Flaws in Disaster Management Framework in Pakistan

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Flaws in Disaster Management Framework in Pakistan

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was established on August 17, 2007 to cope with natural disasters and all other calamities in the country. The need of institution on federal level was greatly felt after October 2005 earthquake in northern areas of the country. Prior to NDMA disaster management authorities were present on provincial level only. In 1974 national disaster plan was drafted by the Federal Emergency Relief Cell for the first time in history of Pakistan. The plan envisaged procedures, organizational structures, responding agencies and procedures for monitoring relief operations but unfortunately it never materialized beyond the papers on which it was written.

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Flaws in Pakistan Disaster Management Framework

flaws in disaster management framework in pakistan

Since the institution is relatively new as on federal basis it came into being only thirteen years ago so it has many flaws in its framework and working structure. Some of the major flaws in disaster management framework in Pakistan are given below.

Like many other similar institutions in the country the department of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is also facing the problem of exquisite shortage of fund. This is either due to the menace of corruption that the country is facing since its inception or due to the lack of government interest in this particular sector.

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The immediate effect of the lack of adequate fund is the acute shortage of advance machines, vehicles, tools and equipments for the department to deal with disasters properly. We are also facing the problem of less number of branches at local levels particularly in remote hill areas of the country.

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Another major flaw in the disaster management framework in Pakistan is the lack of skilled and trained workers. Employees particularly in rescue and fire extinguishing department have very basic knowledge and unaware of the advance techniques. 

Our rescue workers mostly rely on old and outdated methods of rescue. They have only basic knowledge of disaster management and mostly unaware of modern techniques and procedures. One famous example of this flaw is the Bahawalpur oil tanker explosion incident that happened in June 2017 where the rescuers were using water to extinguish the fire while in other parts of the world Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) is used.

Unlike rest of the world we also do not possess any proper system for early informing the public about an upcoming disaster. Due to this reason every year an estimated three million people are affected by floods and other similar calamities in Pakistan according to World Bank report. Similarly an estimated 1.2 billion to 1.8 billion dollars economic loss the country also faces each year, the World Bank report says. Aside from this we also face the loss of hundreds important lives and billion dollars infrastructure devastation each year.    

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And last but not the least the rate of action of disaster management authority in the country is very slow. Because of this reason we often face huge economic and infrastructure loss.

All these flaws are self made and they can be easily overcome by taking the following steps.

The allocation of enough fund to allow the department to enhance its capabilities by purchasing new machineries, vehicles and required tools.

The use of advance machines by trained employees is another important step that should be taken to overcome flaws in the framework of disaster management in Pakistan.

The establishment of a proper broadcasting system to inform public on time of an upcoming disaster is the need of time in the country.

Similarly there is a dire need of the development of the branches at local levels particularly in rural hill areas of the country.

By taking the above mentioned important steps the government can easily overcome flaws in the disaster management framework. Pakistan is prone to both natural and manmade disasters and calamities and our focus therefore should be on disaster risk reduction rather than disaster management.

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