Local institutions could play an essential role in providing first-hand rescue and support to communities in reducing the impacts and vulnerability to natural disasters such as floods. Keeping in view the importance of local institutions, Pakistan has established disaster management authorities at a national and provincial level to collaborate with local institutions in dealing with natural disasters. However, little is known about the current level of preparedness and capacity of local institutions and capacity building gaps in managing disasters at the local scale. In order to fill this gap, this study conducted 40 key informants from 19 institutions working at local level to identify the current capacities, preparedness, and gaps in disaster management cycle of local institutions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan using five indicators of disaster preparedness pillar. The descriptive study statistics are used to explore the study objectives. The study findings revealed that the majority of the local institutions were underprepared in terms of awareness and training, human resources, financial resources, infrastructure and equipment, and coordination. The results further indicated that the existing preparedness capacity gaps could be bridged through capacity building training, technical support and financial capacity and infrastructure building. Additionally, to achieve a higher level of disaster preparedness, the government should establish direct linkages among all institutions which are actively involved and engaged in DRR/DRM especially local institutions. Thus it is very important for local institutions to adopt a proactive approach and engage in preparedness activities and strengthen the existing governance system to manage disaster risks in Pakistan and policymakers should focus more on addressing challenges that could restrict effective preparedness to deal with disaster risks through relevant policy mechanism and consult with all other stakeholders been involved.
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