Karachi: Resource Person, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Syed Ayub Shah revealed that Pakistan is continuously under threat of natural disasters like, floods, earthquake, heat-wave, droughts etc but there is dire need of media support to cope up with natural disasters more effectively in future.
This he said during a media workshop on “Reporting Disasters” jointly organized by National Disaster Management Authority in collaboration with Medications Pakistan and with the support of UNICEF at a local hotel. The workshop aimed for sensitizing local media community on country’s national disaster management system and role of different stakeholders of society, especially the media.
Ayub Shah said Pakistan, primarily due to its geographic location and topographical layout, is faced with extreme environmental & climatic challenges. These give rise to a multitude of hazards which include hydro-meteorological, seismic and man made. The spectrum of disasters reluctantly is wide ranging over natural calamities like extreme rain events, all types of floods, torrential rains, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), landslides, droughts, cyclones, extreme heat waves, mini cyclones, avalanches and others.
He said similarly, Pakistan’s positioning on seismic fault zones makes it vulnerable to geological hazards including earthquake and tsunami. The enormity of these challenges call for a well thought of, coherent, concerted and coordinated approach to be collectively forged by incorporating all state organs, civil society organizations, media houses, intelligentsia and public at large.
He said we cannot fight with natural disasters but can prevent, mitigate and prepare ourselves against the likely impacts that may occur during any disaster, in this regard information exchange with the general masses through regular media reporting on natural disasters can play a pivotal role is timely life savings and effective response measures.
Senator Dr Karim Khawaja addressing participants appreciated the efforts of Medications and NDMA to engage with media in reporting natural disasters with an inclusive approach. He said media can save lives by sharing factual information on prevention, mitigation and preparedness.
Member NDMA, Ahmed Kamal, said that Pakistan is blessed with a very well informed, vibrant and active media on national as well as regional level that has always played a crucial role during any natural disaster situation, be it an earthquake 2005 or floods in 2010. He said NDMA is determined to engage with media on regular bases to help support the cause.
Executive Director Medications Pakistan, Wajih Akhtar said, that we have received a tremendous response from media on organizing media workshops on such an important subject. He said that, only media can help reduce life losses by raising more awareness on natural disasters.
The NDMA is the apex national level focal agency for disaster management in Pakistan. It, therefore, is mandated to take all stakeholders on-board specifically media for forging an effective preparedness, befitting response and structured recovery in case of any disaster of sizeable magnitude.
This workshop also provided with an opportunity to the reporters to share their experiences of covering various disaster situations, challenges faced in response and best practices adopted. They also became members of “Journalist for Disaster Reporting Group (JDRG)”.
A series of media workshops have been planned for engaging media reporters towards effective and meaningful disaster reporting to mount better preparedness, timely response and quick recovery.