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Disaster-resilient Pakistan must for achieving sustainable development goals: Mushahid Ullah Khan

Islamabad, March 30, 2015 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, has directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to make the country disaster-resilient, so that country’s efforts for achieving sustainable development goals are not affected due to climate change-induced disasters.

“No one can avoid the climate change-induced natural disasters, but programmes and plans can be hammered out that can help reduce loss of lives and properties as well as damages to the public infrastructures,” the minister highlighted.

Chairing a briefing ‘State of Pakistan’s Disaster Risk Management’ by the NDMA here on Monday at the committee room of the Ministry of Climate Change, the minister Mushahid Ullah Khan said that investment in disaster risk reduction will help avoid escalating cost of post-disaster relief, rehabilitation and recovery.

“Greater investment in risk prevention underscores disaster risk reduction as a building block for future sustainable development,” the minister stressed. He highlighted that the different countries of the world including Pakistan are experiencing “more frequent and more intense natural disasters as recent history of disasters shows. However, overall momentum was growing for a sustainable and disaster-resilient future which is key to achieving sustainable development goals.

Investing in risk prevention pays huge dividends while saving lives and avoid or reducing damages to the properties and public infrastructures. Besides, it outlines a path toward a more disaster-resilient future, Mushahid Ullah Khan explained and added that disaster risk reduction inherently involves forward planning; investments in this area advance both sustainable development and climate action; and the vision for development and climate action is a universal one.

“We must realize that we need to work for a life of dignity for all, means helping the poorest and the most vulnerable people and vulnerable areas to manage disaster risk effectively. When we do that, we honour our pledge to leave no one behind in goal – development for all,” he emphasized.

He warned, “If we do not address risk reduction, future losses from disaster will go up alarmingly and this will cast impact on countries’ capacity to invest money in other areas such as health and education. If we do not take the necessary measures now, it will be difficult to achieve development, let alone sustainable development.” It is high time for us to increase our respective commitment at government and non-government scales to invest in smart solutions to boost resilience to disasters, which are becoming frequent, the minister said.

Giving the briefing to the Minister Mushahid Ullah Khan, the NDMA chairman, Major General Asghar Nawaz, said that there is serious need to expand and strengthen network of early disaster warnings systems in the country. For, technology gap for disaster risk reduction is costing the country in many ways – loss of lives and properties, damages to the public infrastructure, agriculture, water, health and road/communication infrastructures.

The NDMA chairman, however, informed the minister Mushahid Ullah Khan, “A cyclone early warning radar system will be installed in a coastal area of Sindh province in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This radar system will have capability to predict any cyclone at least two-and-a-half day (60 hours) in advance and this will be of great help in evacuating the coastal communities in a timely manner and evade loss of lives and property.”

The government of Japan and Pakistan will share the cost for the early cyclone warning radar system. Japanese government will bear around Rs.1.5 billion while Pakistan will contribute Rs. 34 million for the installation for the early warning technology, he explained.

He told the minister that macro-level risk assessment has been also conducted in all parts of the country, which is of great help in disaster management. The minister directed the NDMA to engage youth of the country in disaster risk management programmes and develop a volunteer youth disaster response force at village scale.

While Pakistan is witnessing increasing frequency in the climate change-induced natural disasters, particularly flash floods, torrential rains, land sliding and land erosion, there is inevitable need for such force consisting of the youth, he stressed. Mushahid Ullah Khan said, “Volunteer services of such youth disaster response force must be recognized at all levels and they should be given awards to motivate them further.”

He also suggested the NDMA chairman that being an integral force of Pakistani society, national the unprecedented significance of the role of media should also be recognized at all levels and journalists should be encouraged and awarded for effective disaster reporting and sensitization of the masses about how to respond to the disasters.

Federal Secretary for Climate change Mr. Arif Ahmed Khan, Director General (Environment and Climate Change) Sajjad Bhutta, NDMA’s Member (Disaster Risk Reduction) Ahmed Kamal, among others, were also present during the briefing.

For more information, contact:
Muhammad Saleem
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, ISLAMABAD
Ph: 051-9245565
E-mail: moccpakistan@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.mocc.gov.pk/

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