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Lt Col Sami Ullah Malik (R)

The writer is a Disaster Management Consultant (AKAH) and Ph.D. Scholar of Middle Eastern History at Islamic International University Islamabad. E-mail: [email protected]

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Hilal English

Building Sustainable Cities: Urban Search and Rescue Preparedness Simulation Exercise

January 2024

The urban disaster simulation organized by AKAHP is a crucial step toward building sustainable cities in Pakistan. By addressing the multifaceted challenges of urban disasters, the exercise aims to equip stakeholders with the skills and coordination necessary to respond effectively in the face of adversity. The collaborative efforts of all involved parties are essential for creating a safer and more secure urban environment.


In response to the escalating challenges posed by rapid urbanization and the unchecked growth of small cities in Pakistan, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Pakistan (AKAHP) is taking proactive measures to enhance disaster preparedness. A comprehensive urban disaster simulation exercise was conducted, which comprised more than 150 skilled members, including ten female volunteers of the Search and Rescue Teams (SART) from November 15-17, 2023. These teams represent the Pakistan Army, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Pakistan (AKAHP), and the Capital Development Authority (CDA), assembled from different parts of Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Chitral. The three-day-long simulation exercise aimed to maintain readiness, improve skills, and enhance the effectiveness of Urban Search and Rescue Teams (USART) in real-life emergencies. This USAR simulation emphasized technical search and rescue, rescue operations, structural assessment, equipment finalization, medical triage and treatment, mass casualty management, incident command and management, and K-9 Search and Rescue.
Lieutenant General Inam Haider Malik SI (M), Chairman National Disaster Mangement Authority (NDMA), honored the Urban Disaster Simulation closing ceremony as the Chief Guest. The event was also graced by officials from CDA, Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) leadership, Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF), and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). The event gathered over 300 people representing the development and humanitarian aid sector, academia, media, and community. 
Addressing the ceremony, Chairman NDMA appreciated AKAHP for organizing this joint urban simulation, considering it as an endeavor to establish working mechanisms between governmental and humanitarian rescue agencies. Such initiatives are crucial for the standardization of processes and the adoption of good practices. In her speech, Nusrat Nasab, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AKAHP, said, "Joint Urban Disaster Preparedness simulations are essential for search and rescue operations in real-time. AKAHP recognizes the importance of collaboration between the government, civil society organizations, and humanitarian and development partners in disaster preparedness for effective response. The diverse perspectives and expertise brought to the simulation have enriched our collective knowledge and highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, proactive planning, community engagement, and technological innovation in enhancing urban preparedness.”
The urban disaster simulation organized by AKAHP is a crucial step toward building sustainable cities in Pakistan. By addressing the multifaceted challenges of urban disasters, the exercise aims to equip stakeholders with the skills and coordination necessary to respond effectively in the face of adversity. The collaborative efforts of all involved parties are essential for creating a safer and more secure urban environment.


The author is a Ph.D. scholar specializing in Middle Eastern History at the Islamic International University Islamabad.
E-mail: [email protected]
 

 

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Lt Col Sami Ullah Malik (R)

The writer is a Disaster Management Consultant (AKAH) and Ph.D. Scholar of Middle Eastern History at Islamic International University Islamabad. E-mail: [email protected]

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