MIRPUR - Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has emphasized the need for public awareness and the utilization of modern technology to reduce human and material losses in natural calamities.

He expressed these views in a message issued late Wednesday on 15th anniversary of October 08, 2005 deadly earthquake, being observed across country. “The catastrophic earthquake of October 8, 2005, was a warning that we should prepare ourselves to respond to such disasters and invest in disaster prevention measures to ensure that crisis like October 8, 2005 is not repeated,” he added.

Sardar Masood Khan said that millions of lives could be saved through preemptive measures to respond to natural calamities.

He maintained that successive governments including the present state government with the cooperation of the federal government have diligently worked for the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by the earthquake fifteen years back.

Saying that we must constantly revise and update disaster preparedness and risk mitigation plans in disaster-prone areas of the state to ensure the best response to unforeseen calamities, the President said people in vulnerable areas must be provided basic awareness related to precautionary measures that can be taken for their safety.

AJK President said in spite of resource constraint, 72 percent projects have been accomplished in quake-hit districts while working on 12 percent ongoing projects will be completed shortly. Similarly, he added that construction work on the remaining 16 percent projects will be started soon.

The State President said that with the consultation of the natural disaster management agencies and the experts, the new constructions have been made quake proof in order to save human lives. At the same time, he said that it was also necessary to create awareness among the people about the natural calamities on the one hand, and to utilize modern technology on the other in order to minimize losses of men and material.

He further stated that unfortunately, Azad Kashmir was a disaster prone and therefore, agencies like the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) side by side with hammering out a comprehensive policy to respond to the potential dangers and risks, will also have to pay attention to prepare people to respond to disasters.

The state president said that earthquakes, floods in monsoon season and land sliding and avalanches have become a routine and the government and its various departments are fully aware of the need for successfully responding to disasters, and necessary measures are being taken in this regard.