Half of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa emergency calls are false alarms, 2016 data reveals

Raham Yousufzai
Peshawer: Analysis of  calls to 1122 emergency services  reveal that more than half were either irrelevant or just prank calls.
To provide emergency services, rescue 1122 was established in March, 2010 and was seen as an important public service in the face of wave of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  Even in its infancy, the office carried out hundreds of rescue mission aiding millions of victims.
However, according to the 1122 data available, of the more than five million phone calls answered by rescue 1122 in 2016, 54% were categorized as fake.

 District Abbottabad leads among the five districts for false alarms (86%).  Nearly nine out of 10 calls were fake, a startling number in a district facing real emergencies each day. DI Khan was second for fake or irrelevant calls where eight out 10 (78%) calls were recorder as fake. Mardan is third highest where six out of 10 calls were fake. Peshawar and Swat had 51% and 45% fake calls, respectively.

 Similarly, the ratio of total emergency calls that were responded to is very low due to fake calls. According to 2016 data Peshawar received more than 4 million calls in which only 50 thousand call were responded to. That means that emergency services respond to only one out of every 100 calls received in the city.  Mardan has the largest emergency respondent rate which has almost 4% emergency call were responded to, or four out of every 100 calls.  Swat has the lowest rate 0.42% of respondent calls.

 The government has claimed success in reducing the number of bombs and improving security in the region. In 2016, the region received 390 calls for blasts and explosion. Nearly all were received in Peshawar followed by Mardan with 38 calls.
 During 2016, rescue 1122 service claimed to have rescued over 100 thousand people in five districts. According to data available, Mardan responded to over 50 thousand calls and rescued over 56 thousand people. Maraden rescued on average 156 people per day. Peshawar remains second where 137 people were rescued daily. The remaining districts had lower rates, with only one or two rescued per day.

 According to Asad Ali Khan, Director General of Rescue 1122, the service has maintained its average response time of 5 to 10 minutes. He said that government spends a huge amount of money responding to fake calls. The data reveals that every year, RS. 507 million are wasted on responding to fake calls.
The Government still needs to conduct awareness campaign about rescue 1122, he explained. Rescue 1122 is to provide first aid to needy people and should not be called for any other reason as it takes away resources from actual victims of the insurgency and other emergencies.
Writer is a journalist working for 24 News in Peshawar
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