KARACHI - Speakers at a seminar titled “Is Karachi prepared to face the ravages of an impending earthquake?,” urged the national relief agencies to devise a coordinated mechanism to deal with natural calamities and other disasters.

The seminar was organised by Students Social Welfare Society of Commecs Institute of Business and Emerging Sciences (CIBES) at the institute campus, recently. The seminar was well-attended by civil society members, government officials, students and others.

Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui said the government in collaboration with other aid agencies is striving to minimise losses in case any major disaster strikes the province.

“We have continuously been holding meetings with other civic authorities, including Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Clifton Cantonment Board, Defense Housing Authority (DHA), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and other organisations to gather all the resources under one roof to cope up with cyclone, floods and fire tragedy,” he added.

He said it is the need of the hour to develop coordination among government and other aid agencies, media and civil society to deal with catastrophes and other incidents.

He said the government has taken professionals on board in this regard, adding that relief workers would be provided training at the rescue service center of KMC.

In his keynote address CIBES Director Arif Dosal, informed the gathering that earthquakes had low predictability and said both the citizens and the authorities concerned must prepare themselves before a natural disaster. For the former, he highlighted the urgent need to inculcate within ourselves a sense of responsible construction. In this regard, he referred to building quake resistant structures. He also urged the youth to train themselves in first aid and fire-fighting techniques in order to deal with emergencies efficiently. He also called for reduction of potential safety hazards within our homes, and keeping fire extinguishers and medical kits.

Owais Tohid, senior journalist highlighting the role of media said media acts as a watchdog in case of any disaster or natural calamity. He said media could play a pivotal role in collaboration with governmental and non-governmental relief organisations to minimise damages. “Pre-disaster information should be disseminated among masses to prepare them to deal with natural calamities and disasters,” he said.

Ajay Kumar of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) informed the audience about the measures taken by the authority to deal with disasters in the province. He said PDMA has devised a proper mechanism to cope with disasters. He said NDMA was formed after 2005 earthquake under NDMA Act-2010.

“It has also collaborated with other relief organisations,” he said. Kashmore, Ghotki, Shikarpur, Kandhkot are the most vulnerable districts of the Sindh, he said, adding that the province has been frequently facing natural disasters for last five years.

Sohail Gadiwali, Deputy Director Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics said Karachi lies on the fault line but the degree of danger is less as compared to other parts of the country. Athar Jamal of Aman Foundation and others also spoke on the occasion.

Prof Sarosh Hashmat Lodi Dean Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture, NED University, talked about his yearlong research related to sensitivity of an Impending Earthquake in Karachi City and the role of Pakistan Meteorological Department to identify various Earthquake threats of Karachi. He was also accompanied by Mr. Tauseef Alam a Chief Meteorological Department.

Athar Jamal from Aman Foundation gave his reviews about difference rescue services in the city. His presentation focused on the lack of resources especially in terms of medical emergency management and ambulatory logistics. He proposed that connected agencies should have an interwoven plan to deal with emergencies.