In the wake of Provincial Disaster Management Authority’s (PDMA) alert call for upcoming disasters from weather anomalies in some district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) made the people living in most vulnerable districts like Chitral apprehended.
According to the PDMA contingency plan in three phases i.e. most, moderate and less vulnerable Chitral profiled most-vulnerable district with nine other districts of KP province. These most vulnerable districts more, moderately and less vulnerable areas are less prone to monsoon rains that could lost in three months.
Chitral has already experienced heavy and extreme disaster in Sonoghur, avalanche in Wasich, and some other areas in 2008 after 24 years later. It was due to Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods (GLOF) and avalanche respectively turned the beautiful valley of Sonoghur into a barren land and lives in Wasich in which the people and necessary items of the people were airlifted by FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance Program, along government emergency response institutions. Same disastrous situation happened in Buni for two consecutive years later as a result of GLOF, since the global warming and climate change’s early signs in Chitral have targeted worst and been heavy.
Chitral having been prone to the GLOF, Flash Floods, earthquake, and now Monsoon rains may bring catastrophe to already floods and earthquake-hit people of Chitral. It needs Provincial disaster management authority and private sector emergency organisations to have a collaborative controlled action pre-and-post disaster plan for this year. The Provincial government and private sector emergency response teams should also keep track of vulnerabilities in the areas of Chitral more to minimise live losses. Worrisome it’s been when International Red Crescent Society, Pakistan indicated the increasing glaciers melting alarmed fear bell in Chitral.
Since 16 years working in Pakistan, Focus Humanitarian Assistance has responded to over a dozen of natural and man-made disasters, and preparing communities to become disaster resilient. The long term strategy of Focus to develop a network of volunteers in disaster-prone areas, and having over 36,000 trained volunteers in ‘search’, ‘rescue’ and community-based disaster risk management capabilities is a big strength of the organisation. Devastating floods in 2015 resulted from monsoon rains, GLOF and Flash Floods 100 villages affected in Chitral, in which volunteers played a role. Later earthquake, left many families paralysed since some of the houses fully damaged, and many partially damaged vulnerable to live in, in which Pakistan Army, emergency response of Focus, Al-Khidmat Foundation, some other civil society organisations, and Local administration rescue and rehabilitation services in affected areas of Chitral were praiseworthy.
Keeping in mind previous years experiences some important step these private and public sector emergency response organisations and institutions need to take in Chitral this year for proactively minimising hazards, risks, and tackling emergency situation lest takes place:
The writer is M.Phil Research Scholar in the University of Peshawar. He can be reached @9AM.Khan
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