Peshawar: March 4th, 2017
Media can help Reduce life Losses by raising more Awareness about Natural Disasters
Pakistan, primarily due to its geographic location and topographical layout, is faced with extreme environmental & climatic challenges. These give rise to a multitude of hazards which include hydro-meteorological, seismic and manmade. The spectrum of disasters resultantly is wide ranging over natural calamities like extreme rain events, all types of floods, torrential rains, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), landslides, droughts, cyclones, extreme heat waves, mini cyclones, avalanches and others. Similarly, Pakistan’s positioning on seismic fault zones makes it vulnerable to geological hazards including earthquake and tsunami. The enormity of these challenges call for a well thought of, coherent, concerted and coordinated approach to be collectively forged by incorporating all state organs, civil society organizations, media houses, intelligentsia and public at large.
National Disaster Management Authority in collaboration with Mediations Pakistan and with the support of Unicef, organized a Media Workshop on Reporting Disasters” held on Saturday 4th of March 2017 in Peshawar. The workshops aimed at sensitizing local media community on country’s national disaster management system and role of different stakeholders of society, especially the media. This workshop also provided with an opportunity to the reporters to share their experiences of covering various disaster situations, challenges faced in response and best practices adopted. They also became members of “Journalist for Disaster Reporting Group (JDRG)”. A series of media workshops have been organized in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad for engaging media reporters towards effective and meaningful disaster reporting to mount better preparedness, timely response and quick recovery. Large number of journalists from electronic and print media reporting natural disasters participated in the workshops and shared their experiences and challenges in the line of duty.
Maj Gen. Asghar Nawaz, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) addressing participants of the workshop appreciated the efforts of Mediations and National Disaster Management Authority to engage with media in reporting natural disasters with an inclusive approach. He said, media can save lives by sharing factual information on prevention, mitigation and preparedness. He said media played an important role in helping people in disaster hit areas may it be the earthquake, floods, drought or any other natural calamity occurred however media fraternity and NDMA need to work hands in hands to as a key partner in all the supporting efforts especially awareness raising against natural disasters. He said, NDMA is determined to engage with media on regular bases to help support the cause. Aspects of media reporting on pre, during and post disaster situations were discussed as well.
During the workshop, NDMA’s Resource Person Syed Ayub Shah said that, “Pakistan is continuously under threat of experiencing natural disasters like, floods, earthquake, heat-wave, droughts etc. We cannot fight with natural disasters but can prevent, mitigate and prepare ourselves against the likely impacts that may occur during any disaster, In this regard information exchange with the general masses through regular media reporting on natural disasters can play a pivotal role is timely life savings and effective response measures.”
Mr. Wajih Akhtar, Executive Director Mediations Pakistan, that Pakistan is blessed with a very well informed, vibrant and active media on national as well as regional level that has always played a crucial role during any natural disaster situation, be it an earthquake 2005 or floods in 2010. He said, that we have received a tremendous response from media on organizing media workshops on such an important subject. He said that, only media can help reduce life losses by raising more awareness on natural disasters.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is the Apex national level Focal Agency for Disaster Management in Pakistan. It, therefore, is mandated to take all stakeholders on-board specifically media for forging an effective preparedness, befitting response and structured recovery in case of any disaster of sizeable magnitude. Towards the same, Media shoulders a very sensitive and prime responsibility of disseminating information, promoting advocacy and creating awareness at grass root levels and thereby contributing significantly.