Civic agencies unprepared to handle emergencies


The city’s civic agencies may not be able to cope with any natural calamities such as earthquake and flood-like situation since they do not collaborate with each other in case of emergencies. These departments have not even set up the proposed Emergency Field Control Room (EFCR) or simply the Emergency Control Room (ECR) to ensure effective coordination among various departments in case of any emergency or calamity.
Different government agencies including the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Capital Police, Civil Defense, Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO), health department, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and the Civil Aviation Authority and many other departments have not yet reached a consensus as to which department would directly control the EFCR of EMC, an official source Pakistan Today on Thursday.
The source said that after the October 8, 2005 earthquake, the CDA’s Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) had planned to set up Disaster Management Cell (DMC) on modern lines. It was planned that the DMC would have an EFCM, which would have an effective coordination with other government agencies and they would share their resources with the DMC. He said it had also been agreed upon that every department would provide its focal person as its representative at the DMC.
He said representative of those government agencies had held several meetings since then but they all failed to establish a much-needed coordination mechanism. He said according the 2005 plan, the DMC would also include Emergency Preparedness Framework (EPF). “The EPF will in turn comprise six departments including Vulnerability Assessment, Planning, Institutional Framework, Information system, Resource Base, Warning System, Response System, Public Education and Rehearsals”, he added.
Explaining the activities of the proposed cell, he said it was supposed to be designing the composition and hierarchy structure of two operational rooms— Emergency Field Control Room (EFCM) and Emergency Control Room (ECM), which could be activated in case of any emergency.
He said it had also been planned that a think tank of experts and professionals would also provide its support through consultancy to the cell on policy making.
The official said that it was also part of the plan that a Disaster Relief Fund would be set up for the DMC. “Other suggestions included mechanism for aid coordination between government and private departments, setting the salvage priorities and stockpiling”, he added.
Finally, he said, the CDA did establish a DMC and the authority equipped it with modern equipment but still it had no EFCM which was the most important part of the plan and without which the government agencies could not collaborate together. He said most of the government departments including CDA had almost all the necessary equipment to tackle any emergency situation but due to poor coordination they repeatedly failed whenever the need arose.
“Even the heads of most of the departments still have no exact knowledge of the equipment present in their departments”, he added.


  1. Is there such a thing known as Civic Sense in our Nation. Let alone creation of Civic Agencies. Civics was long abandoned as a subject when save Islam war began in the 80s, the father figures of the nation than thought it to be unislamic and brushed it aside. Now if some wise person in the government feels that Civic bodies go for each other 'eye for an eye' instead of seeing each other ''Eye to Eye'' and be able to co-ord on all emergency matters lessons in basic civics should be imparted.

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