"When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people."


National Strategy for Disaster Management

Pakistan is vulnerable to disaster risks from a range of hazards including avalanches, cyclones/storms, droughts, earthquakes, epidemics, floods, glacial lake outbursts, landslides, pest attacks, river erosion and tsunami. Human induced hazards that threaten the country include transport, industrial, oil spills, urban and forest fires, civil conflicts and internal displacements of communities due to multiple factors. High priority hazards in terms of their frequency and scale of impact are:- earthquakes, droughts, flooding, Wind Storms and Landslides that have caused widespread damages and losses in the past.

A reactive, emergency response approach has remained the predominant way of dealing with disasters in Pakistan till now. The Calamity Act of 1958 was mainly concerned with organizing emergency response. A system of relief commissionrate at provincial level was established. An Emergency Relief Cell (ERC) in the Cabinet Secretariat was responsible for organizing disaster response by the federal government. The awareness of policy makers, media, civil society, NGOs, UN agencies and other stakeholders remained low about disaster risk management and the Country as a whole lacked a systematic approach towards disaster risk management.

The loss of life and property and the challenges that were faced in the aftermath of October 2005 earthquake affecting Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the NWFP province exhibited the need for establishing appropriate policy and institutional arrangements to reduce losses from disasters in future.

The need for strong institutional and policy arrangements has been fulfilled with the promulgation of National Disaster Management Ordinance, 2006. Under the Ordinance the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC) has been established under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister as the highest policy making body in the field of disaster management. As an executive arm of the NDMC, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been made operational to coordinate and monitor implementation of National Policies and Strategies on disaster management.

The new system envisages a devolved and de-centralized mechanism for disaster management. Accordingly, Provincial Disaster Management Commissions (PDMCs) and Authorities (PDMAs) have been established while similar arrangements have been made in AJ&K and Northern Areas. The District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) have been notified across the country. The DDMAs are going to be the linchpin of the whole system and would play the role of the first line of defense in the event of a disaster.

The National Disaster risk Management Framework has been formulated to guide the work of entire system in the area of disaster risk management. It has been developed through wide consultation with stakeholders from local, provincial and national levels. The Framework identifies National Strategies and Policies for disaster management. Nine priority areas have been identified within this framework to establish and strengthen policies, institutions and capacities over the next five years: These include:-

  1. Institutional and legal arrangements for DRM
  2. Hazard and vulnerability assessment.
  3. Training, education and awareness.
  4. Disaster risk management planning.
  5. Community and local level programming.
  6. Multi-hazard early warning system.
  7. Mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into development.
  8. Emergency response system, and
  9. Capacity development for post disaster recovery.
The NDMA has already embarked upon a five year development program to implement the above nine priority areas. For the purpose, the NDMA in collaboration with international donor agencies, has already secured commitments for the provision of 58 million dollars.

Programme for Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER)

Click here to Download PEER Database


  • To reduce mortality in mass casualty & increase the survival rate of disaster victims

Target Group:

  • M/o Health
  • Armed Forces
  • Police & Rangers
  • Provincial Health Departments
  • Private Health Institutions
  • NGO's
  • Government Fire Departments


  • Medical First Responders (MFR)
  • Collapsed Structure Search & Rescue (CSSR)
  • Hospital Operational Preparedness for Emergency (HOPE)

Financial support by USAID & NSET Nepal

22 courses have so far been conducted:

  • MFR 130 Experts 13 Full Instructors 42 Asst Instructors
  • CSSR 95 Experts 8 Full Instructors 39 Asst Instructors
  • HOPE 92 Experts 6 Full Instructors 18 Asst Instructors

Urban Search and Rescue Teams (USAR)


  • To save lives & reduce mortality rate in emergencies & disasters, particularly in accidents involving collapsed buildings & structures in Pakistan and the whole region


  • Creation of three INSARAG standard USAR teams
    • Islamabad-Heavy-86 Men
    • Lahore-Heavy-86 Men
    • Karachi-Medium-52 Men

Financial support by Govt of Sweden, Switzerland & UK


  • Islamabad: First round of training conducted. Site for construction of training area identified
  • Karachi: Site for construction of training area identified. Trainings will start from Nov 2008
  • Canine Search Training: Training commenced at Army Dog Center with 10 dog handlers & 10 dogs

National Risk Assessment & Response System Development

  1. Funding from the World Bank (US$ 4 million credit allocated to NDMA from the Earthquake Recovery Credit programme of the Bank)
  2. NDMA has embarked upon conduct of the first comprehensive National Risk Assessment with regards to Geological, Hydro-Meteorological and Technological Hazards
  3. NDMA is working on development of a National Disaster Response Plan (NDRP), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), National Emergency Operations system.

Contingency Planning

  1. In order to organize more effective and coordinated response NDMA has initiated the process of contingency planning on a regular basis.
  2. Three contingency planning exercises have been organized so far by NDMA
  3. These include National Winter Contingency Plan of 2007-2008, National Flood Contingency Plan 2008 and Cyclone Contingency Plan 2008 for Karachi City.

Knowledge Development And Management

  1. NDMA published the National Disaster Risk Management Framework, which provides strategic direction and technical guidelines for involvement of all stakeholders in disaster risk management
  2. In order to document the lessons learnt from earthquake response by the Federal Relief Commissioner, NDMA has produced and published the book, Earthquake 8/10: Lessons Learnt from Pakistan's Experience.

Achievments by the NDMA

  1. The NDMA has been instrumental in getting the Provincial/Regional Disaster Management Commissions (PDMCs) and Provincial/Regional Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) notified in the four provinces, AJ & K and NAs. Likewise, on persuasion by the NDMA, District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) have also been notified in all Provinces, AJ & K and NAs.
  2. National Disaster Risk Management Framework (NDRMF) has been formulated and put into force by the NDMA, wherein roles and guidelines for all stakeholders for the implementation of National Strategies and Policies on disaster management have been spelt out.
  3. An initiative on National Composite Risk Assessment has been launched in collaboration with the World Bank to develop National Hazard Atlas for Pakistan, formulate National Response Plan and establish National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), as envisaged under the NDRMF.
  4. The NDMA has provided technical assistance to the PDMAs of the four provinces, State Disaster Management Authority of AJ & K (SDMA), and Northern Area Disaster Management Authority (NADMA) for developing Provincial / Regional Disaster Management Plans.
  5. As required under the National Disaster Management Ordinance, 2007, National Disaster Management Fund has been created under the NDMA. The fund is to be utilized towards meeting the expenses for Emergency Preparedness, Response, Mitigation, Relief and Reconstruction.
  6. Mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) into development projects as envisaged under the Framework is being given foremost priority by the NDMA. For this purpose, a National Working Group comprising the NDMA, Planning Commission, Ministry of Housing and Works, Ministry of Water and Power, Ministry of Industries and Special Initiatives and NESPAK has been formed to workout strategies in this regard.
  7. Three specialized Urban Search & Rescue Teams (USAR), equipped with state of the art equipment and staff trained on international standards, are being raised in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad in collaboration with City District Governments and CDA. Training of manpower is in hand through the sponsorship of donors.
  8. Under the Program for Enhancing Emergency Response (PEER) in collaboration with the USAID, the NDMA has implemented 23 training courses with the aim to strengthen disaster response capacities, strengthen institutions and establish a coordinated network for emergency and medical response. The PEER trainings are focused on Medical First Responders Courses, Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue and Hospital Preparedness for Emergencies. A total of 449 personnel have so far been trained under the PEER Training Programme
  9. In order to raise awareness and sensitize the relevant stakeholders, the NDMA has been arranging seminars, workshops and training programs. Recently, a DRR Workshop was organized for the DCOs of 40 most vulnerable districts.
  10. The NDMA is coordinating with Ministry of Education to ensure that disaster management becomes part of the Curricula of the educational institutions by the academic session 2009. Likewise, to raise awareness among the civil servants, the NDMA is striving to have the Curricula of National School of Public Policy revised to incorporate disaster management.
  11. As one of the mitigation and prevention initiatives, the NDMA is negotiating with donors for construction of raised platforms/cyclone shelters in the coastal areas of Badin and Thatta for the vulnerable communities. Similarly, in collaboration with Karakoram International University, a research project has been initiated to mitigate the effects of Glacial Lake Outbursts (GLOF) in Northern Areas.
  12. National Contingency Plan to deal with future disasters has been developed by the NDMA and circulated to all stakeholders for implementation. Like wise, Winter Contingency Plan for all Provinces and Cyclone Contingency Plan for Karachi City have been prepared and circulated to all concerned for implementation. Meanwhile, Chemical/Industrial Contingency Planning guidelines are at the final stage of preparation.
  13. The Cyclone (Yamine) and the resultant heavy rains and floods in various parts of Sindh & Balochistan in June 2007, particularly in the coastal region caused losses to life and property. However, due to the early warning issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the Provincial Government and other relevant authorities restrained the fishermen from going into the high seas, evacuated people from the vulnerable locations along the coastal regions and geared up the local authorities in advance to deal with the imminent disaster. As a result the casualties remained on the lower side as compared with the magnitude of the disaster and the response to the calamity was prompt and efficient. Post flood relief operation was coordinated and implemented by NDMA, successfully.
  14. The NDMA has also made arrangements for the provision of relief items to the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) of Swat and Bajur.
  15. Apart from carrying out disaster management activities within the country, the NDMA is also mandated to coordinate international relief activities on the directions of the Federal Government. In this regard, the NDMA made arrangements for the provision of relief assistance to the disaster affected countries of Sri Lanka, Myanmar , Indonesia and Bangladesh. Recently, on the directions of the Prime Minister, the NDMA made arrangements for the provision of relief assistance to the earthquake affected areas of Gansu Province in China. The relief assistance included 25,000 tents, 500 blankets, 1000 plastic made, 04 metric tons of medicines, 03 metric tons of mineral water and 28 members Army Medical Team

Future Outlook of Disaster Risk Management in Pakistan

  1. By the end of this year Government of Pakistan will endure to ensure the fully functional disaster management institutions at all levels of the governance
  2. By the next Academic year starting April-May 2009 Disaster management would be part of the Curricula of the Schools from level I-XII. Disaster management has also been included into the curricula of literacy programs (Non formal education)
  3. By the end of 2009 DRR would be made integral part of the Planning process of the developmental projects and all proposals for the infrastructure projects would be required to have a statement on DRR