Karachi (Cliff News) Pakistan Red Crescent-Sindh, in collaboration with the German Red Cross organized a seminar to commemorate the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) with the participation of various renowned institutions here on Monday in a local hotel. The focus of this year’s IDDR theme is “Live to Tell: Raising Awareness, reducing mortality”.The seminar has provided a platform to all governments, local governments, disaster management agencies, NGOs, Red Cross, Red Crescent Societies, civil society groups, business, academic, scientific institutions and other interested groups to know how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters through raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.Shamim Mumtaz, Minister Social Welfare Sindh was chief guest in seminar.Urging all stockholders working for public welfare to join hands to deal with natural disasters in future, she said the PRC-Sindh is a humanitarian organisation dedicated to improving lives of vulnerable segments of society.Shamim Mumtaz uttered that responding agencies were always present in urban areas, but their capacity and action had been more effective in rural areas despite complex urban contexts. Now the time has come that all stakeholders should be alert on rural as well as urban disasters, she emphasized.She said that girl guide and civil defence systems should be reinforced and improved to save lives during such calamities. “I will also write an official letter to chief minister sindh in this regard. There should be five to ten trauma centres at super highway and in the city,” she added.Chairperson Pakistan Red Crescent-Sindh, Farzhana Naek said the PRC-Sindh always helped most vulnerable people in time of natural or man-made disasters. In Karachi, Thatta, Badin, Jacobabad, Jamshoro, Sanghar, Tharparkar and other districts, emergency & disaster response teams consisting of trained volunteers had been introduced to deal with any disaster, she added.Farzhana Naek further said that the seminar provided a platform to all agencies of disaster management to prepare them and build safer communities. “Resilience must be about building stronger societies today to prepare for tomorrow and for this, sharing of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge is very important along with advocacy, she added.Chairman Managing Board Trauma Centre Karachi Saeed Qureshi said population is increasing day by day in Pakistan, especially in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad and Islamabad, but no planning had been made to resolve issues emerging in cities with the increase of population.He said no mechanism had been introduced in the country to deal with urban disasters and its related challenges. There were different types of disasters, like environmental, natural and man-made in the past too, he added.We made efforts for unified ambulance service in city but only Edhi Foundation and Aman service agreed. “On site triage and first aid until injured is reached hospital is very crucial. For this, there should be mass scale trainings,” he added.PRC-NHQ Secretary General Ghulam Muhammad Awan said, “In the last 20 years the frequency and intensity of floods have comparatively increased due to climate change. Pakistan Red Crescent is playing an important role in raising awareness as well as equipping communities to prepare for these and similar hazards. We need to have collective efforts for awareness of climate change and should place more emphasis on plantation and usage of natural resources for domestic use, he stressed.Provincial Secretary of PRC-Sindh Kanwar Waseem said the field of disaster management was going through a phase of transformation in the world. Due to ever-changing socio-economic and security situation in Pakistan, and particularly in Karachi, it was imperative that emergency response in Pakistan was seriously taken into consideration at policy-making level. PRC-Sindh is implementing Integrated Community based Risk Reduction Program in Sindh in which trained staff are developing and enhancing the skills of community by providing trainings on Disaster Risk Reduction & evacuation plans during hazards, Health & Hygiene and Community based First Aid, he informed.He told that PRC is established an Emergency Operation Centre in its Karachi headquarters to provide city info, preparedness and response in emergency situations. This centre will be activated in March next year, he announced.Seminar invited humanitarian aid practitioners to explore ways to improve actions before and after a disaster.Other speakers included Dean Civil Engineering Department of NED University and Incharge Earthquake Research Center Dr. Sahrosh Lodhi, representative of National Institute of Oceanography Dr. Nuzhut Khan, representatives from other departments.The speakers also applauded services of Pakistan Red Crescent for humanity in Pakistan.Later chief guest Minister Social Welfare and Chairperson PRC-Sindh presented shields to all speakers.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction was started by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989. It is a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing risks to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of DRR. It is also a day to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.