ISLAMABAD: In a move to effectively cope with winter-related emergencies, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Thursday brought together key stakeholders to give final shape to the contingency plan. The first Winter Contingency Plan and Preparedness Coordination Conference was held with chairman of NDMA, Lt Gen Inam Haider Malik in the chair.

Representatives from relevant quarters attended the conference. The conference was first of its kind, undertaken as a proactive measure to establish coordination among all stakeholders enabling them to take preventive measures to save precious lives and infrastructure damage during winter.

Chairman of NDMA underlined the urgent need for collaborated and synergised responses within the diaphragm of potential disaster risk in different areas of the country. He emphasised on adopting advanced and technology-driven disaster management and public awareness campaigns.

He said the NDMA is working on formulation of a Disaster/Risk calendar based on foreseeable disasters for generating region-specific emergency alerts along with coordination of relevant departments in vulnerable areas during a year.

In addition, he hinted on disaster management audit of different disaster prone areas to pitch guidelines, customised emergency plans and rapid need assessment along with stocking at warehouses and logistics needs.

Officials were briefed about preparedness and contingency plans along with stock status for hazard-prone areas. Chairman of NDMA directed relevant departments to conduct simulation exercises based on potential emergency scenarios for efficient execution of contingency plans.

A combined national level mock exercise for winter contingency plans was agreed by all participants, which is to be held during the first week December.

Meanwhile, Ito Teruyuki, director general of South Asia Department, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) called on the NDMA chairman.

JICA DG discussed matters of mutual interest including possible cooperation in the future to strengthen the enduring relationship between the two organisations. Chairman of NDMA emphasised on developing mutual intellectual and academic fora as a collective approach towards disaster mitigation and disaster risk reduction through exchange programmes with an advanced outlook of National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) in Pakistan.

He underscored the potential areas of technological inputs to enhance capacity and disaster risk projection by NDMA through the newly conceptualised National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) and investment in building capacity of national emergency response and preparedness through sharing experience, training and transfer of technology in the field of disaster management.

Both sides agreed on shared climate security’s universal applicability of standard protocols and conducting seminars and workshops to deliberate upon disaster mitigation templates of the developed world during emergencies and crisis.

Security of Murree tourists reviewed

Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Saqib Manan, while reviewing arrangements made for security of tourists regarding the snowfall season, said that all departments should ensure implementation of the high court’s judgment in letter and spirit so that there is no room for such tragedies in the future.

He said that the emergency plan of Murree should be strictly followed and every department should perform its duties with full diligence and responsibility, adding that considering the traffic count

specified, which allows maximum 8,000 vehicles to enter Murree, we should keep an eye on other entry points as well including Kohala and Barian.

He directed the weather department to dedicate an officer especially for this season who will update other allied departments about the weather advisory on a regular basis. While finalising arrangements, special emphasis should be given to the convenience and ease of movement of the local people, he said, adding that handling of snow blowers and other snow-related equipment should be kept operational, the number of salt sprinkler machines should be increased and staff attendance should also be ensured.

There should be close coordination among all departments. For the convenience of tourists, there should be sign boards displaying warning signs and information.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (Murree) Ahmad Hassan Ranjha, while giving a briefing about the preparations made so far by the district administration said that as per the instructions of commissioner Rawalpindi, a control room has been established in Jinnah Hall Murree.

The control room can be contacted at 051-9269015/051-9269016/0519269018. Facilitation centres have also been established at 13 crucial points by the district administration of Murree for the convenience of tourists. Apart from this, health centres including Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital, Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Murree and Basic Health Units have also been alerted. For the ease of tourists, two health camps will also be set up at Lower Toppa and Bansra Galli.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2022

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