Pakistan, October 2018 – The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) in Pakistan 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 (SART) in Lahore.1 26 SART members, which included both men and women, attended the seven day long training session. The training was aimed to develop skills for urban search and rescue, water rescue, and powered rescue boat.
FOCUS and AKAH have led the development and capacity building of regional Search and Rescue Teams for over two decades. And over the years those teams have actively responded in several national level disasters including the Astore earthquake in 2002, the Kashmir earthquake in 2005, the building collapse in 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 AKAH’s SARTs in such courses is an essential way to equip their knowledge and skills for quality disaster response”.
1 Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) was established in 2016. AKAH brings together resources of different AKDN agencies including FOCUS, the entity that helps mitigate risk and impact from natural disasters. FOCUS continues to provide financial support for AKAH’s efforts in responding to natural disasters.