Four days awareness raising and capacity building training program organized by WWF-Pakistan

By Abbas Wafa & Farasat Ali

As we are witnessing some abrupt changes in climate for the last 10 years which have brought about various unexpected hazardous changes in the natural environment that affected all of its components. Temperature variations, changes in precipitation, thunders, storms, lighting and floods damaged many settled and unsettled areas affecting the lives and livelihoods forcing them to be displaced and migrate from one to other places. Recognizing the importance of Disaster risk reduction and the current need many international, national and regional public and private sector organizations have been working extensively to raise awareness about hazards and disaster preparedness in vulnerable communities. In this regard the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) along with DIPECHO has initiated a regional level project titled Regional Climate Risk Reduction project. The project aims to address the risks posed by climate change induce hydro-metrological hazards  in the HinduKush, Himalaya (HKH) region comprising India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan through strengthening of non-structural and community-based approaches. The project is being implemented by Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of the UNDP, jointly with WWF – Pakistan in Gilgit-Baltistan since July 2010 to reduce the climate change induced hydro metrological risks faced by people in Himalayas and Karakorum mountain areas of Pakistan.

Community level pilot activities were planned after extensive discussions and meetings with the relevant stakeholders and were to be carried out by the project team of WWF-Pakistan in the poor and prone communities of Naltar, Nomal, Bobin, Dirley, Hisper and Hoper valleys in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The training courses commenced on the 22 July and shall be ending on 28th of October  2010. It aimed at enhancing disaster resilience of the Climate risk prone communities through awareness raising and skill development in basic SAR and first aid tools. The training courses were designed in particular to raise awareness of local communities about disaster risks and their management, assess the impact of past extreme hydro meteorological events on lives, livelihoods, infrastructure and ecosystems. It was also intended to have the community members trained in skills such as Hazard, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (HVC) so that they are able to prepare in advance for disasters.

Around 45 participants representing village emergency response teams, CBOs of Hisper, Hopper and Government staff participated in the training sessions. During this four days awareness and capacity building program participants were oriented on the basic terminologies of disaster risk management and climate change induces hydro-metrological hazards. As the training approach was participatory, therefore it aimed at developing capacities of the participants keeping the experiences of past hydro-metrological hazards, potential threats, vulnerabilities and community based disaster preparedness. It was also important to know the existing capacities in terms of knowledge, resources and institutions which have a significant role in minimizing the impacts of any disaster. On the basis of risk, vulnerability and capacity assessment some structural and non structural measures were identified during the training by participants, who were also taken to the adjacent glaciers to raise their understanding of the potential threats.

Village level disaster planning exercise was also carried out during the training for Hisper and Hopper villages. Village elders, religious council members and local administration personal were involved during this particular planning session.

At the end of the training course certificates were distributed among the participants. Management staff and chief guest was deputy commissioner Hunza-Nagar

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