The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), collaborated with the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) and the Punjab Emergency Service to organize a certification course for its Search and Rescue Teams (SARTs) in Lahore. The training, which was attended by 26 SART members, including men and women, aimed to develop skills for urban search and rescue, water rescue and powered rescue boat.
AKAH has led the development and capacity building of regional SARTs for over two decades. Recognizing the gender sensitivities in disaster response, nearly 35% of the SARTs’ members are women. Trained in light to medium search and rescue techniques according to the International Search and Rescue Response Guidelines (INSARAG), SARTs have actively responded in several national level disasters including: the Astore Earthquake in 2002, the Kashmir Earthquake in 2005, the building collapse in Lyari, Karachi in 2009, and the Attabad Landslide in 2010.
Appraising the need to focus on capacity building of SARTs to continue to effectively respond in events of disasters, the CEO of AKAH, Mr. Nawab Ali Khan expressed:
“The severe impacts of climate change and the increasing frequency of disasters in Pakistan call for improved capacities of the communities to cope against such disasters. Participation of SARTs in such courses is an essential way to equip their knowledge and skills for quality disaster response”.
While addressing the participants Dr. Rizwan Naseer, (Sitara-e-Imtiaz) Founder Director General of Punjab Emergency Services appreciated the efforts of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) for introducing the emergency management services in the country. He particularly appreciated the work of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) in Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) in the country. Dr. Rizwan hopes that a long-term partnership with AKDN would further benefit the emergency service in the country particularly in reaching those at risk of disasters.
The seven days long training session would enable the participant to inculcate search and rescue skills as well as would be also assessed as a certified trainer by the trainers from Punjab Emergency Service Academy Lahore and Mr. Peter from AKAH Global.
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