Altaf Hamid Rao
MIRPUR, (Parliament Times): Under the spirit to ensure the dissemination of swift information in case of any disaster including the natural calamities and to combat the situation in their aftermatch through the community’s involvement, the orientation to First Response Radio, The Swift source of information when disaster strike at any place, was held here on Saturday under the auspices of HCR Pakistan / Foundation, also the Coordinator First Response Radio (Pakistan) with the coordination of the state-run Azad Kashmir Radio / FM-101 Mirpur.
Chief Executive Officer of the host HCR Pakistan Foundation and Coordinator of FRR Mr. Hazeen Latif and Station Director Azad Kashmir Radio / FM-101 Mirpur Muhammad Shakeel apprised the audience of the significance of the dissemination of the quick information in case of any disaster including the earthquake and tsunami-like natural catastrophe through the immediate involvement of the concerned stake holders including the state-run relief and rehabilitation agencies and the community through the latest brief devise of quick information – the first quick response radio to avert the threat of the loss following any disaster.
Hazeen Latif disclosed on this occasion that a five-day capacity-building workshop will be hosted in March next year by his organization to ensure and strengthen the involvement of the aspirants intending to use the first response radio in case of disaster in any part of the state for the dissemination of due information and knowledge among the population of any-calamity hit area including the preventive measures for the safety of lives and properties in aftermath of the calamity. The event was attended among others by senior journalists including Altaf Hamid Rao from APP, Zaffar Mughal and Raja Habib Ullah, Head of News Division AK Radio Mirpur Ali Akhtar Salim, Sr. Producers of AK Radio Mirpur Azam Khan Niazi and Jameel Basher, CEO of Muslim Hands (AJK) Raja Arslan Nusrat, representatives of various local FM Radio Channels and Non-Governmental Relief Organizations including Kh. Zaffar Iqbal, officials of the State Health Department including DHO Dr. Fida Hussain, Medical Superintendent DHQ Teaching Hospital Mirpur Dr. Farooq Noor, Collector Mangla Dam Affairs / Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Ayub, Civil Defense department, Rescue 1122 and other related governmental and non-governmental functionaries. Highlighting the salient features of the first response radio Hazeen Latif said that since the Asia trunami (2004) and the killer earthquake of October 8, 2005 in Azad Jammu Kashmir and some adjoining areas of Pakistan, humanitarian responders had realized how radio can save lives by providing critical information about a disaster as well as helping survirors and communities recover in the aftermath based on these experiences ‘First.
Elaborating, Lafif continued that the First Response Radio (FRR) is a network of radio broadcasters, NGOs and government partners and an associated member of the CDAC Network (Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities). “Our members have been working in disaster areas since the Srunami of 2004, providing critical information via radio, as aid.”, he said adding that since 2004 FRR has responded to 12 major disasters in central Asia, he underlined. Hazeen Latif said that the First Response trains and serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Pakistan, he said, had been rated as “High Risk” from natural disaster by the United Nations and was in the top 13 most at-risk countries the world over according to the global index for Risk Management. “Since 1980, nearly 90 thousand people have died and more than 58 million have been affected by natural disasters in the country. Following the experiences of 2004 and 2005 HCR Pakistan in collaboration with the First Response Radio International launched the FRR team for Pakistan in 2018”, he revealed referring to the recent HCR Pakistan’s conducted research and investigations.
Hazeem Latif further said that the FRR builds disaster preparedness, capacity in disaster-prone areas and maintains surge capacity via a response reserve fund – primarily delivering equipment to local host partners in preparation for training, providing consistent high quality training in cooperation with a local host partner and working in coordination with the humanitarian community to ensure timely distribution of information and providing a localized community feedback channel, he added. Muhammad Shakeel, a seasoned broadcaster, Controller PBC and incumbent Station Director of Azad Kashmir Radio Mirpur while lauding the orientation to the FRR in the recent calamity-hit Mirpur Azad Kashmir said ‘’the Diaster Radio contributes to survivors’ recovery, sence of security and well-being through providing timely and relevant information”. “This requires good coordination of information being an ongoing, entertaining and encouraging presence during the disaster aftermath”, he underlined. Elaborating, Shakeel continued that the First Response Radio was a not-for-profit coompnay, equips and trains team ms to response the disasters, using radio to communicate with affected communities. “FRR aims to have a radio station on the air with 72 hours of a disaster. “The FRR reams have been working in disaster-prone areas since the 2004 tsunami, using radio to bring life-saving information and communicate hope in affected communities”, he pointed out.
The Station Director AK Radio revealed, quoting the organizers, that FRR have planned to equip and train six neew teams in the country over the next 2-3 years. To partner with FRR in this venture, the aspirants may contact Hazeem Latif, the FRR Coordinator or [email protected] This Correspondent found, while attending the orientation to the FRR that that the management of FRR primarily select the disaster-rprone areas to inquall quick response radio – which is portable Radio Station that has been development / fitted in a suitcase along with a transmitter with a three-fold strategy to ensure its quick functioning for the swift dissemination of information during and immediate after any disaster.