Karachi, February 21, 2019 (PPI-OT): Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar said Pakistan remains one of the global hotspots in terms of risk of geological, hydro-meteorological and climate disasters. The country has suffered approximately $18 billion in damages and losses from natural disasters over the past decade. In the past few years, we have been hit by major catastrophes including the earthquake in 2005, and floods in 2007, 2010 and 2011.Unfortunately, despite this spate of catastrophic natural disasters. disaster preparedness and management are not getting the attention or resources they deserve. Development agenda should have measures to deal with the natural disasters and for implementing these it is important to strengthen local government system in the country.
He expressed these views while speaking as chief guest in the “First South Asia Conference on Earthquake Engineering” held in the NED University of Engineering and Technology on Wednesday. Dr Sarosh Lodhi, Vice Chancellor of NED University, Mr Patchamuthu illangovan, Country Director of World Bank Pakistan, faculty members, and participants of the Conference, students were present on this occasion. Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar said that the “South Asia Conference on Earthquake Engineering” would serve as a platform to better understand the latest development in Earthquake Engineering and disaster management by the industry players and stakeholders in the construction industry in Pakistan.
Hosting of this event is a clear recognition that policies for effective disaster prevention needs strong institutions to ensure their implementation. The Department of Earthquake Engineering has provided great momentum to the efforts that were already underway to address Pakistan’s vulnerability to earthquakes. locally and internationally with diverse areas of knowledge and expertise related to the topic, I am confident your presence in this event will be a fruitful experience and that this event will be another greater success for all of us. Mayor Karachi said Pakistan is ranked 8th in the list of countries facing natural disasters, however 95 percent constructions were not in accordance with the principles of earthquake engineering.
In the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, the government promulgated the National Disaster Preparedness Ordinance which resulted in the establishment of a National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Despite the formulation of a detailed national-level disaster management framework in 2006. A structure below the provincial level to manage funds and maintain the stocks of items required for emergencies is still missing in the country. Even the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities require capacity building and trained staff members. He said Sindh accounts for 18 percent of the country’s land area and 16 percent of the total cropped area.
Karachi is the capital city of the Sindh province and called the business capital of Pakistan. The magnitude of Karachi as the financial, social and economic hub of country does not add up to the risk it faces from natural disasters such as tsunamis, cyclones and cups earthquakes .With insufficient disaster management preparedness in the city, Karachi is in a very vulnerable position therefore the importance of factoring in natural disasters in the development agenda, and the consultative process towards strengthening local governments’ capacity for DRR can only be achieved through the participation of multi-stakeholders such as civil society groups, academia professionals.
Parliamentarians, religious leaders, and business community through the development of human capacity, including knowledge, expertise, and wisdom; (ii) through longer-term investment in sustainable natural resource; (iv) further ensuring coherence between national capacity and local capacity: and by integrating small-scale DRR initiatives into local development processes. To brace ourselves against future disasters, Pakistan needs to only demonstrate greater political foresight and build the required institutional capacity, but also instill a shift in the national psyche.
He said significant increases in the overall population numbers and a proliferation of costly infrastructure and housing in urban areas present significant challenges for reducing seismic risk in urban areas. Disaster risk reduction is about protecting human lives and disaster management gives confidence to people and makes the communities stronger when a disaster strikes. DRR is now firmly on the political radar, and it is recognized as being closely linked to development. Still, we are now facing new challenges today, which require a renewed commitment to DRR. Poverty urbanization, and climate change – these factors are leaving people and communities ever more exposed.
We know that the last 10 years have seen some of the largest disasters on record. Mayor Karachi expressed hope that all the participants and industry players present in the conference would take this opportunity to strengthen their networking and seek ways for future collaborations. It is important that the public and private sectors come together to work collaboratively and synergistically in improving our technical readiness in enhancing our departmental and organizational competitiveness. He said KMC only controls 30.9 percent area of Karachi and the rest is with other organizations and functions which are not with KMC are building control, water and sewerage, transport, solid waste management, civil defence, KDA, health and education.
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