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COVID-19 urban slum response programme launched

Islamabad

May 12, 2020

Islamabad : Considering the gravity of the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Pakistan especially in the most vulnerable communities living in urban slums and informal settlements (Katchi Abadis), the Prime Minister's Adviser on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Monday launched a pilot phase ‘Pakistan COVID-19 Urban Slums Response Programme’ (PCUSRP) to protect urban slum residents from deadly coronavirus.

"The pilot initiative aims to prevent spread of COIV-19 in urban slums as well as empowering local communities to mitigate its economic impact," he told the launching ceremony at the Ministry of Climate Change here.

He also thanked UN-Habitat and other development partnered for providing all-out support regarding launch of the initiative.

The pilot phase of the initiative is being implemented from today in Dhok Hassu and Dhok Mangtal slum areas of the bustling city of Rawalpindi.

PM adviser Malik Amin highlighted that the living conditions in the slums are very unhealthy and 40 percent of people living in urban slums and katchi abadi’s lives in one room and another 40 percent in two rooms and one toilet facility is used by 7-10 persons. He lauded UN -Habitat and the collaborating partners for the timely intervention in the slum areas and also appreciated the objectives of the project and emphasized that besides prevention measures towards COVID-19 the proposed interventions will also create income generating opportunities.

Amin Aslam said in addition to the stitching of masks and gloves by the women in the community, if they also stitch cloth bags, the Ministry can buy back from them to create more employment opportunities.

Meanwhile, he emphasized that based on the interventions and the lessons learnt a full-scale project will be developed with the Ministry of Climate Change in collaboration with partners.

The Ministry will raise funding through National Disaster Risk Management Fund of the Government of Pakistan and other donor agencies for expanding the programme country wide for mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 in urban slums.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Executive Director UN-Habitat had launched the COVID -19 Response Plan and campaign on 23 April 2020 in 64 countries to contain the continuing spread of the COVID-19 crisis that threatens the most vulnerable communities, particularly living in slums and informal settlements including refugees, internally displaced people and migrants.

Today Pakistan joined the other lead countries by launching Pakistan COVID-19 Urban Slum Response Programme targeting the world’s most vulnerable communities.

He said the programme includes innovative tools include creation of virtual Community Coordination Platform IT Platform , introduction of intensive disinfectant sprays in the hotspots, streets and markets, frequent checking of body temperature through laser guns, installation of handwashing stations, distribution of hand sanitisers, masks and gloves, introduction of WASH facilities and arrangements for environmentally safe collection and disposal of solid liquid and hazardous wastes.

The project will also create employment opportunities by engaging the local community to produce masks and gloves and other related activities. UN Habitat will seek cooperation from the interested federal and provincial governments, UN Agencies and donors to join hands in implementing the PCUSRP at the country level.