For many people in Swat, natural disasters are a rather common phenomenon: As the region is prone to earthquakes and floods after heavy rains, occurrences such as landslides and avalanches happen almost every year. Nevertheless, they rarely have appropriate coping strategies after such serious disasters. Currently, there are no early warning systems in Swat. But, if they plan ahead, the Swat communities could prepare for an emergency by organising themselves: essential skills, such as searching for and rescuing missing people or providing first medical aid, can easily be learned. Communities can also be taught to identify local risks and draft contingency plans. Disaster prevention is the order of the day for Malteser International’s humanitarian efforts.
The main objective of Malteser International’s efforts in Swat is to make the population aware of a simple fact: that they can prepare themselves for disasters and that they can help themselves when disaster strikes. “Risk Maps” are the measure of choice: The communities analyse their vulnerabilities and discuss their experiences acquired with previous natural disasters. They then develop emergency concepts and implement them. This means, for example, to prepare their fellow citizens for disasters by teaching students how to act in case of an earthquake. Volunteers will form committees and will be trained in first aid and search and rescue. Furthermore, public earthquake warning systems will be installed at selected buildings in densely populated areas.
Disaster prevention and disaster risk reduction are investments into the future: When people in Swat are better prepared, less will become victims of future disasters and may even help themselves and others during the critical phase of emergency relief.
|Duration:||Since Mai 2011|
|Financing:||Federal Foreign Office (Germany), Germany’s Relief Coalition, Malteser International|
|Malteser International:||Christof Ruhmich|
Dr. Shumaila Akhbar, medical doctor in the Swat Distrikt with a focus on maternal and child health.