Disaster Management Lapses

The Federal Government provided funds in 2007 for establishing NDMA to provide relief and rescue to citizens of this country who are victims of natural or man-made disasters. Unfortunately, this top-heavy organization, along with thousands of other state employees both civil and uniformed, posted there, failed in the most recent such disasters that occurred in Murree where 23 citizens, died stranded on a snow-covered road in a habited area.

All state-funded organisations at hill stations are equipped with tools and paraphernalia required to tackle snowfall, rains, landslides and tree uprooting etc. that occur every year. Instead of elevating the administrative setup of Murree, other than escalating administrative expenditure, it will serve no other purpose. What is needed is to recruit personnel qualified and trained in search and rescue operations associated with the local Fire Brigade and other such departments. The report fails to identify whether the 2 km road adjacent to Kuldina, was under the administrative jurisdiction of civil administration or cantonment executive board.

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It was an avoidable tragedy if all organisations had coordinated. The snow removing equipment existed but was either unserviceable or did not have fuel and drivers required to operate them. The NDMA was established to formulate policies for crisis management. Rescue and Relief Operations are specialized skills. An audit must be carried out. Unless those responsible for criminal negligence are given exemplary punishments, dismissed from service, followed by imprisonment after a judicial process, such disasters will continue to occur.

ALI MALIK TARIQ,

Lahore.

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