Disaster risk reduction experts have come together to discuss ideas and priorities to reduce the impact of disasters in Pakistan.

The event, held on Tuesday, October 13, to mark International Day for Disaster Reduction (DRR), was led by Islamic Relief’s Pakistan office and saw a panel of experts discussing ways to reduce mortality, economic loss, and damage to infrastructure in a disaster, and increase resilience substantially by 2030.

Country Director IRP Adnan Cheema talks during Intl DRR Day

Islamic Relief’s Pakistan Country Director Adnan Cheema

NGOs invited to attend the day-long event included those from Pakistan’s National Disaster Risk Reduction Forum, a network of 105 organisations including civil society, NGOs, INGOs, donor agencies, government officials, and academics. The day was organised by Islamic Relief Pakistan in coordination with Save the Children, Care International, Mercy Corps and Malteser International.

Syed Shahid Kazmi, manager of humanitarian programmes at Islamic Relief Pakistan and chair of the National DRR Forum, said the event reflected on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030). He said: “We used the event to celebrate the efforts of the community to reduce their risk to disasters and raise awareness of the importance of DRR. It was also a day to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster-resilient communities.”

The purpose of the DRR Forum is to improve communication, coordination and information sharing on both DRR and adaption to climate change so more people can incorporate best practice into their programmes.

Member National Assembly Maiza Hameed

Included in the expert panel was Heather Macey, country coordinator of Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF, a forum of over 50 INGOs working in Pakistan); Adnan Cheema, country director of Islamic Relief Pakistan; Sameer Luqman, programme officer for UNESCO; Nusrat Nasah, of Focus Humanitarian Assistance; Muhammad Asar ul Haq, manager of DRR Mercy Corps; Naunehal Shah, observer of the DRR Forum; Dr Rashid Bajwa, of the National Rural Support Program; and Shahida Arif, head of DRR and humanitarian programmes at Save the Children.

Dr Rizwan Naseer

Member of the National Assembly Maiza Hameed said that the Government of Pakistan appreciated the role of civil society and NGOs in building the resilience of communities but that closer working would achieve more.

Dr Rizwan Naseer, secretary general of Pakistan Red Crescent, and chief guest at the event, said: “We need to commit on International Disaster Risk Reduction Day to providing timely and effective care to citizens of all provinces and commit to ensuring effective steps are taken for disaster risk reduction so that we can establish a safer Pakistan.”

Pakistan is prone to disasters, particularly earthquakes, floods and droughts. Alongside disaster resilience work, Islamic Relief’s projects in Pakistan include Islamic microfinance support and healthcare.