Disaster Risk Management Needs Report 2012
Climate change is raising the frequency and scale of disasters. This is having an enormous impact on already disaster prone countries such as Pakistan, made vulnerable by its extreme climatic zones, its eroding coastline and the volatile River Indus, which stretches from north to south of the country. Pakistan is affected by landslides, earthquakes, hill torrents, monsoons, flooding and cyclones; the Northern Areas (Gilgit Baltistan) of the country are affected by frequent avalanches also. More than thirty million people have been affected by disasters in Pakistan over the past three years. These disasters have led to large scale temporary population dislocation, the loss of major state infrastructure, exacerbated existing gaps in educational and health services and ultimately led to increased levels of poverty and a reduction in living standards.
The series of repeated large scale disasters experienced in Pakistan has forced changes at both policy level and in the development of institutional infrastructure working in this area. This is in the form of the National Disaster Risk Management Framework (NDRMF), the establishment of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the establishment of Provincial / Regional Disaster Management Authorities (P/RDMAs) and the set up of District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) across Pakistan. This report analyzes the findings compiled from a series of nine consultative workshops held in Muzaffarabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Multan, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Islamabad to identify and prioritize the needs of PDMAs and DDMAs. The objective of this analysis is to highlight key areas for further investment to feed into future planning and strategy.
The central findings of this report show that R/PDMAs and DDMAs require significant investment in capacity building in terms of policy guidance, information management systems, communication systems, equipment, software and technical expertise. This investment is particularly needed at the level of DDMAs being the first line of response, the central means of information collection and dissemination and the implementing arm of Pakistan’s disaster management structure.
There are also significant variations in the development, efficiency and expertise of disaster management institutions and services between the regions/provinces. The structure is relatively developed in Punjab and KP having systems and technical expertise for emergency response. Punjab has set up the Punjab Emergency Response Service (PES) , which has greatly enhanced coverage and response times. In other regions / provinces such as Gilgit Baltistan (GB) this structure is at the skeletal / planning stage with the Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA) requiring major investment in capacity building.
Apart from the need for capacity building and the set up of better early warning systems, other institutions such as PDMAs in Sindh and Balochistan have more stressed the need for research studies into the affects of climate change on coastal erosion and better systems to monitor these changes.
Ultimately all authorities in Pakistan’s disaster infrastructure need to improve systems of information sharing, best practices and communications.
This means improving the flow of information not only between provinces / regions but also from national level to provincial / regional level to district level. This will improve policy implementation and enable those at the national, provincial and district level to make better-informed decisions in the areas of both planning and implementation.
The key points that surfaced during this process include;
Knowledge mapping and development of multi hazard profiles and vulnerability and risk assessments along with attached risks for every District. The detailed Multi-Hazard Vulnerability and Risk Assessments (MHVRAs) at district level would provide a base on which layer of DRM Plans can be developed corresponding to the ground realities. Though it is understandable that the needs identified from MHVRAs at District level cannot be totally catered for by the resources available, however the pi- can be carried in a few of the most vulnerable districts to get an idea of the level of needs.
Streamlining Land Records for reducing the disaster threats by addressing the issues of encroachment and damage to the ecology of the region. This entails not only computerizing the land records but also working towards appropriate landuse planning and allocation of land, conservation of waterways, clearing of natural drains, and ensuring that all infrastructures are maintained and protected.
Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) into development process with special emphasis on Community Based Disaster Risk Management & School Safety Programme.
Installation and strengthening of Early Warning Systems (EWS) for tropical cyclones, floods, drought and tsunamis.
Develop capacities of line departments / administration to carry out search, rescue and relief activities by institutionalizing a mechanism in the form of creating a Disaster Response Force with a mix of professionals and volunteers. To do so there is a need to deploy well trained full time employees at District level along with creation and strengthening of organized network of youth and volunteers to support the government and communities when required.
Special emphasis needs to be given to R/PMDAs in order to develop them as a strong implementing agency for DRM interventions. Subsequently the R/PDMAs further need to work on capacity building of DDMAs along with allocations of funds for DRM from District Resources.
Assessment of suitable locations and construction of adequately sized and durable warehouses to facilitate easy access to emergency relief items.
Capacitate District level organizations in management of relief goods and supplies, organizing the movement of communities, setting up and managing camps, ensuring supplies to camps, identifying camp needs and preferences, inventory management and linkages with non-government partners, individuals etc.
Construction of critical community based disaster mitigation infrastructure along with much needed community physical infrastructure damaged in 2010-11 floods.
The development of Risk Transfer Mechanisms i.e. insurance schemes to minimize the long-term negative impact of disasters on both urban and rural livelihoods.
Emphases needs to given to adopt possible measures to conserve energy at all levels, and use all available sources to enhance production of energy.