Natural Hazard Risk
Pakistan is exposed to a variety of natural hazards. The most damaging are cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, floods, and landslides. In 2005, a high magnitude earthquake caused the greatest destruction and loss recorded in the country’s history: 6,700 people died; indirect income losses totaled $576 million; and relief, recovery, and reconstruction cost $5.2 billion.
Natural disasters, including reoccurring flooding, pose a major financing challenge. Flooding causes an estimated annual economic impact of 3–4 percent of the federal budget. In 2010, unprecedented flooding affected the entire length of the country, devastating 78 districts and affecting over 20 million people. A GFDRR-supported damage and needs assessment estimated $10 billion for recovery and reconstruction. In 2011, severe flooding affected 9.6 million people, many of whom were still recovering from the previous year.
The impacts of climate change are projected to increase the frequency and severity of these events.
Shifting toward proactive disaster risk management (DRM) is a government priority. Following the cataclysmic 2005 earthquake, the National Disaster Management Ordinance of 2006 established the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The national authority coordinates and monitors the implementation of DRM policies and strategies. District Disaster Management Authorities serve as the first line of defense.
In 2013, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy outlined a vision for building the NDMA’s capacity in risk assessment, prevention, mitigation, and preparedness.
To advance the DRM agenda, priorities include:
- Improving disaster response and coordination at the national, provincial, and district or city level;
- Developing safety nets to mitigate the effedts of crises on provinces and shocks on women and children; and,
- Identifying and expanding the use of disaster risk financing.
GFDRR has supported disaster resilience in Pakistan since 2008. Key areas include damage and loss assessments, hazard and risk assessments, sustainable reconstruction, and disaster risk financing.
Following the 2005 earthquake, GFDRR supported the government’s institutional and technical capacity to build a national safety net. The flagship Benazir Income Support Program, established in 2008, provides effective and timely cash assistance to the vulnerable in the aftermath of disasters. GFDRR also supported the documentation of lessons learned from the post-earthquake Rural Housing Reconstruction Program. The resulting manual now serves as best practice.
Following the 2010 and 2011 flooding, GFDRR supported post-disaster needs assessments (PDNAs). This work assisted the government in determining socioeconomic impacts and in formulating recovery strategies for sustainable reconstruction. Based on recommendations from the 2010 PDNA, over $500 million was leveraged for social protection cash transfers.
Since 2012, GFDRR has supported risk identification and fiscal analysis. This support led to the establishment of a risk assessment unit in the NDMA and an open source national disaster risk data sharing platform to enable data-driven decision-making and investments. GFDRR supports the platform through its Open Data for Resilience Initiative and has trained more than 90 people.
A 2015 fiscal disaster risk assessment report, supported by GFDRR and the World Bank, prompted the government to invest $245 million in disaster resilience, with a focus on fiscal resilience to natural disaster shocks.
GFDRR anticipates continued demand from the Government of Pakistan in the following engagements, which are in the early stages:
- Building national and regional resilience to weather and climate-related risks through the European Union-South Asia Capacity Building for DRM Program;
- Building capacity to integrate geo-hazard risk management into infrastructure programs to ensure the safety of lives and sustainability of investments; and,
- Developing community-based approaches to support inclusion and resilience of youth and women in the largest and most populous city, Karachi.