March 2nd 2016, Peshawar: The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in close collaboration with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in partnership with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (APDC) and Community Resilience Initiative (CRI), held a one-day workshop to share the findings of assessment conducted to support Government as well as development partners in developing more synergized, cohesive, and inclusive disaster risk management policies and translate these into effective disaster risk reduction plans and initiatives.
This workshop on sharing the findings of the Multi-Hazard Vulnerability and Risk Assessment done in two districts, Chitral and D.I. Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was inaugurated by Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Experts from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), government, academia and humanitarian sector attended the event and critically discussed the importance of the findings and challenges pertaining to improved disaster risk management policies.
Mr. Wajid Ali Khan, Assistant Director DRM ,PDMA said, “I really appreciate the efforts of UN-Habitat, ADPC, CRI and other partners who undertook this difficult study in these two districts, D.I. Khan and Chitral, which are very important to PDMA, as they are the farthest and they have different hazards which are neglected. This partnership would not have been a success if all partners had not come together and collaborated in this joint effort PDMA also requires further support for Abbotabad, Mardan, Kohat and Bannu, we are looking forward for your help, I am sure we will get extended support from your end, and PDMA will fully cooperate where needed.”
Ms. Bella Evidente, Country Programme Manager, UN-Habitat Pakistan, commenting in relation to the discussion at the workshop said that, “UN-Habitat is pleased to extend our technical advisory support to the provincial Government through PDMA to strengthen the policy and planning process at provincial and district levels. We look forward to continued support of PDMA KP and NDMA and their endorsement to ensure that the findings of this MHVRA study can be utilized for master planning and improvement of socio-economic conditions of the area. UN-Habitat is proud to be working closely with the Government of KP and our partners for cohesive and inclusive policy advice and support.”
Mr. Ehtisham Khalid Khan, Project Director and MHVRA Focal Point, commended the efforts of the partners by saying that, “NDMA is establishing a mechanism to cooperate and provide data where needed as this is one of the most important exercises, so we are working on real-time risk calculators rather than carrying out assessments after 3-4 years. It is going to facilitate everyone for a long-term duration. I appreciate the help of PDMA KP as they are part of the steering committee, I commend the vision of KPK, UN-Habitat, ADPC and CRI for their efforts, and I hope that it is a continued support programme as the final product should be a part of planning and initiatives and should not end here with this project.”
Ms. Sumera Izhar from UN-Habitat, and Dr. Marqueza Reyes, Dr. Hari Prasad, and Dr. Irfan Maqbool from ADPC gave valuable information regarding the project’s technical findings and results. This baseline assessment identified that hazards and resulting vulnerabilities of Chitral and D.I. Khan are drastically different, and these findings and trends can not only be used to shape better DRR policies to be more disaster prepared but can also be up-scaled to other areas of the country to develop effective DRR plans and initiatives. Dr. Amir Khan from CRI gave recommendations and suggested ways forward to scale-up the benefits at the National and Provincial level by suggesting that the data should be updated every five years and capacity building of officials must be ensured. Notables from other districts and communities from divisional headquarters (Abbotabad, Mardan, Swat, D.I. Khan) not only actively participated in the discussions and commended the innovative approach of the partners towards disaster preparedness, but also provided valuable contributions and suggestions from their experience.
The Multi-Hazard Vulnerability and Risk Assessments were carried out in Chitral and D.I. Khan with the involvement of the government, academic, and science-based institutions. Local/community engagement and participation during project implementation was a significant component allowing the grassroots expertise to be consulted to the maximum extent possible. Dissemination of information and transfer of knowledge to relevant National, Provincial, and District officials were undertaken along with defining roles and responsibilities to facilitate effective coordination among all stakeholders in increasing resilience in these districts and successfully manage repeated disasters.