Speakers for community engagement in disaster management

ISLAMABAD – National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Thursday organised a one-day national seminar titled ‘Towards a Disaster Resilient Pakistan’ to express solidarity with victims of the 2005 earthquake and all past disasters. 

According to a NDMA statement, in order to commemorate the National Resilience Day, a day-long seminar titled ‘Towards a Disaster Resilient Pakistan’ was organised by NDMA in collaboration with UNDP and ADPC.

The seminar was aimed at providing a platform to create and develop a relevant dialogue focused on climate change, disaster management role of humanitarian communities and coping with health emergencies. It also emphasised the importance of community engagement, risk awareness and role of media with regard to disaster management. 

At the opening session Chairman NDMA Lt Gen Akhter Nawaz Satti welcomed all participants/attendees and highlighted the importance of the day. He specially mentioned Thursday’s 5.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Harnai area of Balochistan at 0300am and said, “We share the grief of the families who lost their loved ones and those injured. Rescue and relief activities have already started.” 

The NDMA chairman also paid homage to the victims of all past disasters, especially the victims of the shocking earthquake of October 8 2005. He also mentioned that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that disruptions in our social and economic routines have far-reaching consequences. 

Minister for Planning and Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar was the chief guest on the occasion. In his address he said, “I still remember the enormous response of the nation after the October 8 2005 earthquake. No one was concerned about the sect and religion of the affected people, everyone was concerned about them as brothers and sisters.” 

The minister said that we need to understand that the negative impacts of climate change will not stop here but grow immensely. “We need to work on mitigation of disasters with emphasis on preparedness. We especially need to strengthen the provincial and local disaster management authorities,” he said. 

Speaking on the occasion Javed Jabbar, former minister for information and broadcasting, appreciated the spirit and resilience of the Pakistani nation and said that Pakistan was born resilient.

Syed Fakher Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, said that we need to take serious and responsible actions as we take during emergencies, for that we need to put consolidated efforts as a nation.

The chief guest of the closing session, Dr. Faisal Sultan emphasised on the preparedness phase and said that if more pandemics and epidemics may come, we need to bring reforms to strengthen our health sectors. Good governance and coordination among organisations is a must factor to deal with disasters and health emergencies. 

Other speakers included Julien Harnies. UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Dr. Abid Qayyum Sulehri Executive Director (SDPI), Ms Huma Chughtai, Barrister Saad Rasool, Maj Gen Amir Ikram NIH, Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, Dr Sarosh Hashmi Lodhi VC NED Karachi, Dr Farrukh SUPARO, Prof Dr. Ahmed Ali Gul UMT Lahore, Dr Shahzad Ali Khan Dean & VC Health Services Academy, and Dr Muhammad Umar VC Rawalpindi Medical University.

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