Collecting and analysing accurate data is an essential part of disaster preparedness, but the relevant authorities here don`t seem to think so. In general, our attitude towards preparing for and managing disasters is ad hoc and shambolic.
This is quite troubling considering the fact that various parts of Pakistan are prone to seismic activity. For example, major earthquakes struck Balochistan in 2008 and 2011, while it has been reported that six minor quakes were recorded in Karachi in 2010, along with a few recent tremors. The devastation caused by the 2005 quake in northern Pakistan has still not been forgotten.
While it is true that after the 2005 quake there has been greater awareness about disaster management both in the public and private spheres, there is much room for improvement. For example, while masons have been trained in different parts of the country — through UN help — to build safer structures, building codes, especially in cities, are routinely flouted and structures not conforming to safety standards approved.
Also, earthquake drills in schools and workplaces are almost non-existent, though experts say that considering our seismically active neighbourhood such drills should be routine. It is better to be prepared now in order to minimise damage rather than grapple with the consequences of being unprepared when disaster does strike. For a start, the disconnected seismometers should be brought online immediately.