Timely response to a disaster may save precious human lives and reduce economic costs. However, natural disasters, typically, occur unexpectedly. Consequently, in most cases, the afflicted population lacks the necessary tools and capacity to handle such tragic occurrences and the devastation is manifold more than it should be.
“Before the next disaster hits, now is the time to recommit to making smart investments that save lives, property, and money. Whether at home or abroad, measures to improve response, increase disaster management capacity, plan and prepare, can have dramatic dividends.” (Kasey Channell: Acting Director of the Disaster Response Team for USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.) It is so true, as preparation for unexpected calamities is a tough task. However, if certain precautions are taken, they might lessen the overall damage. This series of district profiles, prepared by iMMAP and funded by USAID, is one such effort to enhance Government of Pakistan, humanitarian organizations and all other stakeholders’ efforts towards rapid needs assessment, disaster response and mitigation.
These profiles are divided into four sections namely background information, disaster history and its impact, hazard vulnerability and capacity assessment (HVCA) and coordination and support services.Background information provides an overview of history, geography, culture, and communication infrastructure. It also provides detailed analyses of demography, livelihood, food security, health and education. The second section provides detailed history of disasters in the district; information about losses and damages; and gap analyses of above mentioned sectors. HVCA section provides detailed analyses of district hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities that exist in the local community. Coordination and support services section gives information on whom to contact in emergency/disaster situations. The motivation stems from the idea that at the time of disaster all the stakeholders in general and the donors and disaster managers in particular can have a fair idea of what to expect and how to prepare for. It is expected that this contribution of USAID and iMMAP would lead to a well-coordinated and coherent response by different humanitarian organizations on managing similar disasters.
Having stated the above, it is very candidly admitted that these profiles are by no means exhaustive and in fact require a lot more input to qualify these as good enough documents for disaster preparedness. However, these are live documents and would be improved upon as and when required. There appears to be an element of repetition, which is owed to the fact that while these documents depict the district profiles in normal circumstances, the same then provide a detail account of the impact of the 2010/2011 floods, the assistance provided by the government and the humanitarian organizations and the remaining gaps. Due to time and resources constraints, the information provided in these profiles is mainly base on secondary source data. Depending on the end users’ response and funding availability, this exercise would be extended to other districts of the country