Pakistan Rescue Team becomes first UN-INSARAG certified team in South Asia
Representative from United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) Secretariat Geneva, Switzerland, Winston Chang, officially announced that after clearing the classification and evaluation process, the Pakistan Rescue Team (PRT) stood tall amongst the world elite as an officially UN Certified Urban Search and Rescue Team, at a ceremony held at the Governor House in Lahore. Speaking on the occasion, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar congratulated the Pakistan Rescue Team and said that Rescue 1122 had added yet another feather to its cap. It was a great honour for Pakistan to become the first United Nations INSARAG Certified team in South Asia.
The Governor Punjab welcomed all the UN Classifiers from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Morocco, Jordan and UN-INSARAG Secretariat in Geneva, UN Country Representative, Representatives of National Disaster Management Authority, Dr Rizwan Naseer, founder of Rescue Services in Pakistan and all team members of Pakistan Rescue Team.
He maintained that he had witnessed the helplessness of people after 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, adding that teams from the UK and other parts of the world had arrived Pakistan to assist in the rescue operation. At that time, no trained emergency services were in Pakistan.
He appreciated all out efforts and commitments of entire team for getting UN classification, adding that it would be the first Medium Team of its nature in the SAARC countries to combat any disaster as well as global level.
He also congratulated the whole nation and particularly to all concerned authority and departments who made it possible.
The Governor Punjab acknowledged the support provided by the United Nations OCHA and INSARAG Secretariat and UN-OCHA Pakistan since 2015 for mentoring Pakistan Rescue Team for becoming a part of Global Humanitarian Network.
Chaudhry Sarwar thanked all the USAR mentors and experts for providing technical assistance in training, and establishing according to UN-INSARAG guidelines and standards.
He stressed that Pakistan Rescue Team would train more USAR teams in the region as well in the country being a First UN Classified in the SAARC countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that undoubtedly this was the only organisation (Rescue 1122) which had earned recognition around the world by providing services.
He said that catastrophic earthquake occurred in Azad Kashmir, at that time there was no such institution in the country to tackle the situation, after which the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was established and extended its body at provincial levels.
Similarly, a standardised SOPs, procedures and uniform service was established in Punjab and now it had been extended into all districts of Punjab and tehsils levels, he added.
Mehmood Qureshi congratulated the Pakistan Rescue Team as well as Pakistani nationals for attaining world recognition and achieving another milestone for the country. It was an outcome of really hard working and dedication of Rescue 1122, he said.
He also acknowledged the services of rescue 1122 and ensured any kind of support from the government of Pakistan.
The final closing ceremony of UN-INSARAG Certification was held at Governor House which was widely attended by UN country coordinated, Team official of INSARAG, UN Classifiers of Geneva and Switzerland, apart from senior officer and official of Pakistan Rescue Team of Emergency Services academy & Punjab Emergency Service and others.
The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) aimed to establish standards for classification of international Urban Search and Rescue teams, as well as methodology for international response coordination in the aftermath of earthquakes and disasters. The process for the evaluation was an uphill task as it spanned up to five years vigorous process in the field of search and rescue.
In his message upon this success, UK's International Development Secretary of State, Alok Sharma said that many congratulations to Pakistan's Search and Rescue team for the UN recognition of their world-class ability to respond to crises. "I'm proud an expert from the UK aid funded UK International Search and Rescue team has mentored Pakistani colleagues to develop their skills to achieve this accolade. Sharing British expertise means Pakistan is now better equipped to respond when disaster strikes, increasing the chance of saving lives," he added.
At the end, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar along with DG Rescue 1122 Dr Rizwan Naseer presented souvenirs to all UN-classifiers.
Source: Urdu Point