KARACHI – The Centre, provinces and districts depressingly lack a systematic approach to disasters, floods and droughts, despite the fact that the country is vulnerable to all such emergencies, reports a People’s Accountability Commission on Floods (PACF) study, stating that the disaster contingency planning is radically flawed at all levels in the country.Issued on Sunday, the report, Reviews of Federal, Provincial and District Level Contingency Planning in Pakistan, discloses that the process of contingency plan preparation is not participatory. “It is not on a par with international standards and accepted principles of contingency plan.”It says, “The National Monsoon Contingency Plan 2012, evolved by the National Disaster Management Authority, anticipated that around 29.2 million people might be in need of relief and support, whereas rescue and evacuation was planned for 1.46 million people in a worst case scenario. There is no planning about relief for extra population of 27.74 million that might not be relocated, but would certainly be affected as per the NDMA plan anticipation.” The report also claims that the national document lacked response strategy, operational support and there is data dependency of the NDMA on the provincial disaster management authorities with regard to the identification of vulnerable points, hazard and risk mapping at the UC, taluka and district level, therefore, the plan is a mere paper work and nothing else.It details that the Provincial Monsoon/Floods Contingency Plan 2012, drafted by the PDMA, is lacking factual data based on a scientific survey with input from civil society. “The plan is supposed to reflect the findings provided by district level contingency plans, whereas most of the district contingency plans of 2012 possess old data and seem to be the copies of old plans. The sources of the data of the provincial contingency plan are vague and flawed.”The PACF adds, “In the Sindh Monsoon Contingency Plan 2012, more than one hundred vulnerable UCs and more than two hundreds vulnerable points have been identified on river embankments, natural dhoras and canals in sixteen specified districts, while there is no mention of same vulnerable points in the contingency plan of Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA) that shows a lack of coordination between the two departments.The report says, “The provincial government is not ensuring sufficient administration, financial human resources, information and telecommunication support to districts to mitigate losses of disaster risks hazards.”According to the report, district disaster contingency plans are more important in a sense that they unfold the ground situation at gross route level and contribute in developing provincial and national plans. Based on the research it was found that majority of the monsoon contingency plans like District Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Kamber Shadadkot, Dadu and Thatta are copy of the 2011 plans. The disaster management authorities working at the district, provincial and national level are less equipped with food and non-food items, comprehensive database, devoid of rosters and inventories, invisible and dysfunctional control rooms, lack and denial of public participation, unattended repair of irrigation vulnerable points and absence of effective interdepartmental and humanitarian coordination to respond the worst case scenario for targeted caseload of 29.2 million peoples.The report recommended that national disaster contingency plans should be prepared with a participatory approach by involving disaster-affected communities, civil society and other key stakeholders. The PDMA should develop the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for preparation of district disaster contingency plans to mitigate losses of natural calamities.Plans, prepared by the districts, should be translated into local language for educating the communities with the possible actions to be taken during arrival of the emergency so that common man can respond accordingly. The contingency plan of the Sindh Relief Department should be displayed on official website of the PDMA etc, so that information can be shared with all stakeholders for receiving meaningful inputs. Besides, participation of all stakeholders as the media, local NGOs, civil society and social activists should be ensured in the making of contingency plans, so that a common consensus and understanding can be developed to respond to any emergency situation with the help of the general public and humanitarian partners.