Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Karachi Airport Attack..Some Thoughts On The Tragedy.

As the whole of Pakistan mourns the tragic deaths of the innocent people at Karachi Airport many questions arise at the state of preparedness by our major public areas like airports, ports etc.
Since Karachi Airport is under the control and administration of the Civil Aviation Authority, a review of this authority is necessary.Its website states that it is run by the federal government under the ministry of Defence. Its chief executive is always an air force retired person.The accident and emergency section clearly states situations only by accident with aircraft and there are forms given for complaints.There is no section for any other complaints for accidents such as fire, cargo accidents etc.
On a closer look at the premises and infrastructure at the airports it is seen that none of the areas are supplied with water sprinklers, firefighting equipment. There are no safety exits in work areas and there has been no fire drills whatsoever. The SOPs for accident and fire preparedness are not only absent from the website but also actually no department  has them. The tragic loss of precious lives is  the result of callous attitude of the administration towards taking accident and fire preparedness as a necessary standard operation procedure and policy for its employees. The CAA is trying to cover up its short comings by saying that the seven unfortunate people who died inside the burning cold storage area were actually shot by terrorists. This is sheer callousness. how can you provide solace to the relatives by this kind of attitude. They died due to sheer lack of rescue provided to them as there was no escape preparedness in case of fire. In fact there is no terrorist resistance plan for the airport as such.
This attitude is apparent in all civil and public institutions also as well as private institutions and factories. No fire drills are carried out nor water sprinklers and firefighting equipment provided in any large or small places.
Everybody is talking about the bravery of the fighting forces like the ASF but no one is questioning why fire fighting was not done. Why were chemicals if any stored and why were the trapped persons not evacuated. Simply damage control after each incident will not help at all. The state is at war and the enemy is within .We should at least preempt the kind of damage that can occur and be prepared for the same.
Why the NDMA, PDMA are quiet on this. Were not airport areas a priority?In any war they are to be safeguarded as a first priority. What is happening here?
A look at the PDMA Sindh website will show you the state of the mind of people running these organizations.It seems like a photo op show case for the useless people running the show. There are no latest procedures and preparedness advise tips for citizens. There are no links to useful sites and help addresses.
In developed countries even small things like looking after one self are given in case of disaster
Preparedness or basic knowledge of fire prevention is necessary
It is high time that people in responsible places realize the seriousness of urban terrorism and at least show some sense of responsibility and develop preparedness plans for their institutions and organizations.