Sunday, July 14, 2024

NDMA will become a safety wall for Pakistan against climate change impacts: PM

NDMA will become a safety wall for Pakistan against climate change impacts: PM
June 20, 2024 Web Desk

ISLAMABAD (APP) - Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday lauding the revamped National Emergencies Operation Center (NEOC) equipped with multiple satellite feeds and artificial intelligence tools, expressed the hope that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) would prove to be a safety wall for Pakistan against the impacts of the climate change.

“Due to climate change, Pakistan is in the red zone and among the top 10 vulnerable countries. We should not lose our morale rather work hard. After this achievement, I have no doubt that the NDMA, in coordination with provincial PDMAs, will become a safety wall for Pakistan,” the prime minister said during his visit to the NEOC here along with the federal ministers and federal secretaries.

This was the maiden visit of the prime minister since the revamped NEOC was inaugurated in October last year. He highly appreciated the NDMA Chairman Lt Gen Inam Haider Malik for realizing his dream of focusing on the capacity-building and human resource development of the Authority instead of an earlier planned project of building an office tower.

Referring to his previous meetings following the floods of 2022, the prime minister said he had suggested the NDMA chief to prioritize the capacity-building of the organisation by equipping it with the latest technology, input from provinces and recruitment of permanent human resources, besides establishing a digital hub.

“Today, the way that dream has been realized deserves applause. I don’t think any province has achieved such capacity with the world-class systems. I am happy that instead of a high-rise building, you invested in this digital hub,” the prime minister remarked.

He said the 2022 floods had inflicted a US$30 billion loss to the country which would take years to overcome as the federal government alone had spent Rs100 billion for rehabilitation of the affected population besides the funding from provinces as well as aid from the friendly countries.

He said consequent to the efforts by that time Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other federal and provincial organisations, the country was able to rehabilitate millions of people.

Prime Minister Shehbaz appreciated the merit-based induction of quality human resources and establishing a third-party validation mechanism at the NMDA, and assured of the government’s support and funding for the staffers’ training and procurement of equipment.

“This is not normal. This is not usual. This is far above normal and usual,” he said and asked the federal ministers and secretaries to follow the role model to make Pakistan a great nation. He asked the NDMA to ensure close coordination with provinces including GB and AJK and advised the procurement of equipment through coordination to avoid duplication. “This is not an expenditure. This is an investment to save our future investments,” he remarked.

He told the gathering that the federal government had allocated Rs80 billion for the promotion of information technology besides signing an agreement with Huawei for training of 300,000 Pakistani youngsters in IT annually.

The prime minister highly applauded genesis of NEOC with the cutting-edge technology and team NDMA for actualizing this first-of-its-kind centre in Pakistan and region which is a testament to Pakistan’s commitment for disaster readiness and mitigation.

NDMA Chairman Lt Gen Inam Haider Malik briefed the prime minister about capabilities of the NEOC, enabled by multiple satellite feeds, softwares and artificial intelligence tools, to generate a National Common Operating Picture (NCOP), strengthening digital risk assessment, early warning systems and preparedness strategies for Pakistan.

The briefing also highlighted NEOC capability to forecast weather patterns six to ten months in advance not only at national but regional level.

The chairman elaborated on the modus operandi of NDMA, and highlighted how NEOC served as a hub for emergency response and coordination among PDMAs, DDMAs, relevant ministries/departments and other pertinent stakeholders including domestic-International humanitarian partners ensuring swift and effective response during all phases of disasters specifically pre disaster stage.

During the briefing, NDMA’s newly developed mobile application aimed to empower individuals and communities with vital information to effectively prepare for and respond to potential disasters was also showcased.

The prime minister was accompanied by the cabinet members including Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar, Industries Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain, and Petroleum Minister Dr Musaddik Malik, Advisor to PM Rana Sanaullah, Coordinators to PM Romina Khurshid Alam and Dr Mukhtar Ahmed. Chief Secretaries of provinces as well as those from Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir joined the meeting via video link.