The recent expansion in urbanization, environmental deterioration, and natural disasters of ever-greater magnitude have all had a significant impact on Pakistan, an under developed country.
The country is prone to natural hazards such as drought, earthquakes, floods, heatwaves, extreme cold, and locust attacks. According to the Climate Risk Index 2021, Pakistan ranks eighth among the countries most affected by extreme weather events between 2000 and 2019. These natural disasters have caused massive internal displacements in the population that amount to a staggering 104,000 IDPs as of 31 December 2020 (as per the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre).
Pakistani communities are facing extreme challenges such as melting glaciers, limiting freshwater availability, more floods and drought, decreases in crop yield as well as greater air pollution. According to an online survey, almost one in every five respondents had to migrate because of temperature extremes and drastic changes in weather patterns.
Keeping all the aforementioned facts in mind, being a Pakistani, one must be prepared for any type of natural disaster.
Here are 5 practical steps to take if you encounter a natural disaster.
1. Make a Handbag/Emergency Kit of Essential Items
The first step is to prepare a handbag or emergency kit based on essential items like non-perishable food items (like rice, lentils, sugar, tea, biscuits, etc.), torch, lighter, cash and important documents (like CNIC, children’s bay forms, property registry, etc.). This handbag or emergency kit will be essential for your survival in case of any natural disaster.
2. Practice Drills
One essential thing that can save your and your loved ones’ life is to practice flood and earthquake evacuation drills with your family members. There are several videos on evacuation drills during any disaster on YouTube that can be seen and learned. One must practice drills at least once a month.
3. Give priorityto the Vulnerable People
When a natural disaster strikes, the first to receive help, rations, and support should be the most vulnerable people – children, women, older people or persons with disabilities. While helping your own family you must not forget to help such vulnerable groups in your neighborhood.
4. Make a list of Essential Services/Helplines
Another important thing to do is to have a list of phone numbers of essential services and helplines including first aid services, National Disaster Institutions, relief services, ambulances, fire brigades, police, food-related NGOs, etc. You can keep a list in the pocket size diary or a notepad.
It is vital to keep updated about the news in case of a natural disaster. Having the right information at the time of such a natural disaster or before can provide you and your loved ones with shelter, food and emergency support services.
These are the practical steps that are essential to avoid the loss of life and possessions in times of a natural disaster. If these five essential steps are followed, multiple lives can be saved.