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1st SAARC Rescue Challenge Workshop concludes at ESA

Lahore : The 1st South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Rescue Challenge & SAARC Workshop on Rescue 1122 – Emergency Services Reforms in Pakistan concluded here at the Emergency Services Academy on Thursday with this resolution to work for safe, sustainable urban development and continue working for regional cooperation to tackle commonly faced problems including Disasters like Earthquakes and Floods in the region.

The delegates from SAARC Member State including Director Training Fire Service & Civil Defence Muhammad Ali and Director Administration & Finance, Bangladesh, Daleep Kumar Ghose participated in this event as an Observer Team.

The Provincial Minister for Disaster Management Mehar Ijaz Ahmed Achlana was the Chief Guest of the concluding ceremony while Director General National Institute of Disaster Management(NIDM) Brig. (r) Fiaz Hussain Shah, Director General Rescue 1122 Gilgit Baltistan Dr. Sher Aziz, Col. Akbar Baloch, Chief Executive Officer of Humanitarian Organization, PMO Mian Riffat Zia, Registrar Academy Dr. Farhan Khalid, DD (HR) Dr. Foaad Shahzad Mirza, DD (P&D) Faheem Qureshi, DD (R&M) Engr. Irfan Naseer, Ali Hassan, Head of Law & Administration, Adjutant Academy Dr. Ali Imam Syed, Chief Monitoring Officer Mian Ahsan, Head of Community Safety & Information Ms. Deeba Shahnaz Akhter, and other officers participated in the ceremony.

While sharing the country’s profile & situation of disaster management in Bangladesh, Muhammad Ali from said that Fire Service & Civil Defence improved from zero to significant level in Bangladesh. He further said that over 300 rivers have put a huge burden on disaster response services in Bangladesh, accordingly, flood management has become a necessary component of civil & military disaster response authorities.

He, however, said that Bangladesh seeks advanced training in Flood, Rescue and Disaster Management from developed countries and from Pakistan. Muhammad Ali further welcomed the collective initiative of Rescue 1122 for holding SAARC Rescue Challenge & Workshop in Pakistan.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Rizwan Naseer (Sitara-i-Imtiaz) said Pakistan has established a model of integrated modern emergency ambulance, rescue and fire services after successfully undertaking emergency services reforms in Pakistan. Today we are very pleased to announce that a modern Emergency Service infrastructure in all Districts of Punjab and other provinces and now we are in a position to share best practices with other SAARC member countries so that citizens of all SAARC countries could be provided with the basic right of timely emergency care without discrimination like other developed countries in case of Any accidents, emergencies and disasters. Specialized Emergency Services Academy, has become a platform of providing professional training to Rescuers of all provinces of Pakistan and even SAARC countries could benefit from this training facility. He said that we are facing common regional disasters including Earthquakes, Floods and Land Sliding in Pakistan but our response has reduced the losses of deaths and disabilities with the influx of Rescue 1122. “Punjab Emergency Service has rescued over 5.5 million emergency victims, responded to over 1.7 million road traffic crashes, and 104000 fire incidents in which losses worth over Rs. 270 billion just by timely response and professional fire-fighting on modern lines.” he added. He announced that Rescue 1122 shall hold International Rescue Challenge again next year wherein the teams from SAARC, Turkey and other countries shall be invited to participate.

The Provincial Minister for Disaster Management Mehar Ijaz Ahmed Achlana said on this occasion that Pakistan has introduced a synchronized model of disaster management in the shape of Rescue 1122, which can be termed as a model for SAARC Region. He said Pakistan is a disaster prone country especially flood is the common phenomena which requires comprehensive collective strategy for effective disaster management. Mehar Ijaz further said the Government of the Punjab has taken a brave step for holding SAARC Rescue Challenge thus providing all regional stakeholders an opportunity for devising a strategy of collective efforts for regional stability and cooperation in the field of disaster management.

DG Rescue 1122 Gilgit Baltistan Dr. Sher Aziz shared the nature of emergencies in hilly areas of the country and hoped that such events shall enhance practical skills & expertise of rescuers of Gilgit Baltistan. DG NIDM Brig. (r) Fiaz Hussain Shah said he was glad to feel national pride of Dr. Rizwan Naseer for realizing national life safety step by launching Rescue 1122. He said still we need to have an integrated model of national & provincial level and synergy of departments for positive results in future. He said that country is utilizing Rescue 1122 as a Disaster Response Force, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Agency. He thanked Dr. Rizwan Naseer for initiating a positive step for collective efforts for regional cooperation. In the end, DG Rescue Punjab distributed souvenirs and shields among participating teams of SAARC Rescue Challenge & Workshop.

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