26-27th June 2013
The National Disaster Management Authority, as part of its annual National preparedness and contingency planning exercise for monsoon season organized a two days National Conference on 26th and 27th June 2013 at National Library Auditorium Islamabad. This conference was a culmination of an exhaustive preparedness exercise initiated in March 2013 by NDMA whereby the provincial PDMAs led the preparation of Contingency plans at district levels with primary focus on highly vulnerable districts and areas. The provincial PDMAs assimilated the district plans as well as the plans of the Line departments into comprehensive provincial contingency plans.
Major General Saeed Aleem – Chairman NDMA emphasized on the need for strengthening the district disaster management system which is the actual implementation level and urged the stakeholders for Contingency planning to be able to tackle any likely scenario while be prepared for the worst case scenario based on our past experiences, in his opening remarks. He also informed that as part of our long term planning we need to emphasize on undertaking disaster risk reduction measures and our National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy signifies our focus on risk reduction. Moreover the NDMA has also formulated National Disaster Management Plan with ten priorities, 118 specific projects at an estimated cost of US$ 1 Billion to be implemented over the next ten years. The successful implementation of the plan would enhance resilience of our nation.
The provincial and regional disaster management authorities including PDMAs Punjab, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh, AJ&K , Gilgit Baltistan , FATA and Islamabad Capital Territory presented their plans with all stakeholders during the first day of National Conference. The PDMAs while giving details of their plans containing information on vulnerable areas and communities, roles and responsibilities of different responders, coordination mechanisms , possible scenarios and corresponding case loads, available relief stocks , their prepositioning and efforts for further stock piling, gaps and challenges were also highlighted.
Earlier the Pakistan Meteorological Department presented the weather forecast/ outlook for monsoon season 2013. The forecasts suggested +- 10% normal rainfall during the monsoon season and predicting below normal rainfall during July slightly above normal rainfall during August and expectations of more than normal rainfall during the month of September, particularly in Punjab and Sindh. However it did not rule out the possibility of extreme events, particularly hill torrents in Koh-e- Sulaiman Range. Moreover the possibility of riverine floods can also not be ruled out as per PMD. SUPARCO also gave presentation on the situation likely to be created due to melting of glaciers and heavy snowfall received during winters earlier.
The Federal Flood Commission apprised the participants on the state of repair / maintenance, reconstruction of damaged flood protection infrastructure in the wake of floods 2010, 2011 and 2012. FFC informed that a lot of investment has been made in strengthening the flood protection infrastructure and gave satisfaction to the participants that despite excessive snow melt,the situation is likely to remain under control. It also informed that the work on Preparation of National Flood Protection Plan- IV (2014-24) had been initiated.
At the end of the first day fruitful discussion was held and the stakeholders were emphasized on filling the gaps and resolution of issues with enhanced coordination.
On the second day of the National conference the Federal agencies including WAPDA, Pakistan Army, National Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Network , Emergency Relief Cell of Cabinet Division, Pakistan Commission for Indus Waters, National Highway Authority, Pakistan Railways, National Logistics Cell (NLC) and Punjab Emergency Services informed the participants through detailed presentation, regarding their preparedness level and measures undertaken to meet any likely situation during upcoming monsoon season.
Pakistan Red Crescent Society also informed the participants of their past contributions, mechanisms, their resources and capacities to assist the National Disaster Management Authority and the government in any likely disaster situation in the entire country.
The United Nations office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) presented the Contingency plans and preparations of the UN agencies and Humanitarian community including Pakistan Humanitarian Forum representing International NGOs and National Humanitarian Forum representing National NGOs. The UN and the Humanitarian community informed that they are ready to assist the government in any disaster situation in all sectors of relief and response including food, shelter, health, water and sanitation and logistics as and when the National Disaster Management Authority, Government of Pakistan makes a request for International Community’s assistance.
The UNRC ,Mr.Timo Pakkala in his remarks appreciated the efforts of NDMA, PDMAs and all government departments for formulation of their plans and timely preparedness measures. He assured of all possible assistance to the Government of Pakistan.
The Chairman NDMA in his concluding remarks emphasized on the NDMA’s particularly the District authorities to resolve all pending issues, strengthen coordination mechanisms and to continue their preparedness in future as well. He also informed that based on the consultations and inputs from the stakeholders in the conference, the national plan will be finalized.