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Disaster Management System In Pakistan

Outline of Presentation
Background the DM in Pakistan
Gaps in Disaster Risk Management
Disaster Management System


Pakistan is vulnerable to a range of hazards- both natural as
as man-made.
Reactive emergency response (Calamity Act of 1958)
remained the predominant way of dealing with disasters in
Pakistan till 2006
The Earthquake, 2005 highlighted Pakistans vulnerability to
disaster risks.
Exhibited the need for establishing appropriate policy and
institutional arrangements to reduce losses from disasters in
The need fulfilled through promulgation of National Disaster
Management Ordinance, 2006.

National Disaster
Management Ordinance
National Disaster Management Ordinance,
The Ordinance provides for legal and institutional
arrangements for disaster management at federal,
provincial and district levels.
To enable the Federal Government to put in place a
comprehensive system of disaster management in the
country, the Provincial Assemblies of Balochistan, the
NWFP and Punjab under Article 144 of the Constitution,
passed resolutions authorizing the Federal Government to
make legislation on the subject. The Sindh Assembly
followed the suit.

National Disaster Management Commission


Pakistan is exposed to a multifaceted hazard situation, a perilous combination of
geographical and socio-political factors. Physically it is exposed to vulnerabilities
ranging from earthquakes, floods, droughts, cyclones, landslides etc. The physical
milieu is entwined with an awful labyrinth of political instability, bursting population,
poverty, sporadic religious and ethnic conflicts, terrorism, unbridled urbanization, and
poor institutionalization. The vulnerability of Pakistan and its people to natural calamities
is evident from the present floods, a colossal disaster of magnitude far greater than
Tsunami and Earthquake 2005. The floods are the most frequently occurring disaster in
the history of Pakistan. In the last 28 years Pakistan has seen 50 floods, during the
1973 floods more than 04 million people were affected while in 1976 floods affected
around 06 million people and demolished over 10 million houses. In 1992 the floods
affected about 10 million people and caused damage of Rs 50bn and in 1998 the floods
resulted in damage to property to the tune of Rs17bn. The flooding occurred in 2001,
2003 and it again caused havoc in 2005 when more than 6 million people were affected.
Flood being the most recurrent phenomenon, managed to take attention of policy
makers in late 60s and a Flood Control Programme was launched for the first time. The
plan also made its way into the 4th Five Year Plan (1970-75). The drafting of National
Disaster Plan in 1974 by Federal Emergency Relief Cell can be identified as the first
lucid effort which addressed different aspects of managing disasters. The plan
envisaged procedures, organizational structures, identifying primary responsibilities,
responder agencies, and procedures of monitoring relief operations. But the Plan was
neither finalised nor implemented. Pakistan till 2005 had been following the
conventional relief and response oriented model for coping and managing the risk of
natural disasters. The cost of this conventional approach was visible from the appalling
experience of earthquake in October 2005. The Earthquake of 2005 proved to be the
watershed mark in changing the perceptions about managing disasters. The realization
led to the promulgation of National Disaster Management Ordinance 20062. NDMO
2006 was issued under the legislative powers conferred in Article 144 of the
Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan [after being empowered by three provincial
assemblies by passing resolutions (NWFP, Baluchistan & Punjab)]. The introduction of
NDMO in 2006 can be termed as significant shift from a reactive model towards a more
proactive pattern of governance based on Disaster Risk Reduction.
Rationale for Introduction of National Disaster Management Ordinance 2006:
The national response to the earthquake of 2005 highlighted the institutional and legal
deficiencies in the existing disaster management framework of Pakistan. Along with it
was not compliant with the international policy imperatives like International Strategy for
Disaster Reduction (ISDR) 1999 and Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015. The
review and subsequent discussions and dialogues with multiple stakeholders at federal
and all provincial levels resulted in the framing of NDMO, 2006. The challenge before
the government and the legal team working on NDMO was to come up with a legal
instrument that can:
1. address the gaps in the existing disaster related legal framework/laws
2. create synergies among various legal instrument and implementing agencies
3. put up a robust institutional arrangement at all tiers of governance, i.e. federal, provincial and
district levels
4. establish vertical and horizontal linkages with DRM related laws and agencies but without
creating any problems of multiple and conflicting jurisdictions
5. Ensure political and administrative autonomy of the provinces and provincial disaster related
setups to take on challenges of disasters in their respective governance milieu
State of present DRM framework in Pakistan and creation of an independent commission
to oversee relief and rehabilitation operations in the flood-hit areas:
The NDMO 2006 provided National Disaster Management Commission as the apex
body for managing disasters, with National disaster Management Authority as the
administrative arm. The ordinance also established disaster management commission
and authorities at provincial as well as district tiers. The working of the new DRM
framework during past few years has revealed a number of inadequacies in the national
disaster risk management structure which include issues in the legal framework,
institutional and administrative complexities, lack of political support and engagement,
lack of consultation and public participation, absence of DRM from public discourse, and
transparency and accountability in the public financing of DRM. The issues no doubt
merit serious consideration but the aspirations to set up another independent
commission to oversee relief and rehabilitation operations in the flood-hit areas are not
only peculiar but imprudent and injudicious. The present calamity of floods necessitates
the nation and the government to go an extra mile for relief and rehabilitation, but the
misfortune should not misdirect the decision making process. In the presence of a
national disaster management framework creation of a parallel structure in form of a
commission or body will only lead to a delayed and more fragmented response adding
to misery and distress of the effected. The analysis of the proposal reveals that the
assumptions on which the present proposal is being articulated are flimsy and
Trust Deficit of Donors and International Community on the existing disaster management
The argument that donors have shown distrust or inability to provide funds for relief and
rehabilitation sans the facts.Though the pace may be slow as the enormity of disaster is
unfolding gradually. Though the pace of provision of funds may be termed as slow, as
the enormity of disaster is unfolding gradually, the donors have not shown any distrust
or inability to provide funds for relief and rehabilitation. Till August 18, 2010, $208 million
(42% of the estimated requirement) has already been committed. Besides, creation of a
structure parallel to existing legal and administrative framework will result in more
confusion and lack of trust rather than alleviating it.
Ownership of Present Disaster Framework by the donors and international community:
As mentioned earlier the existing national disaster management framework was framed
not only due to national requirements for managing disasters but to comply with the
international obligations1. The functioning of existing National Disaster Management
Authority is fully supported by the international agencies especially UNDP in terms of
funds and technical support. So it is surprising that how scraping the same or making it
dysfunctional will attract the international donors?
Administrative Shortcomings of the proposed structure:
The workability and effectiveness of the proposed relief commission will be marred on
account of overlapping and duplication of functions contemplated to be performed by it.
Disaster response needs effective and efficient administrations the proposed body will
be administratively dependent upon the existing disaster management structure at
federal, provincial and district tiers, this will lead to delays in decision making as well as
National Disaster Management Commission:
The existing apex body for managing disasters is NDMC. The ordinance provides the
constitution of the commission with Prime Minister as chairperson and including; Leader
of the opposition in the Senate, Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Chief
Ministers of all the provinces, Prime Minister of AJ&K, Governor KPK for FATA,
Ministers for Defence, Health, Foreign Affairs, Social Welfare, Special Education,
Communications, Interior, and Finance; Chief Executive (Chief Minister) Northern
Areas; and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee; thus making it not only broad
based but having representation from all the provinces. In the presence of such a
commission, formation of a new body is not only peculiar but imprudent and injudicious.
Establishing a Commission Comprising of People of Integrity:
So far as the inclusion of men of integrity is concerned, this can be addressed by
invoking Section 3 sub section (p) of NDMO 2006, whereby the Chairperson (Prime
Minister) can appoint representatives of the civil society or any other person to the
National Commission. Therefore, instead of making a parallel body comprising people
like RanaBhagwan Das, Dr. Rizvi, Ali Ahmad Kurd, and NasirAslamZahid, Abdul
SattarEdhi etc., the most appropriate solution is to include them in the commission
under the given provisions.
Disaster Relief, Recovery, and Rehabilitation & Establishment of Advisory Committees:
Managing disasters is an area which calls for technical expertise, ranging from early
warning, to rescue, relief, recovery and rehabilitation. The assessment, planning and
phasing of different measures necessitates professional and methodological approach.
If the present government feels handicapped on account of technical expertise to
respond to the flood calamity the National Disaster Management Commission is
authorised to constitute advisory committees for managing disasters comprising of
experts in the fields of disasters
National Disaster Management Commission & its role:
1.NDMC is required to meet as and when necessary, The last meeting of NDMC was
held on January 03, 2009; and the key decisions of the meeting included; integration of
Civil Defenceorganisations, allocation of financial resources to the national and
provincial disaster management funds, besides streamlining disaster management as a
one-window operation, PM as Chairperson NDMC directed operationalising of provincial
and district disaster management authorities July 1, 2009 and formation of building
codes making violations a criminal offence. Unfortunately none was complied, neither
the civil defenceorganisations were integrated nor the disaster management was
streamlined as a one window operation. Most significantly the provincial disaster
management authorities remained non operative. It is deplorable that since then no
meeting of NDMC has been convened, even in the backdrop of present national
calamity. Had the meeting been called the questions on the formation of an independent
commission might not have been raised.
The existing disaster management framework has its shortcomings yet is a meaningful
initiative which signifies a planned disaster risk management. Only strong and efficient
institutions can help in managing disasters effectively. No matter how credible and
honourable the members of the proposed commission may be, the existence of parallel
structures will result in administrative inefficiency as well as misuse of funds resulting in
a delayed and more fragmented response to the flood disaster. The strengthening of the
existing institutions will not only instill the confidence of national and international
community but will also alleviate the issues of transparency and efficiency
Mission of NDMA
"To manage complete spectrum of disasters by adopting a disaster risk reduction
perspective in development planning at all levels, and through enhancing institutional
capacities for disaster preparedness, response and recovery."

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), is the lead agency at the Federal
level to deal with whole spectrum of Disaster Management Activities. It is the executive
arm of the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC), which has been
established under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, as the apex policy making
body in the field of Disaster. In the event of a disaster all stakeholders, including
Government Ministries/Departments/Organizations, Armed Forces, INGOs, NGOs, UN
Agencies work through and from part of the NDMA to conduct one window operation.
NDMA aims to develop sustainable operational capacity and professional competence
to undertake the following task:-
1. Coordinate complete spectrum of disaster risk management at national level.
2. Act as Secretariat of the NDMC to facilitate implementation of DRM strategies.
3. Map all hazards in the Country and conduct risk analysis on a regular basis.
4. Develop guidelines and standards for national and provincial stakeholders
regarding their role in disaster risk management.
5. Ensure establishment of DM Authorities and Emergency Operations Centres at
provincial, district and municipal levels in hazard-prone areas.
6. Provide technical assistance to federal ministries, departments and provincial DM
authorities for disaster risk management initiatives.
7. Organize training and awareness raising activities for capacity development of
stakeholders, particularly in hazard-prone areas.
8. Collect, analyze process, and disseminate inter-sectoral information required in
an all hazards management approach.
9. Ensure appropriate regulations are framed to develop disaster response
volunteer teams.
10. Create requisite environment for participation of media in DRM activities.
11. Serve as the lead agency for NGOs to ensure their performance matches
accepted international standards, e.g. the SPHERE standards.
12. Serve as the lead agency for international cooperation in disaster risk
management. This will particular include, information sharing, early warning,
surveillance, joint training, and common standards and protocols required for
regional and international cooperation.
13. Coordinate emergency response of federal government in the event of a national
level disaster through the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC).
14. Require any government department or agency to make available such men or
resources as are available for the purpose of emergency response, rescue and