Every year, we commemorate 8th  October in remembrance of October  2005 catastrophic earthquake,  which took over 87,000  human lives and uprooted 3.5 million  people. At that time, the helplessness  was obvious as there was  no trained team to conduct search  and rescue activities and the country  was at receiving end in all respect  due to dismal state of rescue  services. After 2005 earthquake,  other disasters like flood, drought  etc had also huge effects on many  human lives, infrastructures and  economic condition.  These disasters also provided  opportunity to improve preparedness,  response capacities. Numerous  steps have been taken including  quality construction in  earthquake hit areas, newly started  Punjab Emergency Service  (Rescue 1122) by then established  the first Disaster Emergency  Response Team in October  2006 and subsequently has been  involved in the capacity building  of its Search and Rescue Team as  per international standards. Likewise,  Emergency Services Academy  started training of rescuers  from all over the country to establish  a comprehensive integrated  emergency management system  in all districts of Punjab and  in other Provinces of Pakistan. Today  Emergency Services Academy  has trained over 23000 emergency  services personnel for Punjab,  KP, GB, Balochistan and AJK.  The integrated model of Emergency  Service Rescue 1122 is being  replicated in other provinces to provide  right to emergency care without  any discrimination. Pakistan  Rescue Team (PRT) of Emergency  Services Academy Rescue 1122 Lahore  has become the 1st United Nations  International Search and Rescue  Advisory Group (UN-INSARAG)  classified team in South Asia after  completing an extensive evaluation  process of several years under supervision  of UN-INSARAG Mentors  for National and International disaster  response as per international  standards. Government of Pakistan  through National Disaster  Management, UNOCHA and Emergency  Services Academy Classified  Team is striving to train more  UN-INSARAG classified teams in  the country. Rescue 1122 has also  initiated process to train light  search and rescue teams from UN  INSARAG.  Government of the Pakistan has  notified 8th October as the National  Resilience Day which is positively  highlighting our national resolve  for preparedness as well as resilience  of our people. Rescue Service  has rescued over 11.5 million  victims of different emergencies,  the modern Fire Rescue Service  responded over 197,000 fire incidents  and saved losses worth over  Rs580 billion. Motorbike Rescue  Service responded over 1.1 million  emergencies with average response  time of 4 minutes in 9 divisional  headquarters of Punjab and  Patient Transfer Service shifted 1.1  million from lower health facility  to higher health facility. The emergency  service has been expanded  to all districts and tehsils and motorbike  rescue service started in all  districts by Ch Parvez Elahi, Chief  Minister Punjab, to provide emergency  services at the door steps of  the people of Punjab.  During COVID-19 pandemic Rescue  performed frontline role for  shifting of over 23000 corona patients  in quarantine centres and  hospitals, carried out 4000 corona  burials in a dignified manner,  assisted heath department for corona  patients’ care in hospitals  and provided support in distribution  of ration packs to 50,000 deserving  families. Furthermore,  Emergency Service has close liaison  through Community Emergency  Response Teams (CERTs) in  all Union Councils (UCs) of Punjab.  These CERTs are being established  in all UCs of Punjab to assist  in management of emergencies  and safety promotion. In order to  educate youth on emergency response,  first aid and safety promotion  Rescue Cadet Corps are being  trained in colleges and universities.  The purpose of these Corps is  to have socially responsible youth  and first aider in every home. Rescue  1122 is also focal point for  app  ISLAMABAD  The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)  hosted a conference of international  donors and development partners. The  conference was attended by representatives  from multilateral donor agencies  including IMF, World Bank, Asian  Development Bank (ADB), OECD, and  unilateral donor agencies including  FCDO, JICA, GIZ and His Majesty’s Revenues  and Customs (HMRC).  Speaking on the occasion, Chairman  FBR Asim Ahmad emphasised the need  for a demand-driven funding support  to FBR so that donor agencies could  design their future programmes and  interventions based on requirements  identified by FBR. He said that FBR has  identified three key areas wherein the  tax administration expects donors collaboration  and outcome-driven interventions.  The three areas include investment  in human capital, transfer  of technologies and skills to FBR, and  support in upgrading logistics, equipment  and infrastructure.  The participants agreed to continue engaging  with FBR on one-on-one basis and  further build upon this demand driven  approach for future support and interventions  to enable FBR to become a more  dynamic and effective organisation.  Journey from 2005 disaster to resilience  Prime Minister Initiative Pak Life  Saver Programme to train citizens  on essential lifesaving skills  like Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation  so that maximum lives could  be saved in case of any emergency  or disaster.  Every year Emergency Services  Academy organises National  Rescue Challenge in order to improve  coordination, and ensure  uniform standards of emergency  services in the country. This Year,  11th National Rescue Challenge  has been planned from 11th to  14th October 2022 and all Emergency  Services of Pakistan are invited  to participate in the Rescue  Challenge. Similarly, 6th National  Volunteer CERTs Challenge shall  also be organised in the Academy  from 5th to 9th December to ensure  the preparedness of CERTs/  volunteers for disaster response  at community level. These community  teams shall be evaluated  on Community Action for Disaster  Response (CADRE) Skills. The continuous  strengthening of emergency  services and capacity building  of communities are improving  the level of resilience in the country  and also helps to develop safer  communities in Pakistan. –

By Deeba Shahnaz Akhter

The writer is Head of Community  Safety & Information Rescue  Punjab. She can reached at safepakmission@  gmail.com