ISLAMABAD - The government has decided to put the National Disaster Management Authority under the direct control of the Prime Minister’s Office with the main aim to remove bureaucratic hiccups coming in the way of efficiency and effectiveness of the authority.

Decision to this effect was made at the 5th meeting of National Disaster Management Commission held under the chair of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi here at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.

The meeting, which mainly discussed various proposals for capacity enhancement of the NDMA, underlined the need of authority’s placement under the direct control of the Prime Minister’s Office in order to overcome bureaucratic delays and improve efficiency and effectiveness of the body.

The meeting was attended by the leader of opposition in National Assembly, leader of opposition in Senate, minister for climate change, minister for defence, the foreign minister, minister for national food security and research, minister for water resources, adviser to PM for finance, MoS for information, broadcasting, NH&LH, governor Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan, prime minister AJK, minister for disaster management Punjab, minister for rehabilitation Sindh, the NDMA Chairman Lt-Gen Omar Mahmood Hayat and senior officials.

The NDMA chairman, presented an overview of disaster management context of the country, evolution of disaster management authority, achievements made so far and the challenges faced by the NDMA in responding to emergency situations and taking measures for disaster risk reduction and effective response mechanism.

He also apprised the meeting about the contributions of the NDMA towards providing relief and rescue efforts during emergencies in various foreign countries.

The prime minister in his remarks said that climate change coupled with various other factors had increased the frequency of disasters and therefore called for higher level of preparedness and institutional response to meet those challenges.

He said that past experience should be utilised to fine tune disaster management strategies and put in place an efficient and effective mechanism in line with best international practices. The meeting reviewed the progress on decisions of the previous NDMC meetings.

The meeting granted ex-post facto approval to the NDMC for compensation of Rs104.2 million to the victims of the LOC firing.  Relief/aid provided to the friendly countries during various disasters was also ratified during the meeting.

The meeting approved the Pakistan School Safety Framework (PSSF).

The framework would serve as a model for the provinces to ensure safety and disaster risk reduction.

The meeting also approved a proposal for putting in place cohesive disaster management legislation and institutional framework through merger, repealing or reconfiguring the existing laws and organisations related to the disaster management.

It was decided to create a model National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), as a pilot project, at the federal capital-level by utilising the human resource available with other organisations associated with disaster and relief management.

It was also decided to strengthen aviation wing of the Ministry of Interior for providing aviation support to the NDMA during its rescue and relief efforts.