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Published Date: May 20, 2015

Experts for effective quake response strategy

ISLAMABAD: Unlike most of the natural disasters, there is no way to predict an earthquake. However, the only option for people in the earthquake-hit area is to adopt an effective response strategy.

These views were expressed by speakers at a seminar, ‘Response to Nepal Earthquake 2015’, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute here on Tuesday. They said South Asia was prone to natural disasters and there was a need for an effective cooperation among the nations to mitigate the damages by disasters.

The speakers said there was a need to develop strong cross-border cooperation among the countries of South Asia so that the victims of natural disasters falling on the other side of the border could be helped within the shortest possible time.

The seminar showcased an amateur film highlighting the damages caused to historic sites, residential and commercial centres and the enormous human sufferings in Nepal following the two massive earthquakes last month.

Addressing the gathering, Bharat Raj Paudyal, the ambassador of Nepal to Pakistan, highlighted the human sufferings not only in the capital city of Katmandu but also in the remote areas.

“Many villages have been totally destroyed and the impact on humans was enormous. The situation has created severe food shortages for the survivors.”

Speakers say there is also need for effective cooperation among nations to mitigate damages by disasters
Expressing gratitude to the people and the government of Pakistan for extending help to Nepal to cope with the tragedy, he also appealed to philanthropists and donors for more help.

Experts on the occasion said special consideration should be given to fault lines and terrains prior to development activities.

The speakers also shared their experiences of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and expressed grief with the people of Nepal.

Shafqat A. Munir, a senior analyst and policy adviser, said Nepal had faced similar phenomenon after every 70-80 years. He said an earthquake of a similar nature struck the country in 1934 too.

“But unfortunately this time almost all the historic sites in the country have been destroyed.” He said South Asia lies in the disaster zone on all sides as there was sea in the south, massive glaciers and mountain ranges with active earthquake zones in the north.

“If the glaciers start melting, there would be massive flooding and if the ocean level starts rising coastal areas, including Maldives, will suffer drowning.” He said the governments in South Asia should speed up the implementation of awareness programme to impart knowledge to the citizens regarding the post-disaster response.

“Besides, we should implement the already agreed understanding to allow aid reach the remote areas coming from across the border. This is because many bordering areas of Pakistan are easy to approach from Indian side etc and the river flows between the countries.”