On Pakistan visit, UN relief official urges spending on resilience to speed up recovery from natural disasters

Residents of Nowshera in Pakistan walking through a flooded street. Photo: WFPl/Amjad Jama

19 November 2012 – A United Nations relief official today called on Pakistan and its partners to increase investment in resilience measures that will allow the country to recover from natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes, which have affected millions of people over the past years.

“Pakistan has faced repeated humanitarian crises in the last decade – from the earthquake of 2005 to the unprecedented flooding in 2010. Inevitably, this has brought Pakistan face to face with the challenges of climate change,” said the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Catherine Bragg, during a visit to the country.

“In the face of these repeated challenges, we must all turn to the longer-term and sustainable solutions – to strengthening resilience,” she added.

Flooding this year in southern Pakistan has affected almost five million people, according to Pakistani Government estimates, and many are still recovering from Pakistan’s floods of 2010 and 2011.

During her visit, Ms. Bragg assessed and drew attention to the needs of communities affected by the floods in the south and displaced families in the northwest.

She visited the Jalozai camp, near the northern city of Peshawar, where 11 per cent of the 744,000 people who have been displaced since 2008 reside. While noting that relief services in the camp are well organized and efficient due to cooperation on the ground among many partners, the UN humanitarian official stressed that there is still a funding shortage to meet their needs.

“$79 million is urgently required to meet immediate needs. Winter is coming, making the need even more urgent. Those needs can only be met if all levels of the Government – from local to federal authorities – are engaged,” Ms. Bragg said. “If you know Pakistan, you know this is the third year that millions of people have been affected by flooding, uprooting families and destroying their livelihoods.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), funding constraints threaten the provision of critical services to flood-affected people in the provinces of Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh, as well as displaced and returnee families in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, located in the country’s north-west.

Humanitarian partners urgently require $196 million to continue providing essential relief services over the coming months, OCHA added. These services include preventative and emergency healthcare, water and sanitation, shelter, education, protection, household relief items, food security and nutrition services

“All partners – the Government of Pakistan, the UN and its partners, international development banks, civil society and philanthropists alike – must come together to tackle this enormous challenge,” Ms. Bragg added.


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