Stories about disaster management

No need to run for your lives, there is no tsunami coming our way

Hate me if you will, and I hate the sound of the words myself, but I have to say it. All the hype about Karachi being wiped off the face off the earth as a result of an earthquake measuring seven to eight on the Richter scale causing a tsunami is a big lie. Why do I say this, when the media is all abuzz with reports of a Tsunami warning simulation carried out under United Nations aegis and participated in by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD)? Because if a seven to eight strength earthquake radiates its waves to Karachi, from the Makran Trench, Karachi would have been ...

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After 67 year, we are still unprepared for rain

When it rains in Pakistan, the words of Ardeshir Cowasjee seem very pertinent: “Gutter tou bana nahi saktay, atom bomb banatay hain”. (They cannot even make a gutter but are making atom bombs). Rain, a blessing of nature (or should I say curse in disguise), has wreaked havoc in parts of Punjab and Kashmir. It has not only cost lives and casualties, but also led to the spread of water-borne diseases. These torrential rains have flooded areas where lands have been cleared, people have been displaced and livestock has been harmed. One wonders then whether authorities, such as the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Water and Sanitation ...

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Ineffective management floods Pakistan… again

The recent floods that have wreaked havoc in various parts of the country should come as no surprise due to the increasing frequency of unpredictable weather patterns and Pakistan’s inability to deal with them. We remain fixated on issues of national security and domestic politics, and climate change and the resulting water crisis remain Pakistan’s most threatening issue. The floods of previous years and the drought in Thar (a few months ago) testify to the growing unpredictability of the weather and ineffective management of the government. Despite efforts to develop the service sector, we remain predominantly an agrarian economy; therefore, the effect of climate change ...

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Mayday mayday, our daredevil pilot wants to fly through a thunderstorm!

Thai Air may have a very good air worthiness record both for their fleet and the flying staff. Being a Thai Air passenger on several occasions I have had no bad memories until I flew back to Islamabad on March 17th, 2014 from Manila via Bangkok. Thai Air is probably one of the few foreign airlines that still maintain daily flights from three cities in Pakistan; all western airlines including Singapore Airlines stopped flying into Pakistan for various reasons, almost a decade ago, Thai Air has been providing that necessary bridge to keep Pakistan connected to Asia. By making a code-share agreement ...

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Disaster victims are boring, lets cover Bollywood instead

Did you know that the estimated number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is around one million according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)? Did you know that another 1.5 million were affected by floods this year according to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)? There are 1.2 million people in Pakistan urgently in need for winter items this season. I am quite sure that most people are unaware of these statistics. This is because the content on TV channels is driven by sensationalism which is essential to win the ratings race. Hence, we only ...

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How disasters should be dealt with

Modern techniques and equipment cannot avert either natural or man-made disasters but surely use of available resources, comprehensive planning, and effective training to agencies handling calamities can reduce the consequences. Apportioning responsibility for the Bhoja Air crash will be a lengthy process as it requires advanced technology and equipment to ascertain the causes of the incident. Likewise, Pakistan does not have a culture which requires the authorities to share information or findings of such disasters. Examples from history further reinforce this: East Pakistan debacle, Kargil adventure and the July 2010 Airblue crash in which 152 people lost their lives. Now, ...

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The disservice of forgetting

With school beginning in August, one plucky senior decided to send a farewell note to the new A-level final year class. He talked about how everything that would happen in the last year of school – petty rivalries, exams, and college applications both in and out of Pakistan – were completely pointless. There was no need to lose sleep over them. This much was standard high school speech protocol, except that he learnt all of this on the first day back to school, which was directly preceded by the AirBlue crash. It’s hard, he figured, to worry about those sorts of ...

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Does Pakistan care about Japan (or anybody else)?

Japan has been hit by the world’s biggest natural disaster since the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986. Panic has spread like wildfire as people take off to Taiwan and other international destinations. Japan’s nuclear crisis is skyrocketing to new heights, since radiation levels from a stricken power plant are traveling through Tokyo. When Pakistan was ravaged by the floods last year, the international community went all out to help us. But in Japan’s time of need, Pakistan is silent. Here, I must still congratulate Pakistan on its nerves of steel. Due to our onslaught of personal problems, we Pakistanis have strengthened ...

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Dots & Dashes: All hands on deck

This winter too shall pass and spring come, manifest in its verdure and blossom, but without the cheer for the human heart. Poverty’s ugly grin spreads wider every day on the nation’s face and does not sit well with the warm smile the season of renewal brings. In another month and a half when the yellow jasmine start blooming in Islamabad and herald the onset of spring, prices of essentials would have gone up another 10 to 15 per cent and gas and electricity supplies further depleted forcing the closures of small industrial units, expanding the area of national enclosure ...

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Flood relief: Does any one still care?

It has been a few months since floods ravaged one fifth of Pakistan. Immediately, massive campaigns were launched to collect money and supplies to help victims. But slowly, this spirit has died down. Now there are  just a few reminders every now and then that survivors need your help. So what exactly happened? What went wrong? And how the hell have we all just come to terms with one fifth of our countrymen being homeless and living off international donor assistance? Well, there are a couple of things that happened that led to this. Firstly, from day one rather than talking of rehabilitation ...

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