UN launches assessment of flood-affected areas
ISLAMABAD: The United Nations on Monday began an assessment of the flood rehabilitation needs of Balochistan and Sindh.
UN agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Health Organisation, United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), World Food Programme and the office of the resident coordinator are sponsoring the assessment, which gives estimates of the medium and long-term relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance needed in the worst flood-hit regions.
A UN press release also says thousands of poor people are suffering from the aftermath of last seasons’s flooding as food insecurity and health problems persist in the districts of Badin, Tharparkar, Thatta, Naseerabad, Bolan, Jaffarabad, Lasbela and Jhal Magsi.
The press release says it is estimated that over one million people have been affected as their houses have either been destroyed or damaged and livestock has perished. Moreover, the floods have ravaged cropland and this has exacerbated the food crisis in these areas. The UN assessment calls for investment in buildings, water, sanitation, livestock, health, education, roads and livelihoods worth Rs 7,157 million to help flood victims.
The need assessment mission recommended that supplementary food aid be given to the 125,500 vulnerable families for four months, as the Rabi crop had been lost. Physical infrastructure such as roads and schools have also been destroyed and need to be repaired or restored. It was also suggested that technical assistance go to the federal and provincial governments to allow for better early warning and preparation mechanisms. Some of the flood-affected areas had earlier been ravished by the summer drought and it was felt that a comprehensive strategy to harness and use floodwater should be developed.
UN Resident Coordinator Onder Yucer said the UN had helped the Pakistan government prepare a comprehensive national disaster management plan. “The government has approved the plan, which now needs to be implemented to avoid the repetition of such misery that is still being experienced by the impoverished people of the flood-hit districts,” Mr Yucer said.
A Finance Ministry representative said, “The alarming crisis begs the immediate attention of all partners. The UN findings should be shared widely to ensure technical and financial support is provided to the people who have been hit hard by the floods”.
Representatives from civil society said any rehabilitation needed to be linked with wider efforts at poverty alleviation.