NADMA chief ends talks with key officials on reconstruction efforts to deal with flood damage

WASHINGTON: Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Lt. General Inam Haider Malik, concluded his talks at the World Bank’s component of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and other key partners in Washington as flood-ravaged Pakistan faces challenges in executing its plans for recovery and reconstruction.

Gen. Malik also held meetings at the State Department, USAID and the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Before coming to Washington, the NDMA chief took part in a high-level meeting at UN Headquarters in New York to review the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and its seven global targets at the halfway point.

In his speech to the meeting, held in the iconic UN General Assembly Hall, Gen. Malik shared Pakistan’s experiences in fighting the unprecedented floods, and now building on the lesson learnt to deal with such disasters.

The climate-induced flooding cost over 1700 Pakistani lives and covered as much as one-third of the country at one point, resulting in over $30 billion in damages.

NDMA chief also said that Pakistan supports an urgent realistic mid-course correction in all global approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction (DDR) and strategy-building domains.

Disasters Watch, a crisis mapping platform, he said, was an unclassified shared information service and must be made available to all nations, and responders without discrimination.

Planning and modeling of impacts was critically needed for all nations, especially those more vulnerable and comparatively fragile.

“It’s imperative to team up all with knowledge and expertise on disaster management including academia, industry, volunteers, NGOs, private sector and public departments to embed their plans with local, cultural, ethnic and geographic realities and build cost-effective solutions for pre and post-disaster periods,” Gen. Malik said, adding that updated data was a benchmark for all realistic cross-cutting planning complemented by science interventions for near accurate impact assessments.

The private sector, he said, can also help in the effort. External financing instruments could also be extended.

“Pre-identification of potential vulnerabilities in high-risk zones can be enabled with technology and proactive watch protocols,” NDMA chief said. Post-disaster impact data could be used to relate and determine the accuracy of predictions.

Pakistan case study, he said, has demonstrated resilience and adaptation, meriting extensive support and acknowledgment especially when it has reached out to Turkiye and Syria in distress, despite being in disasters distress itself.

“Time has come for standardization and building forward on existing knowledge, capitalization of existing indigenous capabilities (host countries’ resident academia and responders),” Gen. Malik added.