ISLAMABAD: (PR) In response to the escalating challenges posed by rapid urbanization and the unchecked growth of small cities in Pakistan, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Pakistan (AKAHP) is taking proactive measures to enhance disaster preparedness. A comprehensive urban disaster simulation exercise has been arranged for more than 150 skilled members, including 10 female volunteers of the Search and Rescue Teams (SART). These teams represent the Pakistan Army, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Pakistan, and the Capital Development Authority, which are assembled from different parts of Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. The three-day-long simulations aimed to maintain readiness, improve skills, and enhance the effectiveness of Urban Search and Rescue Teams in real-life emergency situations.
This Urban Search and Rescue Simulation emphasized areas including technical search and rescue, rescue operations, structural assessment, equipment finalization, medical triage and treatment, mass casualty management, incident command and management, and K-9 Search and Rescue.
Lt Gen Inam Haider Malik SI(M), Chairman NDMA, honored the closing ceremony of the Urban Disaster Simulation as the Chief Guest. The event was also graced by officials from CDA, Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI), UNOCHA; AKDN leadership; Pakistan Humanitarian Forum; INGOs. The event has a gathering of more than 300 people representing development and humanitarian aid sector, academia, media and community.
Addressing the ceremony, Lt Gen Inam Haider Malik SI(M), Chairman NDMA, appreciated AKAHP for organizing this joint urban simulation, considering it as an endeavor to establish working mechanisms between governmental and humanitarian rescue agencies. Such initiatives are crucial for the standardization of processes and the adoption of good practices.
In her speech, Nusrat Nasab, CEO, AKAHP said, “Joint Urban Disaster Preparedness simulations are essential for search and rescue operations in real time. AKAHP recognises the importance of collaboration between the government, civil society organisations, humanitarian and development partners in disaster preparedness for effective response. The diverse perspectives and expertise brought to the simulation have enriched our collective knowledge and highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, proactive planning, community engagement, and technological innovation in enhancing urban preparedness.”
The urban disaster simulation organized by AKAHP is a crucial step towards building resilient cities in Pakistan. By addressing the multifaceted challenges of urban disasters, the exercise aims to equip stakeholders with the skills and coordination necessary to respond effectively in the face of adversity. The collaborative efforts of all involved parties are essential for creating a safer and more secure urban environment.