This article attempts to trace the origins and gradual development of ‘inter-agency collaboration’ and the implications thereof for disaster management strategies in Pakistan through an analysis of relief and rehabilitation interventions undertaken by the Government of Pakistan in collaboration with local and international Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and relief agencies in the ex post of the 2005 earthquake. In post disastrous situations, coordinated and integrated interventions aimed at relief and rehabilitation not only help facilitate reaching out to the affected communities in a timely fashion but also pave the way to channel scarce and valued resources towards end users in an efficient and effective manner.
The findings of the study demonstrate that inter-agency collaboration serves as an integral component of disaster management and may turn out to be a magic bullet particularly in situations when institutional capacities in host countries are tenuous. On the heels of any disastrous situation, timely provision of services always poses challenges not only to the government at all levels but also to the aid relief providing agencies as well. An effective way to cope with such challenges is to seek for collaboration between different levels of government and the national and international relief agencies. Inter-agency collaboration in disastrous situations requires participation and ownership from all actors. However, governments shall preferably play a leading role and take all the requisite steps in order to institutionalise such initiatives, which may help facilitate the responding agencies both in the short- and long-term disastrous situations. Although such inter-agency collaboration may be a platform for achieving a set of common goals, sharing of information, pooling of various resources and the lessons learnt but it could also serve as a very useful tool for spelling out both the governments’ and other collaborating actors’ roles and responsibilities.