NDMA chief highlights media role during natural calamities
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lieutenant General Omar Mahmood Hayat Friday said that the role of media is pivotal in building a resilient Pakistan. He stated this while speaking to journalist community at an event titled ‘Consultative Dialogue: Role of Media in Preparing a Resilient Nation’ here.
Hayat said that the role of media cannot be overemphasized in building resilience among the masses against the disasters and natural calamities and therefore, it is an important stakeholder towards ensuring safety of human lives and properties.
He observed that over the years mass media, by highlighting important subjects of public concern, has established itself as a bridge between the government and people. The NDMA chairman appreciated the new role adopted by mass media in Pakistan and urged the media persons present at the dialogue to come up with their input to strengthen this ‘bound to build a disaster resilient nation.’
Hayat said that the natural disasters are usually unpredictable events that require integrated policies and the combined efforts of a variety of groups at local, national and international levels. By integrating preparedness programmes and working locally with existing development projects (pre and post disaster), vulnerabilities to hazards and the subsequent dependency on external assistance can be greatly reduced, he added.
He said the inauguration of Phase-II of the project is of paramount important and crucial for reiterating the commitment for better planning, coordination and collaboration to carry out work effectively and efficiently.
He further said that no nation can respond to disasters alone as both their frequency and intensity have increased manifold in the last few years, adding that in order to respond to these disaster situations and building resilience of the community against recurrent disasters, combined efforts both at national and local level are required.
“It is crucial to systematically mainstream and integrate the program into the development sector. An effective coordination mechanism for the coherence of all endeavors is vital for the sustainable solution against the menace of recurring disasters.”
The NDMA chairman expressed his hope that the media will not only appreciate the positive work of the government departments, but also thoroughly understand the scope of different operators of Disaster Management Systems of Pakistan and point out the weaknesses wherever found. He highlighted that the NDMA is a lead federal agency primarily responsible for planning and policy formulation for the whole country, while execution lies with the provincial governments.
He said that the NDMA has introduced policies such as the Pakistan School Safety Framework (PSSF) for the safety of children at school, amended building codes and developed guidelines for uniform compensations for disaster victims. Now it’s the responsibility of the provincial authorities to implement these policies in letter and spirit, he added. The chairman informed the participants that the NDMA is working towards establishing an exclusive National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to boost response capacity in the event of a disaster.
A media toolkit on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was also introduced on the occasion. This media toolkit is aimed at providing basic information to journalists, reporting natural and human-induced disasters. It also covers key DRR principles to strengthen their role and contributions in building resilient communities through the media.