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News / Event Detail
Posted on: Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Roundtable on Lessons Learned from 2015 Earthquake in Nepal

The Centre for Policy Studies, in collaboration with the Department of Metrology organized a roundtable on Lessons Learned from the Earthquake in Nepal on 26 May. The event was sponsored by Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF). Dr. Bishnu Hari Nepal was the key speaker. Dr. Nepal is currently Country Director of South Asian Policy Analysis Network (SAPANA). He has served as Nepal’s ambassador to Australia, New Zealand and Japan. He is nationally and internationally known for his innovative contributions such as Reaching the Unreachable: PCDRS Model; SA-RRR-S Model and NIBBS-CAP Water Management (multipurpose project) and 4T-Model of Economic Diplomacy.

The Roundtable was attended by experts in the field of natural disasters and earth sciences. They were from the President’s Secretariat, the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, NDMA, ERRA, COMSTECH, Quaid-e-Azam University and from COMSATS Islamabad Campus.

In her welcome remarks Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen, Head of CPS mentioned about the significant relevance of the roundtable. Since natural disasters of any large scale have long term implications for recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction, there are lessons that can be learned from such calamities. They are crucial in the context of adaptation, risk reduction, preparation and mitigation. The discussion on Nepal’s earthquakes and Pakistan’s own experiences will be educative even in the regional context. Dr. Nepal shared his thoughts on the recent earthquakes in Nepal. He dwelt on the challenges faced by his country in the realm of short and long term recovery and the question of disaster preparedness in Nepal. Dr. Nepal praised Pakistan’s rich culture and underlined both countries vulnerability to earthquakes as they were situated in the same seismic zone. In addition to the practical difficulties and day to day problems confronted by the people and the government he drew attention to the policy gaps that are normally faced by countries in such situations.

Dr. Qasim Jan Advisor COMSTECH gave background of three major earthquakes experienced by Pakistan stressing that earthquakes are unpredictable but given South Asia’s vulnerability they are imminent. Dr. Zulfiqar Ahmed of Quaid-e-Azam University talked about earthquake’s impact on ground water (aquifers) which could aggravate the problem of water scarcity. In his intervention Maj. Gen. Asghar Nawaz, Chairman NDMA mentioned about Pakistan’s prompt and ongoing relief efforts and referred to the hurdles in the way of smooth delivery within Nepal as airports were congested, lack of warehousing facility, shortage of helicopters, lack of awareness about the disaster, disregard for building codes, density of urban population, insufficient infrastructure, which were compounding the effects of the calamity. He underlined the importance of civil-military cooperation, national disaster plan and need assessment.

Ms. Shazia Harris from the president’s Secretariat pointed out that human security and national security were indivisible and recalled the problems of coordination faced by Pakistan during 2005 earthquake. Since then Pakistan has developed various structures and capacity to respond such situations. She offered Pakistan’s help in these areas emphasizing that it is important to maintain communication with the people. Media was an important tool for promptly disseminating information about availability of food, collection points for including medicines.

In other interactions the participants shared their expertise in the spirit of sharing knowledge and practical experiences related to disasters. In his final remarks Dr. Nepal thanked Pakistan for its timely assistance and hoped that lessons will be learnt by Nepal from Pakistan’s 2005 earthquake as well. On behalf of HSF Mr. Omer Ali thanked everyone and reinforced the need to develop SOPs. Dr. Shahina Tariq, Chairperson Department of Metrology also thanked the participants on behalf of COMSATS.