DURATION   February, 2015 to December, 2015
LOCATION   Sindh Province: Badin, Sujawal and Thatta
FUNDING AGENCY   Oxfam GB Pakistan
BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT / PROJECT AREA / NEEDS AND JUSTIFICATION Tsunamis threaten public safety and economic development in Pakistan. The coastal areas are considered the economic hubs of the country as they provide livelihoods to millions. The 1945 tsunami was one of the worst in history. According to various experts’ reports this hazard has a life cycle of 100 years and we are near the edge again.  Local communities in the area have observed recent abnormal behaviour including seismic activity. At the same time, sea-level rise and increased intensity of tropical cyclones mean that the risks associated with storm surges are ever increasing. Millions of more people now live in low lying areas of the coast, particularly in Karachi, a city of 20 million people. Given the deficits in ‘last-mile’ early warning and preparedness, the majority is without access to tsunami and storm surge early warning information and exhibit almost no preparedness for these scenarios.

The proposed project addresses the need to reinforce institutional and local level arrangements for end to end early warning system, to generate community level risk reduction initiatives and develop critical human resources among key institutions in anticipating and preparing for coastal disaster risks.

Collaboration agreements are already established with the key government institutions (NDMA, PDMA Sindh & Baluchistan, Pakistan Meteorological Department, National Universities, etc.) and non-government organizations (local NGOs/ CBOs).

Tsunami and Storm Surges have been identified as significant disaster risk scenarios in the National Disaster Risk Management Framework of Pakistan 2007 (NDRMF) by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Pakistan’s coastal zone is at risk from tsunamis generated by earthquakes in the nearby Makran subduction zone.  The November 1945 earthquake of Mw 8.1 triggered a 12-15 meter high tsunami, killing a reported 4,000 people in Pasni and surrounding areas.  Karachi, despite being approximately 450 km away from the earthquake’s epicenter, faced 2 meter high tide-like waves that affected harbor facilities. Today, Gawadar, the new port city, and Karachi, the commercial hub of the country, are extremely vulnerable to coastal inundation, and in the event of a tsunami, large segments of the population (>20 million people) and economic infrastructure will suffer serious losses.

The coastal belt of Pakistan (especially in Sindh) is also highly vulnerable to cyclones and associated storm surges. Fourteen cyclones were recorded between 1971 and 2001.  The cyclone of 1999 in Thatta and Badin districts wiped out 73 settlements, nearly 0.6 million people were affected and losses to infrastructure were estimated at Rs. 750 million. Climate change appears to be increasing the intensity of storms and causing changes in their tracks. Although the frequency of cyclones along Pakistani coast is historically low, this may increase, and due to high exposure of people and assets they cause considerable damage when they do occur.

Prior to December 2004, the 1945 Makran tsunami was regarded as the most disastrous in Indian Ocean history. Realizing Pakistan’s vulnerability to Tsunami in the wake of the 2004 event, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy 2013 specifically emphasizes the development of hazard specific guidelines/policy in addressing key roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in “building community resilience” as a focused strategy on DRR in Pakistan.

In spite of the levels of risk, very limited efforts have been made to prepare for tsunami and storm surge scenarios in Pakistan.  One such initiative, Strengthening Tsunami Early Warning System (STEWS) in Pakistan was designed and implemented under ONE UN Joint DRM Program funded by UNESCO-IOC. Another Satellite based Early Warning System linked Gawadar city with Pakistan Meteorology Department Tsunami Center in Karachi to support dissemination of early warning. While this was much appreciated by the national media and other stakeholders, it has not proved sustainable and is sadly dysfunctional. A handful of projects have sought to address ties of the coastal communities but these efforts have been very limited in scale and did not address the need for coherent and coordinated response and early warning preparedness for tsunami and storm surge specifically. While these initiatives all reflect a heightened awareness of coastal disaster risk, the ‘top-down’ approaches have failed to ensure appropriate information is accessed and used by communities at risk. This project will add value specifically by ensuring that relevant stakeholders receive, act on and share early warning information and critically that communities take effective action. Experience of early warning from around the globe has shown that often end-to-end systems fail, and even worsen risk by causing fatigue or even inappropriate behavior among end users when simulations are not designed and run often enough or effectively. This project will build on best practice from elsewhere in mitigating this risk.

In the proposed action Oxfam along with Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum will use already invested knowledge and skills for the tsunami risks in Pakistan, especially building upon ongoing and recently completed project initiatives like: A) communicating the effects of the 1945 Makran tsunami to increase awareness and preparedness of tsunami hazards in the region (UNESCO-IOC) B) Strengthening Tsunami Early Warning System in Pakistan (UNDP, UNESCO and NDMA) and C) Tsunami and Coastal Hazard Mitigation (UNDP and NDMA)

The project intends to develop further results from the ongoing UNESCO-IOC Project by using the website information of the 1945 tsunami research project to encourage researchers, scientists, disaster management practitioner  and government officials to:

  • Develop inundation scenario of 1945 event, NED university researchers who have already involved in ongoing UNESO-IOC project would be encouraged and supported for such research subjects.
  • Update district DRM Plan for Coastal Districts (initially developed in 2008-2009) on the basis of information of 1945 tsunami project.
  • Develop evacuation plan for the most vulnerable coastal areas like the port city of Gawadar.
This initiative would pay acknowledgement to already developed tsunami evacuation route and Pakistan’s first designated DRM Park planned in Gawadar under UNDP project. This initiative would involve scientists and DRM expert in the first stage and then finalizing the plan with the government authorities e.g. concerned PDMA and/or DDMA.

i. Encourage school students for the search and appreciation of eyewitness account of 1945 tsunami that would be available in the form of the booklet at the end of the UNESCO-IOC project (September/ October 2014). This would be planned by organizing a “story competition” among school students of the each coastal district.

ii. Inmarsat activation, see details under section E (2. Coordination)

iii. Use already developed tsunami related materials (under all of the three projects mentioned above) in tsunami awareness campaign for students and government officials, planned in the proposed project.

Oxfam along with Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum will ensure that this initiative adds value to its considerable portfolio of DRR work in coastal zone of Pakistan and seek complementarity with others initiatives. Oxfam will also advocate for Pakistan to be formally linked in to RIMES through this initiative. We have close links with ADPC and have supported the ASEAN AADMER secretariat for a number of years, giving us access and influence in relevant regional influencing spaces.
PROJECT GOAL:   Reduced loss of life and destruction of assets, resources and livelihoods from coastal hazards.
EXPECTED OUTCOME:   Improved ability of state institutions and communities in vulnerable coastal areas of Sindh to prepare for natural coastal hazards (storm surge and tsunami).
PROJECT OUTPUTS:   Outpts: Institution capacity of the state is enhanced and EWS in placed/strengthen and functional.
  • Training to community volunteers and media people and other relevant officials in effective communication and to properly interpret alert messages on tsunamis and other  coastal hazards
  • Formations/strengthening of community groups in target communities.
  • Community awareness & trainings in tsunami & coastal hazard preparedness and community volunteers.
  • Awareness sessions in educational institutions.
  • Organizing workshops for key figures and focal points on Tsunami  preparedness and mitigation strategies (including  preparation to participate in IO Wave Exercise) in educational institutions in coastal areas
  • Organizing evacuation safety drills in 2 communities (preferably using re-activated Inmarsat EWS and evacuation route/ staircase/ model structure developed at Gwadar City.
  • Analysis, review and proposal for development of model structures for mitigation and counter measures for tsunami and other coastal hazard preparedness.
  • Development of a research paper on “Addressing knowledge gaps in Makran Tsunami.”
  • Workshops/meetings of stakeholders with key focus on coastal hazard preparedness response arrangements.
  • Procurement/installations of communication equipment for remote villages.
  • IEC material (printing and dissemination/designing).
DETAILS BENEFICIARIES COVERED The project’s direct beneficiaries will be key staff in critical institutions and 2,865 individuals from one ward in Gwadar City, and one village in each Tehsil of all six Coastal Districts of Lasbella, Thatta, Sajawal and Badin.  Young people, women and seasonal migrant workers would be the key beneficiaries. There would be around 17,190 indirect beneficiaries living in low lying settlements.

NDMA Annual Report 2011,