The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa faces a range of natural hazards which include; floods, flash floods, seismic activity, along the mountainous north and west, and land sliding as well as prolonged spells of impoverishing droughts in the arid zones of the province. The occurrence of such disasters cause massive losses in lives and livelihood, which tend to retard economic growth. Reactive disaster management and emergency response system exacerbates hazard impact.
PDMA has initiated a process of introducing proactive preparedness regime under guidelines established by NDMA for streamlining response at provincial and district levels in coordination with all relevant stakeholders. This process, i.e. contingency planning for major hazards, shall enable initiation of requisite mitigation measures and to under-take a coordinated response to minimize loss of life and property in the events of a disasters. It is stakeholders’ inclusive exercise that takes stock of what exists in terms of plans and resources, hazards analysis to determine the likely relief caseloads as a planning assumption. Strategies, objectives, role and coordination aspects of stakeholders are defined. Winter contingency planning constitutes the first exercise in this regard which will be followed by similar exercises for monsoon based hazards, droughts, earthquakes and industrial / Technical hazards to facilitate preparation of national disaster preparedness and response plan by the end of 2019.
Winter hazards occurring through November to March are accentuated by heavy precipitation in the upper mountainous regions of the province. Snow avalanches and landslides either target vulnerable communities or isolate them by severing communication. Heavy rains can also cause flash floods in the catchment areas and semi-mountainous regions. Poor first responders and local response capacities and insufficiency in logistic resources for early access to disaster prone communities in remote mountainous regions, or for reopening severed land routes further aggravate the situation. Winter emergency scenarios are based on last thirty years precipitation data. These are compared with the assessed precipitation forecast of the winter months furnished by PMD and international research institutes. Planning for winter emergencies caters for the worst case scenario. Besides, latent socio-economic poverty, degree of vulnerability to hazards, scale and scope of risks, historical precedence, remoteness of hazard prone regions, inadequacy of local coping mechanisms are the key criterion in determining the likely affected and vulnerable population. Resource mapping of the district administrations generally indicates sufficiency in meeting shelter, NFI and emergency food needs but would require situation based support in emergency healthcare, reopening of remote roads, restoring potable water sources and livelihood.
Based on the emerging situations, response to a major disaster would entail deployment of Rapid Response Force for search and rescue operations and also to provide immediate relief and emergency healthcare. Aviation assets to provide aerial relief, PKHA, C&W, NHA, NLC, FWO and Pak Army, and will be mobilized for early restoration of road communication. Emergency Relief Cell transports shelter, food and NFI utilizing PAF strategic airlift assets, if required. NLC resources can also be deployed to augment land based relief efforts. WAPDA, PTCL and SNGPL restore essential telecommunication and energy services and Health Department bolsters health response and deploys capacities to preempt onset of epidemics. Department of Social Welfare mobilizes resources for restoring livelihood of vulnerable communities and PDMA will constitutes the focal point for handling donor support, consistent with national polices, and also for securing access to Chitral through Afghan territory, consistent with agreed arrangements.