Injecting NDMA with required skills
PAKISTAN IS one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. This realization got intensified after the 2005 massive earthquake that had hit Azad Kashmir and adjoining parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province leaving around 200,000 people dead and turning a number of cities into ruins. Though the response from the Pakistan Army, NGOs and the general public in terms of rescue operations was quick, yet the coordination among the government departments was a complete failure. This had prompted the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in 2007 aimed at minimising the damage and rehabilitation of people to their normal state in case of any natural disaster in future. However, the level of skilled response to the climate change-related disasters like cyclones, tsunami, floods, droughts, earthquakes and volcanoes is yet to be achieved. The heavy floods of 2010 had exposed the NDMAs unpreparedness and frail management resulting in unprecedented proportion of losses and damages both men and material. Funds paucity, lack of required disaster management skills and weak coordination are few potent factors behind the NDMA for not delivering up to the mark. In addition, the inability to install effective NDMA setups in province level and failure to maintain the stocks of items required for emergencies added to this mess during catastrophes. The funds critical shortage as well as inappropriate management skill subsequently make the provincial governments again remain dependent on humanitarian funding from donors who have increasingly shown less interest in supporting disaster relief in Pakistan. Since, the magnitude of implications is too heavy to bear; the efficient disaster management comes, on the priority, second to none of other needs. Therefore, it is necessary to formulate an organised disaster management system to cope with disasters that may break out in future. Similarly, Pakistan comes in the fault line and occurrence of natural catastrophes in the country is not out of question. The complete overhaul in the NDMAs operational structure is desperately needed to effectively handle any future natural disasters so that heavy losses of both men and material are minimized significantly. At the same time, the government is required to create skilled jobs in NDMA that would ultimately create interest among the general masses who, though always remain ready to extend cooperation in the hour of need, yet in a disorganized manner. Pakistan, which is already facing a multiple crisis, can no more bear any crisis. However, only skilled disaster management can minimise the losses.