Aug 02, 2007

Sindh: Disaster Management Authority Established

The Sindh government has established a Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) aimed at monitoring hazards, risks and vulnerable conditions within the province.

The Sindh government has established a Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) aimed at monitoring hazards, risks and vulnerable conditions within the province.

Below is an article written by M Waqar Bhatti and published by The News

The Sindh government has finally established a Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) with Sindh Relief Commissioner Anwaar Haider as its Chairman and secretaries of various provincial departments as its members.

A notification of the provincial government issued on Tuesday [01 August 2008] said that the authority was established under section (i) of section 15 of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Ordinance, promulgated by the President in December 2006.

In addition to the chairman, local government secretaries, Irrigation and Power, Works and Service, Agricultural, Information, Finance, Health, Social Welfare, Food, Live Stock and Fisheries, Education, Industries and Environment departments would also be the members of the PDMA.

The newly-established PDMA is supposed to coordinate a complete spectrum of disasters in the province and formulate a provincial disaster risk management plan in addition to continuous monitoring of hazards, risks and vulnerable conditions within the province. It will also prepare guidelines and standards for provincial and local stakeholders regarding their role in disaster risk management besides ensuring preparation of disaster risk management plans by all districts in the province.

The authority has also been entrusted with the gigantic task of promoting education, awareness and training on disaster risk reduction and response and provide necessary technical assistance and advice to local authorities for carrying out their functions effectively. The PDMA will also coordinate emergency response in the event of a disaster through Provincial Emergency Operations Centres (PEOCs) besides developing scientific capabilities to manage threats that exist in the province.

It may be recalled here that the PDMA remained in doldrums for two years owing to delaying tactics by the federal authorities, despite the fact that the Sindh government had decided to set up such a body prior to the October 8, 2005, earthquake in Azad Kashmir and NWFP, an official of Sindh Revenue Department told The News.

According to him, the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) had approved the PC-I for establishing such an authority with an estimated cost of Rs500 million in 2005 and sent the PC-I to the Planning Commission (PC) for approval but the federal authorities shelved the project.

The revenue department official said that as the provinces are required to get permission from the federal government for carrying out projects costing over Rs500 million, the provincial government sent the proposal to the PC. “The Sindh government’s proposal was supposed to be presented in the latest Central Development Working Party (CDWP) meeting but it was removed from the agenda at the last minute. When inquired as to why the project was not presented before CDWP, Sindh representatives were told that federal government was also planning to establish such a authority at the national level through a Presidential Ordinance,” he added.

The IG Sindh Police, chancellor Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, vice chancellors of NED, Mehran and Federal Urdu universities, provincial head of the Red Crescent Society, one representative each of Corps 5 and civil society and the chief of the Sindh Meteorological Department would also be included as members in PDMA, it is learnt.