The city of Nowshera was submerged in water during the heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan in July 2010. Photo by: Zaiq Ali / CC BY-ND

Humanitarian actors, wake up: A review of the 2010 and 2011 Pakistani floods has shown the value of investing seriously in disaster risk reduction.

The Humanitarian Response Index 2011 notes Pakistani humanitarian actors failed to recognize that the 2010 floods in Pakistan were related to La Niña and that it can be expected to recur. It says the 2011 monsoon has shown the country’s vulnerability, with four international nongovernmental organizations releasing a warning in November that 9 million people were at risk of disease.

This predictability is also apparent in other Asian countries, such as the Philippines and Thailand, that experience monsoon rains on a yearly basis. Margareta Wahlström, special representative of the secretary-general for disaster risk reduction, once said these floods are signposted long before their arrival.

The review says while donors recognize the relevance of DRR, they do not prioritize it.

“Disaster risk reduction (DRR) has been discussed by Pakistani authorities and the UN for several years but there is a gap between theory and practice,” it states.

The review, including the Inter-Agency Real Time Evaluation carried out by the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action, highlighted greater donor commitment, mapping of stakeholders, predefined emergency response mechanisms and standby agreements to mitigate disaster risks.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.