PM’s top aide says to develop disaster resilient infrastructure

  • NDMA chairman says Pakistan has more engaging approach of disaster risk reduction, preemptive mitigation

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to prime minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq has said that the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan has a strong commitment for developing disaster resilient cities and infrastructure.

He expressed his resolve as chief guest in a public ceremony organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) here at the F-9 Park to observe the International Day for Disaster Reduction. As part of its long-term planning, the special assistant said the government was working on creating resilient infrastructures and mechanisms to cope up with entire spectrum of disasters.

He highlighted the importance of community awareness and involvement as an essential component of the disaster risk mitigation and applauded the efforts of NDMA for engaging communities by observing the International Day for Disaster Reduction as an open event to the general public.

In his welcome address, NDMA Chairman Omar Mahmood Hayat said that Pakistan, being a most disaster-prone country, had endured more than its fair share of disasters from floods, earthquakes, droughts and landslides during the last two decades. He acknowledged and appreciated the assistance rendered by the international community to Pakistan during the past disasters.

To align itself with the aspirations of the international community, he said from this year onwards, NDMA had decided to observe 13th October as the International Day for Disaster Reduction. Emphasising the importance of proactive disaster management, he said that old reactionary and response-oriented disaster management was being replaced with a more engaging approach of disaster risk reduction and preemptive mitigation.

He also thanked the UN agencies and other development partners for their active support in NDMA’s endeavours to build a resilient Pakistan. Earlier, NDMA Operations member Mukhtar Ahmed briefed the participant on various activities that were designed for the day and appreciated that the public participated in the event in large number. He said it was a reflection and a hope for prosperous future and disaster resilient Pakistan.

At the occasion, NDMA also arranged a variety of activities to engage children, youth, civil society and people from all walks of life to educate them about potential hazards and challenges and measures to mitigate the disaster risks. The activities included, plantation of saplings, signing the pledge wall with the theme ‘we pledge for a disaster resilient Pakistan,’ and a short walk in the F-9 Park.

A flag march of USAR teams and the firefighting vehicles starting from the Jinnah Convention Centre and culminating at the Fatima Jinnah Park. People from different walks of life also participated in the flag march. A cyclothon comprising of over 50 cyclists also marched through the major roads of the city, to mark the day, highlighting the importance of preparedness for disasters.

Gender and Child Cell (GCC) of NDMA under the Pakistan School Safety Programme (PSSF) arranged a drawing festival, in which various schools from Rawalpindi and Islamabad participated. This year, NDMA joined hands with the international community to observe the October 13 as the international day. Earlier, October 8 was commemorated as the National Resilience Day to pay homage to martyrs and to express solidarity with the survivors of the past disasters.