8th October recalls us the precious lives we lost in the deadly 2005 earthquake which shook the northern areas of Pakistan.  The economic losses suffered due to the devastating earthquake were to the tune of around US $ 6.0 billion.

On this occasion, I would also extend heartfelt condolences to the people of Awaran and Kech Districts of Balochistan Province, who lost their loved ones and suffered losses due to recent earthquake. Government of Pakistan is taking all necessary steps, in coordination with the provincial government and the defense forces, to alleviate their sufferings and enable them to begin their normal lives again.

Pakistan is vulnerable to wide-ranging hazards such as earthquakes, floods, landslides, avalanches and glacial lake outbursts etc. These hazards can generate potential disasters that threaten sustained economic growth by causing loss of lives and property. Monsoon floods have become a recurring phenomenon in past few years and Pakistan has suffered cumulative losses of over US $ 16.0 billion due to floods in 2010, 2011 and 2012. During these years’ monsoon season, we experienced flooding in all rivers. However, due to improved mechanisms and responsive disaster management institutions, we were able to contain losses to a great extent.

Our Government is cognizant of the fact that the disasters are increasing both in intensity and frequency hence the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and all other stakeholders need to play their part to the anticipated new risks and plan accordingly. We cannot afford to loose our hard earned development, therefore, we need to have disaster risk reduction sensitive development and proactively manage potential disasters. Disaster Risk Management (DRM) calls for greater involvement and ownership of all stakeholders for the national policies, strategies and plans for disaster risk management. The formulation of Pakistan’s first ever National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy and Ten Years’ National Disaster Management Plan (2012-2022) by the Government are steps in the right direction.

There is also a need to enhance the knowledge of common man on disaster risk management and his preparedness in situation of natural calamities.    I hope the “National Disaster Awareness Day” will provide the required impetus to the disaster management planners and practitioners to redefine their thoughts and realign their plans in accordance with the realities