Donors pledge $150m for flood victims


The international donors had so far pledged $150 million for providing food, shelter, medicine and other facilities to the flood-hit people of Sindh.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir said on Saturday.
Briefing journalists, he said out of the pledged amount, $61 million had already been received by the NDMA for providing basic amenities to the marooned people, adding that the NDMA was finalising a comprehensive strategy to minimise the effects of future catastrophes in light of lessons learnt from the current disaster.
A fully-equipped and well-trained Disaster Risk Management Force (DRMF) would be set up in each district of the country soon with the mandate to minimise the losses in future calamities, he said. “They will be imparted latest training in collaboration with civil defence and other related departments.”
During the time of emergencies, the volunteers would evacuate people, perform fire fighting and also distribute relief items in an organised way. Every year the services of volunteers would be utilised to cope with any disaster, he added.
“The main purpose of establishing the DRMF is to link up the services of Rescue 1122, Civil Defence, volunteers, boy scouts and others,” he said.
Initially the DRMF would be established in Islamabad. And gradually the force would be expanded at provincial and district levels, he said.
The early warning system of Meteorological Department and Federal Flood Department would also be improved along with drainage system of the cities, he said. UN Representative on International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Margareta Wahlstorm said the purpose of her visit was to devise a strategy to turn disasters into opportunities.
Talking about One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals campaign, she said the International Conference on Building a Local Government Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction, organised by UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) on 11-13 Aug 2009 at Incheon (Korea), adopted the global campaign to make cities resilient against natural disasters.
At present there are 279 cities and provinces in various countries joining the campaign Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to disasters would be implemented by 168 member states including Pakistan.
The campaign has been initiated from Mexico City. So far 116 schools, 23 hospitals in 30 cities of Pakistan including from all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) had pledged their support for the campaign One Million Safer Schools and Hospitals, she said.