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Fault lines aren’t where the faults lie

An incapa­citate­d and defect­ive admini­strati­on cannot plan or preven­t harm caused by natura­l calami­ties

MUZAFFARGARH: Pakistan has a problem. It lies in one of the most active quake zones in the world. But it also has an even greater problem. It lies in the hands of an incapacitated and defective administration, which cannot plan or prevent harm caused by natural calamities. The earthquake of October 2005 that annihilated major parts of northwestern Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, was the tip of the iceberg. There were horrible predictions of such disastrous quakes in Pakistan from reliable global seismic-geological organisations. It was high time for sane planning against earthquakes in the country.

But, the people at the helm of the affairs showed the usual lack of sense of responsibility and on October 26 of this year, people in the northwestern areas of Pakistan met with another earthquake with the same fears and sorrows as 2005. In Pakistan, there is neither pre-earthquake nor post-earthquake planning to avoid or minimise human casualties and the destruction of assets. Heartless passivity and a slovenly attitude have run rampant in the relevant governmental and administrative machinery to handle disasters. The poor performance of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been there for all to see in the last decade. ERRA has done little for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the affectees of the 2005 earthquake since its establishment. There is a big question mark against the NDMA also when it comes to its capabilities of handling calamities and not being able to save lives.

Muhammad Saleem Shahid

Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2015.

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