2/2010 Pakistan Earthquake Management


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2/2010 Pakistan Earthquake Management

  1. 1. C I V I L - M I L I TA R YW O R K I N G PA P E R S2 / 2 010PAKISTAN EARTHQUAKE MANAGEMENTLieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed (Retd) w w w.c i v m i l co e . gov. au
  2. 2. Disclaimer:The views expressed in this Civil-Military Commentary/Civil Military Working Paper/Civil-Military Occasional Paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflectthe position of APCMCOE or of any government agency. Authors enjoy the academicfreedom to offer new and sometimes controversial perspectives in the interest offurthering debate on key issues.The content is published under a Creative Commons by Attribution 3.0 Australia(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/) licence. All parts of this publicationmay be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, and transmitted by any means withoutthe written permission of the publisher.ISBN: 978-1-921933-01-1Published 2011.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS ii
  3. 3. ABSTRACT On 8 October 2005 at 0850 PST, Pakistan was struck by a huge earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale. This was, at the time, by far the worst natural disaster to have affected the country, creating massive destruction and loss of life. By the end of that fateful day over 600,000 houses had been either damaged or destroyed over an area of 30,000 square km across 9 Districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). The quake left 73,000 dead, more than 70,000 severely injured and approximately three million people without shelter. This presented the nation with one of the greatest challenges it had ever faced. It was a challenge not only for the people affected by the disaster but also for the Government who had to undertake such a mammoth task of providing relief, then making the transition towards reconstruction and rehabilitation in the affected areas. According to accounts of the various UN agencies, the affected areas were one of the most logistically challenging in the world. The scale of reconstruction required in such a difficult area had never been previously undertaken. As no model to follow existed, the government had to devise its own. The Federal Relief Commission for relief operations and, subsequently, the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) for reconstruction, were created to achieve these goals. Key Words: Pakistan, 2005 earthquake, disaster management, ERRA Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed (Retd) Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed (Retd) served as an Infantry Officer in the Pakistan Army until his retirement in May 2010. During his 40-year career he held various command and staff positions as well as heading several national agencies. He has served as Director Military Operations and later as the Vice Chief of General Staff at Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters. General Nadeem has had the rare experience of handling both a natural disaster and a complex emergency through all phases. In 2005, as Chief Military Coordinator of the Federal Relief Commission, he coordinated, supervised and implemented the earthquake relief operations for both military and civil relief agencies, working closely with the United Nations, humanitarian agencies, and foreign militaries. As Deputy Chairman of the Pakistan Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (2005–2008), he was responsible for the entire early recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the earthquake-affected region in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders. In 2009 until May 2010, he served as Chairman of the Special Support Group established to assist the 3.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) affected by the complex emergency in the North West Frontier Province. He holds two Masters Degrees – one in War Studies from the National Defence University, Islamabad and one in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College. In July 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Disaster Management by the University of Huddersfield in the UK.Pakistan Earthquake Management 1
  4. 4. BACKGROUNDOn 8 October 2005 at 0850 PST, Pakistan was struck by a huge earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richterscale. This was, at the time, by far the worst natural disaster to have affected the country, creating massivedestruction and loss of life. By the end of that fateful day over 600,000 houses had been either damaged ordestroyed over an area of 30,000 square km across 9 Districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the NorthWest Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).The quake left 73,000 dead, more than 70,000 severely injured and approximately three million peoplewithout shelter. This presented the nation with one of the greatest challenges it had ever faced. It was achallenge not only for the people affected by the disaster but also for the Government who had to undertakesuch a mammoth task of providing relief, then making the transition towards reconstruction and rehabilitationin the affected areas. According to accounts of the various UN agencies, the affected areas were one of themost logistically challenging in the world. The scale of reconstruction required in such a difficult area hadnever been previously undertaken. As no model to follow existed, the government had to devise its own.The Federal Relief Commission for relief operations and, subsequently, the Earthquake Reconstruction andRehabilitation Authority (ERRA) for reconstruction, were created to achieve these goals.CHALLENGESExperience has shown that in disasters of this magnitude, relief effort suffers due to:• The absence of a central management authority to provide strategic guidance and coordinate the entire relief effort.• The incremental employment of resources due to inaccurate damage assessment that can leave a large segment of population, especially the vulnerable, out of the relief net.• The chaotic law and order situation with cases of looting and arson that becomes accentuated due to dysfunctional civil administration; and, lastly,• The insufficient and badly damaged logistic infrastructure needed to support such a huge relief effort.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 2
  5. 5. WAY FORWARDInstitutional ArrangementsThe first and foremost step is to create an institutional arrangement - a focal agency to spearhead the entirerelief, recovery and reconstruction effort. The best outcome would be for the respective government tocreate this focal agency headed by a dedicated Minister with requisite staff. Alternatively, the United Nationscould take the lead by appointing a Humanitarian Coordinator along with a team of experts. In no case shoulda foreign country, regardless of its role in relief, become involved in this role due to political sensitivities. Themandate of this Agency should be to immediately formulate a ‘National Action Plan’ to guide relief providersboth in Government and non Government sectors, coordinate and monitor the work of all stakeholders andcarry out liaison with both foreign and local agencies. It must forecast the assistance required in accordancewith the need and on a regular basis to disseminate information for everyone to build a common operatingpicture. Based on this, relief providers can carve out a role for themselves in accordance with their corecompetence. An effort must also be made by the focal agency to practice the concept of ‘joint and integratedlogistics’ through centralized planning and decentralized implementation, to ensure judicious and equitabledistribution of the relief effort.Disaster Management SpectrumThere should be a requirement to take a comprehensive look at the work that lies ahead rather. While in the‘immediate’ we must continue with rescue and relief operations, focusing on trapped and wounded, provisionof food, water and shelter, opening of roads and sanitation, and restoration of municipal services, we also haveto start looking in the ‘short term’ towards sustaining the effected population, supplementing local responsecapacities and revive civil administration and essential services. In the ‘mid term’ we have to ensure continuousservice delivery, stabilize the economic, governance, human security and social equity situation, while in the‘long term’ undertake full-scale reconstruction and rehabilitation on a ‘Build Back Better’ basis. The mostcritical decision is when to call off relief operations and shift focus towards early recovery, and reconstructionand rehabilitation. There will be resistance to this decision by many relief providers for varying reasons.Therefore, it must be a well-deliberated and informed decision, giving sufficient absorption time to all thestakeholders to be able to complete all relevant activities before the closure of the relief activities. Residualrelief activities for the socially disadvantaged or physically handicapped should continue for a longer period.Pakistan Earthquake Management 3
  6. 6. Damage and Need AssessmentAlmost every relief provider undertakes their own damage assessment mission and since there are fartoo many relief providers doing this, people are subjected to questions more than once. This raisestheir expectation levels and also clutters and distorts the data. There should be a requirement to do acomprehensive damage assessment by one or multilateral agencies under a common assessment methodologycovering all requirements from relief to early recovery and reconstruction. The data should disaggregatedby sex and also cater for the vulnerable. The World Bank, assisted by line departments of the governmentand some of the relief providers, could conduct this exercise. This damage and need assessment should thenbecome the basis for the launch of a donors’ appeal to solicit support from donor countries and internationalorganisations towards the reconstruction effort. It will also help in planning customised interventions duringthe relief phase.Monetisation of Affected AreasTo ease the financial burden and provide limited purchasing capacity to the affected population, immediatemonetization through livelihood cash grants is extremely helpful. Also all the relief providers should beencouraged to inject cash in the local economy through ‘Cash for Work’ programs. In addition, they alsoneed to be encouraged to purchase all possible relief items from the local or adjoining markets to save ontransportation costs. Compensation for dead and injured needs to be announced immediately and distributedthrough a transparent mechanism. Once the damage assessment is completed, immediate release of the firsttranche of the reconstruction grant to the affectees will help kick start the process of reconstruction.Financial ManagementThere are different ways that donor countries and organizations can channel their funds towards assistingthe Government: either by way of allocating these funds to United Nations, International Organizations orNon Government Organizations; undertaking projects through their respective aid agencies such as USAID,JICA, CIDA, AusAID and others; or, providing budgetary support directly to the government. Thoughindirect support speeds up the reconstruction process, conversely it upsets market dynamics as InternationalOrganizations, Aid Agencies and Non Government Organizations tend to pay more money to the contractorsand also spend a good percentage of their funds on their overheads. All projects should be designed,approved and undertaken as per their own processes, duly fast tracked to facilitate the task of rebuildingquickly. The focal agency in this case will also act as a clearinghouse for all projects to avoid confusion and tolay down guidance parameters. It must be helped by a reputable consulting firm with the requisite experienceto undertake this task.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 4
  7. 7. Involvement of all Stakeholders in Policy Planning and Critical Decision MakingIt is necessary that at the time of formulating policies or taking practical decisions, all stakeholders includingGovernment Agencies, Multilateral and Bilateral Donors, International Agencies, International and local NonGovernment Organizations and Civil Society Organizations, be involved as it gives them a sense of ownershipand trust in government and the process. It also encourages them to extend their full-fledged assistance to theaffected country. Policies evolved through consensus have generally proved to be more effective and robustas all stakeholders contribute more equitably to make it succeed, rather than resenting every step withoutmoving forward. It also creates a spirit of camaraderie, partnership, and equal stakes, thus ensuring willingsupport and ultimate success of the programs.Develop Customised Procurement System, Financial Management Systems,Planning Systems and M&E Systems to Enhance EfficacyThere may well be existing systems of procurement, planning, approvals, financial management andmonitoring but these would be for doing routine and usual work. These processes tend to be time consuming.Reconstruction and rehabilitation is not ‘work as usual’. It is essentially a time critical activity, as millions ofpeople are out there in the open anxiously waiting for their houses, schools, hospitals, water supply systems,roads and infrastructure to be rebuilt today. There is therefore, a requirement to simplify all the relevantrules and procedures, remain close to the government’s existing rules as possible, and develop an operationalmanual for all reconstruction and rehabilitation work. This operational manual should remain a dynamicdocument and must continue to be improved based on experiences. After achieving systems maturity it canthen be validated and approved by the relevant department of the Government.Capacity BuildingThe reconstruction effort required will always find itself short of the requisite skilled manpower to do soilsurveys, design, approvals, procurement of requisite materials and services and then to undertake largescale reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure. There is a need to maximize use of local skills, materials,techniques, resources and capacities, in the planning and execution of projects and programs, taking intoaccount the need for affordable solutions. Along with local and national institutions, civil society needs tobe encouraged and empowered to participate in the recovery process. There is also a need to mobilizeprivate investment, both human and financial, by harnessing financial, technical and human contributions fromcompanies and individuals – including the Diaspora living abroad - by providing incentives to participate inreconstruction. Additionally a large pool of people will need to be given skills training in disciplines includingmasonry, carpentry, electricity, plumbing and steel fixing to meet the huge demand of skilled workers.Pakistan Earthquake Management 5
  8. 8. Develop Structured Mechanisms to Share Information, Coordinate Activitiesand Share Best PracticesIn any massive reconstruction and rehabilitation exercise, many stakeholders become involved. They includeMultilateral or Bilateral Donors, International Agencies, INGOs and NGOs, Federal Ministries, Provincialand District Government and various Line Departments. All look for central leadership and guidance fromthe Federal Government’s focal agency. Stakeholders need to remain abreast of all developments, knowthe common operating picture, response framework and be considered partners in the reconstructionactivities. The focal agency must therefore create structures where the stakeholders are part of overall policyformulation process at the Federal level through a Strategic Leaders Forum. Core Groups should be formedfor policy making related to a particular sector/cluster and Working Groups established within the districts tocoordinate implementation. Such arrangements will facilitate coordination at the field level and also provide aforum to share best practices and provide feedback to the Core Group to refine and improve output.Open and Transparent Systems Enhance Donor ConfidenceExperience shows that donors’ confidence is significantly enhanced once they find that the recipientgovernment’s focal agency is efficient, with well-conceived and ably implemented policies, there is openness tolistening to new ideas, and the whole system is transparent and accountable. Towards this end, a structuredmechanism of coordination with donors, a deliberate internal and external audit system, supported byan efficient monitoring and evaluation system for impact assessment, and, finally, ‘international third Partyvalidation’ will be extremely useful. Creation of a consultative forum comprising major donors and aMonitoring and Evaluation Advisory Committee, will enhance confidence in the whole system. This greatlyencourages donors to provide additional support and funding should it be needed.Prioritise Sectors in Accordance with the Need to Retain Right FocusThe newly raised focal agency will have to undertake work in approximately a dozen sectors for which theremay not be enough human resources to start simultaneously on all sectoral programs. Therefore, prioritymust be given to programs in accordance with criticality. The first program recommended is a Livelihood CashGrant program to facilitate the affected population to sustain themselves after their loss of livelihoods. Thesecond would be Housing as people need shelter and cannot stay in tents for an indefinite period. The nextprograms to be developed would consist of Health, Education, Social Protection of Vulnerable Population andWater and Sanitation and, finally, Roads Infrastructure, Telecommunications, Government Sector Buildings andPower. Experience shows that it is beneficial to undertake reconstruction efforts following a three-trackedapproach - that of ‘Government Funded’, ‘Donor Funded’ (IO’s, UN, WB, IMF etc),and ‘Sponsor Funded’(NGO’s, Philanthropists), where the design, approval and monitoring is retained at focal agency level andphysical implementation including design, consultancy and contractor selection, and construction is left to anyof the three. This will help in timely completion of projects.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 6
  9. 9. Owner Driven and Community Owned Approach is a Preferred OptionInternationally, reconstruction has seen three different models adopted. Firstly, a ‘Government Driven’approach where the government provides everything from financing to physical construction andrehabilitation. Secondly, a ‘Donor Driven’ approach where different donors undertake reconstruction andrehabilitation with the help of IOs, INGOs, NGOs or own aid agencies through directly funding them. In thethird case, an ‘Owner Driven’ approach can be adopted where the government provides the financial subsidy,training and design options to the beneficiaries, and leaves physical construction to the house owners. Thisgreatly helps the owners build customized houses in accordance with their own needs, ensures quality, andenhances local skills development and speedy construction. A comparison of the progress achieved betweena Donor / Government Driven approach vis-à-vis an Owner Driven approach clearly favors the OwnerDriven approach. Likewise, the focal agency must involve the communities in all construction activities be itWatSan schemes, Health or Education Infrastructure or Livelihood Programs (Skill Development, CommunityLivelihood Rehabilitation Plans (CLRPs) and Micro Credit Facilities). Involvement of communities helps evolvepeople-centered solutions, greater acceptability of programs, keeps the communities involved and ensuresquality and speed of reconstruction.Software Interventions are Equally ImportantWe must never lose sight of the ultimate aim of the entire effort, which is to improve service delivery. Brickand mortar buildings are therefore not enough. Software intervention must be undertaken in all social sectorsincluding Education, Health, Water and Sanitation and Social Protection of Vulnerable Population with a viewto providing quality human resources through training them to run the newly constructed facilities efficientlyand effectively. For example, providing psychosocial support to handle Post Trauma Syndrome victims throughdedicated programs such as providing child and women friendly spaces and skill development centers werefound to be extremely helpful in the earthquake affected areas.Risk Reduction, Gender Balance and Environmental Safeguards should be MainstreamedA careful analysis of the disaster reveals that damage to property and loss to lives could have been avoidedif disaster risk reduction and environmental considerations were mainstreamed to ensure sustainabledevelopment. In order to ensure that all physical structures are seismically resistant, and communitiesare trained to be disaster resilient, the right moment to mainstream these issues is now. This includes riskmapping, land zoning, resource mapping, capacity building, training of communities, school safety programs,creation of relief store warehouses at appropriate locations and appropriate building codes. Likewise, forevery major project it will be beneficial to carry out an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) or the InitialEnvironmental Evaluation (IEE) prior to undertaking the project to avoid environmental degradation. Sincea good percentage of the population consists of women and girls, it is extremely important that all benefitsof reconstruction accrue equally to both men and women, be it safeguarding their rights such as housing andlivelihood cash grants, ensuring equal opportunities in skill development and availability of micro credit grants,or empowering them to be part of the decision making process as in village Reconstruction Committees. Allthese steps will ensure long-term sustainability of the projects and programs. Pakistan Earthquake Management 7
  10. 10. Alternative Fast Construction Technologies be Encouraged Right from the OutsetFor a speedy reconstruction phase it is essential to start evaluating fast construction technologies from thebeginning. Though this will have a maturation time for the local industry to absorb, once fully assimilated andhuman resources are trained, it will drastically cut the overall reconstruction time.Decentralised Grievance Redress SystemIn disaster areas people do not have access to the legal departments and courts, and, likewise, the courtsdo not have the capacity to handle such huge number of cases. The focal agency will therefore have todevelop a very localized and decentralized grievance redress system for quick dispensation of justice to theaffected population by involving the representatives of District Administration, Principals of local educationalinstitutions and the local elders of that area. This will assist in bringing the left-out affectees into thebeneficiary net.A Well Thought Out Pro-active Communication StrategyIt is essential to evolve a well thought out pro-active communication strategy involving all stakeholders fromthe outset to avoid misperceptions and unduly raise peoples’ expectations. This can be done through aninformation campaign using print and electronic media, regular briefings to all stakeholders including mediaand parliamentarians, and by arranging visits of international and national media and representative of donororganizations/countries to the affected areas.Don’t Shy away from Taking New InitiativesWhile a particular school of thought may consider it to be ‘mission creep’, all opportunities to add value to thereconstruction and rehabilitation must be seized. Likewise initiatives that could benefit communities must betaken. A few examples - Rain Water Harvesting, Disaster Risk Reduction, Vulnerability Survey, Establishmentof Legal Aid Centers to help specially the vulnerable population, Rural Landless Program, Full SpectrumRehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, Special focus on under developed areas, establishment of SocialWelfare Complexes and Women Development Centres.Early Recovery and Reconstruction Effort to be Planned SimultaneouslyAlthough reconstruction is a long term process and may take three to five years, early recovery providesfor an interim solution in the midterm spanning over six to eighteen months. Since both these programsrun concurrently, there is every possibility of duplication and confusion with regard to site selection ofearly recovery structures. It is of the utmost importance to have very close coordination in planning andexecution of early recovery and the reconstruction effort. It ensures seamless transition from early recoveryto reconstruction compliments the reconstruction efforts and ensures that resources are optimally utilizedby making early recovery structures wherever it is necessary. For example schools or hospitals that areconstructed in the last year of the reconstruction plan may have an early recovery structure but the schools orhospitals which are being reconstructed in first year may not require a proper early recovery structure.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 8
  11. 11. Undue Political Influence Needs to be CheckedDuring the process of reconstruction and rehabilitation, it is often seen that political influence oftenundermines an equitable distribution of resources in a transparent and principled manner. In order to checkmisuse of political clout, especially by vested political interests, it is better that, based on the damage and needassessment, the entire reconstruction plan is conceived in the beginning as one entity, resources allocatedon a yearly basis, approval of the highest authority obtained and, finally, a strategy document published. Thisdocument should then become a sacrosanct document that cannot be modified or altered without priorclearance of the highest authority itself. These guard against any undue political interference. The principleof prioritizing the projects and schemes should be based on the accessibility of the area, the number ofbeneficiary population, hazard-free sites and equitable allocation of resources to all affected districts.Relief and Early Recovery - Whose agenda is it Anyway?It is evident from our disaster experience that relief and early recovery is the UN agenda whereas largemultilateral donors like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank tend to take a back seat and are mostlyinterested in the reconstruction phase. This disconnect between the two important players affects the twophases of disaster response due to their dependence on each other. The involvement of multilaterals from thefirst phase of response will add value to whole exercise and bring about sustainability in the operations.Data ManagementThe essence of data management is to be able to identify and arrest the problem in time. In the early periodof response, problems are not easily detectable but solvable. Later, problems are easily detectable but notsolvable. The experience shows that the focal agency will be flooded with all kinds of data from varioussources and unless all the streams are tapped and brought into a system, all the data collected will not addvalue to the response. For example, there is a clear linkage between the physical progress of a project onthe ground and financial disbursement against the project. If the physical progress data is linked with thefinancial data it helps in making informed decisions and reduces reliance on anecdotal evidence for decision-making. Feeding all the data into a central repository will ensure the compiled data is transferred to all andthe generation of need-based reports which are vital for tracking the progress of all the activities. As such theInformation Clearing House (INFOCH) established in ERRA allowed donors to identify gaps and plan theiractivities accordingly.Sunset ClauseERRA was established as a time and event specific organization with limited scope and mandate which couldeither come to an end after the expiry of its term or could be subsumed in any other organization. Regardless,it was important to have a sunset clause for ERRA so that all the work done and knowledge accumulatedcould be transferred to others. The identification of the succeeding organization from the beginning helps ina smooth transition from one organization to another through institutional linkages and overlap between thetwo organisations for some period of time.Pakistan Earthquake Management 9
  12. 12. Civil-Military and Military to Military CooperationThe role of national and international militaries is well established in disaster response due to the comparativeadvantage militaries have in areas including logistics, human resources and mobilization time. Pakistan hadhuge cooperation from foreign militaries deployed by their respective governments to augment the availableresponse resources within the country to respond to the earthquake relief efforts. The humanitariancommunity at times feels uncomfortable working with militaries but wherever they chose to work togetherin the earthquake areas it brought about complementarity in the operations and expeditious delivery onthe ground. Establishing good civil-military coordination mechanisms and liaison processes enhances a moreeffective and cohesive response.Donor CoordinationDonors, immaterial of their size, are looking for stronger coordination with the government and to be led bya focal agency. The lead government agency has to put in place adequate coordination mechanisms so that allthe donors and partners can be heard in order to achieve a cohesive effort. Formation of a dedicated donorcoordination cell and G-7 forum at ERRA helped in facilitating coordination among the donors as well asbetween the donors and the government. Within the G7 forum, major donors agreed to let each other leada particular sector based on their expertise, and to interact with the government in matters relating to thosesectors. For example, the World Bank was asked to lead the rural housing sector and all other donors assistedand supported the World Bank in its dealing with the government. This also helped the government as it thenonly had to deal with one big donor for a particular sector.Civil Society SupportIt normally manifests in two ways: a horde of volunteers wanting to help; and, secondly, providing emergencysustenance support by way of food, shelter, medical assistance etc. While this can be a valuable contribution,the problem arises when they do not find a structured mechanism through which they can provide thisassistance to ensure it is properly directed and ‘captured’ to avoid duplication. In this regard, the nodal agencymust develop proper guidelines and through its communication strategy, make known what kind of assistanceis required and where. The District authorities must take it forward from there and ensure that the assistanceis not only captured in their databases but also directed to the place where it is needed most. All volunteersmust come logistically self-sufficient so as not to cause a burden on the district administration. They must beable to work in line with their competence be it in camp management, health clinics, logistical hubs, bolsteringconvoys/helipad security, distribution of relief goods and other activities.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 10
  13. 13. CONCLUSIONThese guidelines are by no means the last word and, as the focal agency proceeds, with its task, new lessonswill be learned. However, these provide a starting point for any organization to kick-start the process. Thesehave been distilled through a very exhaustive, deliberate and intensive experience of managing disasters andshould be able to prove their efficacy in handling major disasters.Pakistan Earthquake Management 11