ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq has stated that the disaster management system in Pakistan is witnessing a transition from a reactive to a proactive approach.

The caretaker prime minister, in a message on October 8th when the earthquake struck the country, said that National Resilience Day is marked on 8th October to pay tribute to the people of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, who have borne the brunt of harrowing disasters. It serves as a stark reminder that we reside in a region profoundly susceptible to calamities.

Pakistan ranks as one of the most-vulnerable countries declared by the Climate Risk Index. We have witnessed a series of natural catastrophes in the shape of earthquakes, floods, GLOF events, scorching heat waves and forest fires - exacting a toll on the precious lives as well as billions of dollars lost to infrastructure.

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On this day, he said we aim to raise awareness on the devastating impacts of climate change-induced disasters with a special focus on disaster resilience.

Last year, once again, Pakistan bore the brunt of a climate-induced catastrophe in the form of unprecedented floods.

The province of Sindh and parts of the province of Balochistan suffered the most. One third of the country was submerged with toll staggering over 1,700 precious lives lost, 12,867 injured, and 33 million lives forever altered. Over a million valued livestock perished, and four million acres of vital crops lie ruined. The communication grid lay in tatters. The federal and provincial governments, marshaled every resource within grasp - financial, administrative, and organisational - for the rescue and relief of our affected citizens.

Disaster management system in Pakistan is witnessing a transition from a reactive to a proactive approach. This signifies a crucial shift in how we collectively respond to unforeseen crises. Previously, the focus was primarily on reacting to emergencies after they occurred, often resulting in significant loss of life and property. However, with advancements in technology and a deeper understanding of natural phenomena, Pakistan is moving towards a proactive approach. This involves establishment of a modern National Emergencies Operation Center (NEOC) at NDMA. The NEOC has the capacity to create common operating picture enabled by multiple satellite feeds, software, Artificial Intelligence tools that shall strengthen digital risk assessment, early warning systems, and preparedness strategies.

He said that today, we have a robust institutional structure for disaster management in the form of NDMA and PDMAs. We now need to strengthen the disaster management system at the district level to evolve as the actual implementing bodies of Disaster Risk Reduction Policy and plans at the local level.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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