Disaster Risk Reduction in Pakistan: The Contribution of DEC Member Agencies, 2010-2012
The Pakistan floods 2010 was one of the biggest disasters ever with almost 20 million people affected. Besides the slow response, the absence of comprehensive DRR and preparedness mechanisms in the country was also a major factor that caused the large-scale destruction. The DEC launched an appeal within the UK on August 2, 2010 which mobilized more than GBP 70 million for relief and recovery work. Besides the direct expenditure on DRR activities, expenditures on other sectors also contributed to DRR outcomes. In order to review the extent to which member agencies succeeded in enhancing community resilience, the DEC commissioned a research study in June 2012 to review the nature, strengths and weaknesses of the national DRR system in Pakistan, the extent to which DEC member agencies contributed to DRR outcomes through their program, advocacy and coordination work and the lessons and recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of DRR work in Pakistan. The study reviewed key government and agency documents, interviewed DEC member agency and partner staff and undertook focus group discussions with men, women and children in 7 communities in southern Sindh district.
The study reveals that while the government has instituted a comprehensive DRR governance system in Pakistan on paper, in reality the system suffers from a lack of political commitment, funding, skilled human resources, and coordination and suffers from fragmentation, and overlapping and unclear mandates among government agencies horizontally and vertically. The system is especially weak the local district levels where the bulk of implementation occurs. The national DRR system also focuses mainly on response and ignores other more sustainable and durable dimensions of DRR, such as prevention and mitigation which can address the root causes of disaster risk within the country, which because of its geographical diversity is vulnerable to a large range of physical hazards, such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and cyclones. Government programs and policies often end up reducing people’s resilience by increasing their exposure to physical hazards. The malpractices of local elites reduce people’s access to resources and information and increase their exposure to physical hazards.