Media asked to guide people vulnerable to disasters
CHITRAL: Speakers at a workshop here on Sunday highlighted the role of media in risk management during as well as after natural disasters.
“The responsibility of media increases manifolds in areas like Chitral, which is vulnerable to natural hazards due to its topography,” they said.
The one-day training workshop for local journalists was held in Chitral Press Club under the aegis of Focus Humanitarian Assistance, an organ of Aga Khan Foundation.
They stressed the need for building capacity of local journalists in the field of risk management. They said that media used to inform, educate and empower communities with relevant knowledge about disaster preparedness and mitigation of losses.
“Through the disaster risk communication, stakeholders identify and analyse risks and propose solutions to reduce these risks,” the speakers said, adding that stakeholders shared their concerns and options and then agreed on a solution through communication.
In the pre-disaster phase, they said, the primary role of media was to highlight the importance of disaster risk reduction and awareness. “It guides the decision makers and vulnerable communities to undertake appropriate actions to avoid further disasters,” the speakers added.
Focus Humanitarian Assistance regional programme manager Amir Mohammad Khan, programme officer Wali Mohammad, communication officer Noor Mohammad and local expert Islamuddin addressed the workshop.
They said that vulnerable communities were able to take timely action to avert losses whenever adequate information was transmitted to them through media.
They said that efforts should be made to save as many lives as possible during the disaster and avert a secondary hazard.
Media should provide timely and factual information and advice to people in such a situation, the speakers said.
“During the disaster, media must relay messages concerning the welfare of isolated or trapped groups and facilitate communication among the affected people and their relatives,” they said.
The speakers said that media could appeal for assistance, communicate about rehabilitation and reconstruction plans and encourage survivors to take part in relief work.