Information Technology

Information technology (IT) has the potential to play a critical role in managing natural and human-made disasters. Damage to communications infrastructure, along with other communications problems exacerbated the difficulties in carrying out response and recovery efforts.

The mission of the Information Systems Operations Unit is to research, implement, and maintain high quality, secure technology solutions for PRCS. It also aims to develop and maintain a network of IT and Telecoms resources for disaster preparedness and/or response activities of the PRC besides assisting the National Society in capacity building. Moreover, it creates and deploys infrastructure standards within PRCS to support any situation before, during and after a disaster.

PRC is using the VHF & HF Radio Technology for the disasters and emergency. The IT department has already installed Radio Communications in all NHQ Ambulances and all the radio sets (30 x mobile and 30 VHF handy) are in good working condition. VHF Radio Handy Sets for the teams deployed in the emergency/disaster areas will be provided after getting approval from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Presently the VHF facility is functional in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar while HF facility is functional in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

PRCS IT Department has enough IT stock lists which can be made available to the various assessment teams being deployed for assessment and response. The unit has also mobile internet devices which can be used in field for communication in addition to the Thuraya Satellite Phones for communication in remote areas with no GSM or Radio signals.

To facilitate the response operation, IT Department has established an internal mass SMS service (online service via Zong) which will be active at the NHQ control room with unlimited SMS capacity to any network. This has been used for internal information sharing and operations updates. The unit also shall establish a generic email address which will be disseminated as part of feedback mechanism.

School Safety Program

school & safety

school & safety1

While the impacts of Climate Change have engulfed Pakistan we see an Increasing frequency of natural disasters (natural and man-made). In addition, the growing security challenges have proportionately increased has compelled all of us to take extraordinary safety measures in every walk of life.

These recent natural and manmade disasters have negatively impacted educational institutions including schools, students and teachers. It is critical that school-based DRR programming be prioritized and to work with teachers, communities and children and involve them in planning to build resilience within and outside the schools ensuring that all children receive education in a protective environment.

Realizing its responsibility as an auxiliary Organization of the Government, the Pakistan Red Crescent has embarked on developing a wholesome program for the safety of the children in schools and other education institutions. This will be a national program and named as “School Safety Program”. This program is aimed to provide guidance and facilitation for maintaining minimum standards of safety and promote “Safety Culture” for the staff and children of the Schools.

Logistic Support

logistic support

logistic support1

Present PRC logistics set-up covers all basic logistics functions and operations at National Headquarter, Provincial and District levels.

Logistics management unit at the headquarters level manages procurement, fleet, general logistics and Warehousing of four national warehouses, within the country. Provincial Branches together with their respective district branches and DM cells operate Seven (7) provincial and regional warehouses and around 26 districts warehouses.

At the headquarter level Logistics Department is part of the Disaster Management and Logistics Centre’s  (DMLC) set up and is headed by Deputy Director Logistics who reports directly to the Director of Operations. This set-up facilitates for direct communications, interaction and synchronizing between DM and Logistics functions during peace time and emergencies.

The Federation Logistics also provided its supporting services to National Society during emergencies and disasters. Support was provided to National Society in term of NFI’s, FIs and livelihood activities. IFRC is also playing role in capacity building of National Society team however still there is a need to improve and rebuild the process and procedures which are very lengthy.

Capacity of PRC Logistics

04 National Level Warehouse fully equipped with all modern tools and equipment. Staff is trained on Warehouse Management and Inventory Control. Warehousing issue/receipt SOPs are placed and implemented with a proper training at National level. LOGIC is implemented at National Level Warehouses, however, at branch level still it need to be implemented.

07 Provincial and Regional Level Warehouses partially equipped with modern tools and equipment. Training of staff is conducted every year.  All branch warehouses have been provided with computers and required equipment to make the inventory control with a better way.

Logistics Department at NHQ Level has been signed an Agreement with a transport company on yearly basis for smooth operation of road transport during emergencies. It is pertinent to mention here that during EQ 2015 operations National Headquarters was able to dispatch more than 130 trucks within four days to EQ affected areas on the request of Provincial branch.

Logistics Department is also maintaining a list of pre-qualified professional suppliers who have the capacity to supply goods and services on short notice, at the time of emergency. Therefore Logistics Department has developed a mutual understanding with “CSD Pakistan, Utility Stores Corporations & Metro Cash N Carry” one the largest supply chain units for food packets in the Country.

Fleet Capacity

PRC Logistics department is maintaining a fleet of more than 100 vehicles to utilize during emergency operation. This fleet consists on light and heavy duty vehicles. Inclusion of 3x heavy duty transport trucks in NHQ fleet, increased the capacity to respond any disaster within possible shortest time.

These trucks were donated by the British Red Cross and Swiss Red Cross for transportation of goods and water filtration plants in field area.

Capacity of PRC fleet drivers is enhanced through off road training with the support of IFRC.

Disaster Response

To further develop sustainable operational capacities and capabilities of PRC in Disaster Management to effectively respond to disasters / emergencies within country and at the international level in cooperation with other stakeholders; concurrently developing communities to increase their resilience to cope with the impact of disasters in defined priority areas.

PRCS has responded to disasters since its inception in 1947. In 2002 Disaster Management (DM) became a number one priority area of PRC, leading to the establishment of the Disaster Management Department. The DM system was established at all levels of PRC from 2005 to 2008, and during 2009-2010 further extended to 40 most vulnerable districts by establishing Disaster Management Cells.

In recent times the PRC has been required to respond to frequent disasters of increasing magnitude and complexity. PRCS has subsequently built significant capacity to respond quickly and effectively.

Given the expansion of activities and development of PRC disaster management capacities, and the considerable ongoing needs and risk of disasters, PRC has decided to focus on two main thematic areas to achieve this strategic objective:

Institutional capacity building to respond more effectively to disasters

PRC understands the need for building capacity to respond rapidly and effectively, but also recognizes the requirements of coordinated yet independent action. PRCS considers Disaster Management a multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral and multi-layered process for which the key responsibility lays with state actors, however non-state stakeholders especially development and humanitarian agencies have an important role to play. PRC believes it very important that any humanitarian response should take into account the long term implications of emergency assistance on recovery.

Key Directions:

  1. PRC has emerged on National circuit as leading humanitarian actor for responding to major disasters in Pakistan. The credibility of PRC as Organization has been recognized by Government of Pakistan (NDMA). NDMA has assigned very important role to PRC in their policy document regarding disaster responses due to its frontline existence and strong volunteers pool availability at grass root level.
  1. PRC has pool of skilled HR (staff/volunteers) who have been trained in emergency sectoral responses. PRC has 948 Regional, National, Provincial and district disaster response team members who are available for being deployed on short notice. PRC operates through the following mechanisms during time of need in running the relief operations:
  1. DMLC PRC takes lead in running the strong information communication flow (horizontally and vertically) and sectoral coordination mechanism emplacement at NHQ level with regular situation briefs sessions and updates to partners and external stakeholders. DM, Health, Logistics departments work very closely to each other for harmonizing the response plans and logistics supplies accordingly.
  2. Within 24-48 hours time after the disaster, PRC Disaster Response Team Members immediately carry out the monitoring of the situation and based on that prepare a Primary Incident Report (PIR) and share with respective District/Provincial/Regional Branches and also with NHQ, describing the need of PRC intervention or otherwise. At the same time Provincial/District Branches do coordinate with Government Authorities, Coordination cluster/DCO for gathering available secondary information which further verifies by rapid assessment teams in quickest possible time through local channels (community, volunteers, other present actors etc). PRC normally go for rapid assessment only.
  3. Within next 48-72 hours time, after validation of rapid assessment, data is sent to concern PHQ for further sharing with NHQ. PRC operational plan of action based on the possible caseload, immediate interventions required, population affected and some operational budget requirement, is made and shared with respective PRC Provincial / Regional Branch and the NHQ to initiate process of resource mobilization within available PRC capacity and also to share information with Movement Partners for seeking their possible support, if operation extends beyond PRC capacity.
  4. By responding to the most likely scenario, PRC NHQ gets enough time to work out its detailed POA, based on the analysis of overall assessment results. The POA describes the details of intervention areas (food, non-food, CTP, health, MRE, RFL), geographical areas to be covered, number of total beneficiaries to be addressed, timeframe of relief phase, initial overall budgets, etc.
  5. The PoA, is shared with all the Movement Partners, during operation coordination meeting, for seeking their support for relief phase and replenishment of stocks, later on. At the same time, in coordination with Provincial & Regional Branches, PRC NHQ starts mobilizing its resources (financial, stocks, medicines, MHUs, WatSan Units, HR etc) to execute the POA from its own resources.
  6. On the basis of Provincial/ Regional Caseload & distribution plans, requirement of Health, CTP, WatSan, MRE and RFL needs, based on overall assessments results,  the resources are mobilized to respective districts including (CTP, food, NFIs, MHUs, Medicines etc). Program Manager of respective intervention area take lead at NHQ for execution of identified and approved sectoral intervention.
  7. After the complete assessment analysis, the final beneficiary list is made and endorsed by community focal persons, PRC assessment team leader and local volunteers.
  8. For food distribution, the PRC distribution team finalizes distribution points with stakeholders and informs beneficiaries through PRC Staff and local volunteers accordingly for distributions date and time.
  9. Distribution Team Lead of that particular area is responsible to lay down the required distribution structure at site of distribution by ensuring the placement of information desk, beneficiary verification desk, crowd handling, complaint cell to handle unregistered affected people or complains of registered beneficiaries, desk for taking final thumb impression/signatures of verified beneficiary before handing over the relief item, lay down of food or NFIs kits etc.
  10. For distribution the tokens issued to HH used to be retrieved at distribution points and after checking their ID Cards and verifying HoH name from distribution lists the food pack/ NFI Kit is issued accordingly.
  11. Beneficiary HoH has to leave thumb impression in-front of their names in the distribution list.
  12. In case of non appearance of a beneficiary, our relief team normally waits for 2-3 days, afterword the leftover package is distributed to other appropriate/most suitable affected family, who meets the selection criteria of that particular distribution.
  13. Rapid assessment assessment/verification teams submit Daily Distribution Reports and sit-reps to concerned channels. The original beneficiaries’ lists (registration/distribution) used to follow the set channels and finally they reach data management unit in DMLC NHQ for entries and keeping it in record for reference.
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