Stories about emergency

Steps that can save your life during a hostage situation or a bomb blast

In an emergency situation regarding terrorism, being prepared can make a difference between life and death. Such events can turn from a scarring memory to a compelling  anecdote which you can share with your friends, if you know how to react. Here are some guidelines that will help you ensure that if, God forbid, such an event does come up, you are prepared to handle it. 1. The immediate response to an attack a. First and foremost, keep your distance from the source of the blast or attack. Avoid standing in large crowds after an attack, as there is always a ...

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Save our doctors at Civil Hospital Karachi!

One morning I decided to make a surprise visit to the Civil Hospital Karachi. The motive of my visit was to get an idea of the current security arrangements, so that violence in hospital could be prevented and controlled. Unfortunately, this visit uncovered a set of serious security breaches. •   There was an absence of security personnel on almost all the entrances and exits of the hospital. •   The main gate leading to the entrance of the Emergency Department was being handled by a few unarmed security guards who were merely opening and closing gates. •   The Police chowki (office) was empty and it appeared ...

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Education only panacea to current mess

Today, Pakistan finds itself in the quagmire of violence, uncertainty, and despair, mainly because of its shattered and obsolete education system. A recent report by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) states that Pakistan is number two in the world with 25 million children out of school, coupled with an astronomical dropout rate. This gloomy picture exists because of the oppressive socio-economic conditions that have fostered impoverished living circumstances, monopoly of resources and concentration of wealth in a few hands. State institutions, occupied and run by a handful of feudals, have shirked their responsibility to ...

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Shiver me timbers!

Drop, cover and hold on. That’s what’s taught during an earthquake drill. Most of us would have known that had we rehearsed it either at home, the workplace or at school. Instead of disaster preparation, we believe in the response phase of emergency. And what was our response to the April 16 tremors felt across Pakistan? Panic, scream, freeze or run towards the nearest exit without any strategic plan in mind. Lucky we were, but it won’t take long before Lady Luck disappoints us when we’re most vulnerable. Take the example of the 2005 killer earthquake that struck the northern regions ...

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PTI will declare a national emergency to tackle illiteracy

Illiteracy is one of the biggest obstacles to Pakistan’s social and economic progress. Literacy is a fundamental human right and is essential to social and human development. For individuals, families, and societies alike, it is an instrument of empowerment to improve people’s health, income, and their relationship with the world. It is a national shame that Pakistan’s illiteracy rate of around 46% is creating a nation oppressed by poor life outcomes, such as poverty, unemployment, social exclusion, crime, violence and long term illness. That is why last year I commissioned international scholar Dr Azeem Ibrahim to research and put together the ...

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Turning auto-correct off can save your life!

In this tech savvy era of drones and super phones, human beings are alarmingly evolving into cyborgs. We have gradually succumbed to electronic devices and text messaging as a preference to keep in touch and verbal communication has drastically declined. With all the user friendly accessibility options popping up on our cell phones and tablets, the spelling auto-correct function can foil a colossal blunder. In some cases it might be the highlight of the conversation itself. Our innocent words that we meant well (well most of the times) can be manipulated into horrific insults.  We become inventors, discovering new words and ...

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What flood preparations?

Following predictions of heavy monsoon and subsequent flooding, the Sindh government has started planning for early recovery and relief by declaring emergency in nine sensitive districts. Relief camps are being set up, while ministers and officials concerned stated that “there is no prediction of floods; we have made all arrangements to mitigate the rain emergency”. Sindh has faced floods for the last two years amidst the same statements and promises made by responsible people of the government. Following these promises, the people of Sindh experienced much devastation. Every minister seems to have memorised the following statement: ‘for the last 10 years, ...

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Know your rights: Ilmpossible

Distracted by the political instability of the country, Pakistanis have failed to draw their attention to the termites that have been incessantly devouring the well being of the country. The crippled education system of Pakistan has proved to be one of these destructive creatures. Nevertheless, the presidential assent given to the Constitution (18th Amendment) Bill in April 2010 was an occurrence of great magnitude in this matter.  What were the outcomes of the 18th Amendment? It turned Pakistan into a parliamentary republic; it removed the powers of the president to dissolve Parliament unilaterally. What else did it do to the constitution? ...

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“Please help, I need some blood”

Have you ever had to look for blood? It is not a pleasant experience. Every day, in my clinical practice, I see patients and their families looking for blood. From heart surgery to C-Section, when patients are about to undergo a surgical procedure, their friends and family go through the painful exercise of finding blood that might be needed. And, these of course are the people who plan ahead. For some reason, patients are completely unprepared. When a loved one is in a car accident, there has been no time to arrange for blood beforehand. Or, for that matter ...

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Do parliamentarians care about the education emergency?

The education task force set up by the prime minister has recently termed the situation in Pakistan an “education emergency”. When media walas, policy makers, development sector workers and political activists are invited to sit together, they do not seem to think this “emergency” needs to be addressed urgently. The panel from the educational task force concluded that the main hurdle in educating the nation is the lack of political will. It is ironic that this statement comes directly from co-chair of Pakistan Education Task force Shahnaz Wazir Ali who is a member of parliament and the ruling party. If not her, ...

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