• Taimur Chambers Plot # 10-D (WEST), Fazal-ul-Haq Rd, Islamabad
  • (+92) 51-2278134, (+92) 51-2278135
  • Taimur Chambers Plot # 10-D (WEST), Fazal-ul-Haq Rd, Islamabad
  • (+92) 51-2278134, (+92) 51-2278135

Policy Recommendations Details

Policy Recommendations

A Year After Pakistan Floods 2010

Key Recommendations:

  • In Pakistan, where disasters have become more unpredictable, their frequency increased manifold and climate change impacts more rampant, the capacity of the government to cope with these challenges is diminishing with each passing day. There is a need for right set of policies, mechanisms and capacity building measures aimed at risk reduction and mitigation rather than response, to deal with both natural and policy-led human disasters.
  • Government needs to simultaneously work on both midterm and long term strategies to cope with disasters in Pakistan. Some of the midterm arrangements can be; a) enhancing disaster management capacities at district level, b) multi hazard risk assessment, c) study on impacts of climate change, d) establishment of national institute of disaster management, e) disaster mapping in all districts, f) community based disaster management and mitigation, g) enhancement of human, technical and financial capacities in disaster management and response bodies at all level and g) mainstreaming DRR in policies at federal and provincial levels.
  • There is a shortage of human capital in National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) which is coping with mega disasters with a hand full of people (staff of 100 people including 24 officers). Some of these staff and officers are serving on deputation on ad hoc basis and are subjected to frequent transfers and relocations. The compound nature of NDMA demands adequate permanent, professional and specialist staff, well trained in dealing with disasters and emergencies. Also the terrible erosion of technical human resource from institutions such as irrigation department had multiplied the intensity and destruction of disasters. Hence the government must ensure availability of adequate professional staff in disaster management bodies and their continued capacity building.
  • The role of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is primarily policy formulation, coordination and resource mobilization while there is serious gap at operational level in implementation, mainly with provincial PDMA’s. There is need to immediately focus on the subject.
  • Disaster management in Pakistan is also marred by legislative and constitutional hindrances such as recently passed 18th amendment, NFC and process of devolution under which disaster management became responsibility of provinces without enhancing their capacities and resolving unsettled and transitional issues between center and provinces.
  • There exists an unreasonable institutional dichotomy at government level. Over the period of time, several governmental bodies, departments and organizations have been formed to deal with disasters, with an overlapping mandate and cross cutting roles and responsibilities i.e. NDMA and ERRA. Both are involved in early recovery and reconstruction process in Pakistan. Similarly Emergency Relief Cell (ERC) under the Cabinet Division, is also a parallel body which had been decided to be defused in NDMA but had not been merged till date. Further the Planning Commission of Pakistan was being involved for reconstruction process after floods which created much ambiguity and raised competency question as compared to NDMA and its role in the same.  These weak conflicting institutional arrangements and uncoordinated implementation must be addressed immediately.
  • Revival of agriculture and shelter are the most critical part of recovery and rehabilitation process after Floods in 2010. Sufficient and timely agricultural support by government and donor agencies to the affectees has resulted in bumper wheat crop this year. Provision of shelter to affected communities is another key challenge. It is suggested that government and donor agencies direct major part of their resources on these sector, which will enable the affected communities to be self reliant and rehabilitated in a very short span of time.
  • There is a dire need to put more resources on flood forecasting and management to effectively manage floods in the coming years. Therefore, it is recommended to establish an Integrated Flood Forecasting and Management System supported by Regional Flood Forecasting Centers in four provinces and Localized Flash Flood Warning Centres coupled with Radar Networks.
  • It may be noted that Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, northern areas and some parts of Punjab are prone to flash floods. These annual flash floods bring very high water mass, with great intensity in much less time and are very vital to be forecasted. But unfortunately, there is no flash flood warning system in Pakistan except at Nullah Lai in Rawalpindi. Government must take measures to establish Flash Flood Forecasting and Warning System in Pakistan.
  • Historically, it was a common practice for riverine communities living in katcha areas to migrate to higher grounds during flooding season. With the construction of mega dams and embankments, these floods had became rare and katcha areas’ exposed to all kind of encroachments, land grabbing and human settlement. Naturally, these settlements laying on river beds become vulnerable and hazard prone to flooding. Unfortunately, major part of reconstruction activities is also taking place on the same disaster prone areas making it a vulnerable and hazard prone reconstruction.  Government should take responsibility on this and devise some clear policies to address the issue.
  • It was observed that deteriorating infrastructure and ill-designed dams, embankments, dikes, bridges and roads have added to worsening situation and turned the last years flooding hazard into mega disaster. There is need to study all infrastructures for remodeling, reshaping and reconstructing to avoid flooding in future.
  • Deforestation was another factor in massive floods of 2010. It is estimated that around 600 acres of forest is annually cut in flood plains. Putting an end to deforestation along with proper watershed management in these areas can significantly help in coping with floods.
  • Local communities and people at some places can also be held responsible for widespread damages and destruction. They tend to ignore repeated warnings by authorities for evacuations and for adopting precautionary measures. Hence, it is quite necessary to mobilize them for disaster risk reduction and mitigation to make them more resilient and prepared to cope with disasters.

 

These recommendations were presented by speakers mentioned below at a recent roundtable discussion held in Islamabad.

 

Tile of the Event: Pakistan: A Year After Floods 2010

Date Monday: July 27, 2011

Speakers:

  • Lt-Gen ( Retd) Nadeem Ahmad, Former Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
  • Mr M Zafar Iqbal, Recovery Advisor, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Islamabad
  • Mr Naseer Memon, Chief Executive, Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO), Islamabad
  • Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Former Director General, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Islamabad

Moderator

  • Dr Abid Q. Suleri, Executive Director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad