansion, leading to inefficient drainage and increased vulnerability to flooding.

Dependency on Hard Infrastructure

Another limitation of Hong Kong’s flood control measures is the heavy reliance on hard infrastructure, such as sea walls and drainage systems. While these structures might have been effective in the past, they are insufficient against the rising tides and unpredictable weather patterns that come with climate change. The lack of flexibility and adaptability built into the existing infrastructure has left Hong Kong ill-prepared to face the current challenges.

Land Reclamation and Environmental Consequences

Land reclamation, a common practice in Hong Kong, has also contributed to the failure of flood control measures. By filling in coastal areas to create more land for development, the natural flow of water is disrupted, exacerbating the likelihood of flooding during intense rainfall or storm events. Furthermore, the loss of natural wetlands and green spaces due to land reclamation removes crucial natural buffers that can absorb excess water.

The Need for Integrated Strategies

To overcome these challenges, Hong Kong urgently needs to adopt more comprehensive and integrated flood control strategies. This includes a shift towards nature-based solutions that work in harmony with the environment, such as restoring wetlands and preserving natural reservoirs. Emphasizing a holistic approach that combines green infrastructure with hard infrastructure is crucial in creating a more resilient flood control system.

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Collaborative Efforts and International Expertise

The task of revamping Hong Kong’s flood control measures requires collaborative efforts and the engagement of international expertise. Learning from the experiences of other cities that have successfully adapted their flood control systems to climate change, Hong Kong can gain valuable insights and innovative ideas to implement in its own context. Engaging with experts in the fields of climatology, urban planning, and infrastructure development will be instrumental in finding sustainable solutions.

Public Awareness and Adaptation

In addition to infrastructure improvements, fostering public awareness and adaptation is essential in mitigating the impacts of climate change on flood control. Educating citizens about the importance of sustainable development, promoting responsible land use practices, and encouraging personal measures like rainwater harvesting can collectively contribute to minimizing the risks posed by flooding.

Conclusion

Hong Kong’s visionary flood control measures, once groundbreaking, have struggled to withstand the test of climate change. The lack of adaptability, inadequate planning, and reliance on hard infrastructure have rendered the city vulnerable to the growing risks of flooding. However, with a shift towards integrated and nature-based solutions, collaborative efforts, and public engagement, Hong Kong can build a more resilient flood control system to protect its citizens and adapt to the challenges posed by climate change.

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Analysis

Devastating Severe Storms Lead to Flooding and Casualties in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria

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Introduction

In recent days, a series of severe storms has unleashed chaos and destruction, triggering widespread flooding and claiming multiple lives in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria. The combination of torrential rains, strong winds, and overflowing rivers has resulted in devastating consequences for these regions. This article aims to provide an overview of the situation, detailing the impact of the storms and the measures being taken to deal with the aftermath.

1. Greece

Greece has been severely affected by the intense storms, with several regions grappling with heavy rains and flash floods. The islands of Crete, Rhodes, and Kos have witnessed significant damage to infrastructure, as well as the loss of seven lives. Roads have been washed away, houses submerged, and vital services disrupted, leaving residents in distress. The Greek authorities have initiated rescue operations and are working tirelessly to provide relief to the affected areas.

2. Turkey

In Turkey, the storms have battered the western provinces, leading to widespread flooding and chaos. The cities of Izmir and Bursa have been particularly affected, with reports of seven fatalities and numerous injuries. The torrential downpour has caused rivers to overflow, inundating residential areas and causing significant damage to property and infrastructure. The Turkish government, in coordination with local authorities, has deployed emergency services to provide immediate assistance to those affected.

3. Bulgaria

Bulgaria has also been grappling with the aftermath of the severe storms, witnessing heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding in various parts of the country. Rivers burst their banks, submerging villages and towns, and leaving residents stranded. The region of Burgas experienced the brunt of the storms, forcing the evacuation of affected individuals. The Bulgarian authorities are working diligently to assess the damage and provide aid to those affected by the devastating floods.

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4. Relief Efforts and Future Preparedness

In response to these catastrophic events, all three countries have mobilized their emergency services and resources to ensure the safety and well-being of their citizens. Rescue teams, including firefighters, police, and volunteers, are working around the clock to evacuate stranded individuals and provide immediate assistance. Additionally, temporary shelters have been set up to accommodate those displaced by the floods.

To mitigate the impact of future storms, governments are also focusing on enhancing disaster preparedness and response mechanisms. Improving early warning systems, reinforcing infrastructure in flood-prone areas, and promoting community awareness about safety measures are among the important steps being taken.

Conclusion

The severe storms and subsequent flooding that have struck Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria have resulted in the loss of lives, extensive property damage, and brought immense hardship to the affected communities. The governments of these countries are working tirelessly to offer support and relief to those affected, while also taking measures to enhance their resilience in the face of natural disasters. As the affected regions start the long process of recovery, international assistance and solidarity are crucial in helping them rebuild their lives and restore normalcy.

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