Better Awareness for Better Natural Hazards Preparedness in Pakistan
Pakistan is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. It faces severe geophysical hazards (earthquakes, landslides, and tsunami) as well climate change reinforced hydro-meteorological hazards (floods, droughts, tropical storms). Poor availability and exploitation of natural resources combined with dense, high and fast growing population and other peculiar politico-socio-economic factors add to Pakistan’s vulnerability to disasters caused by these hazards. The knowledge and awareness of impending disasters, their impacts, their mitigation, preparedness and adaptation is lacking among government officials, planers, engineers and general public. This research presents two case studies; one each from the categories of geophysical hazards and hydro-meteorological hazards, where knowledge and awareness is lacking and where improvements in the same can lead to better adaptation and preparedness. The first case study discusses mitigation of seismic hazards to non-engineered buildings through better knowledge of low-cost structural engineering solutions. It is demonstrated that seismic performance of these structures can be improved from life-safety viewpoint by adopting simple low-cost modifications to the existing construction practices. The second study points at lack of awareness among local planning officials of climate change impacts leading to water scarcity and flood hazards at different times. The research demonstrates a lack of institutional capacity in Pakistan that was discovered through primary research conducted for this study. Tit was found there are common themes across the two very different case studies and there are common lessons that can be learnt for hazard preparedness in Pakistan.
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