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Monday February 26, 2024

Experts highlight options for flood victims’ rehabilitation

August 30, 2022

Islamabad:Executive Director of Sustainable Development Policy Institute Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri has said that when losses are more than the 2010 floods, a bigger response and recovery plan backed by adequate resources should be made leaving aside political differences and considerations.

Dr Suleri was participating in a discussion over Twitter space organised by SDPI wherein experts with humanitarian background highlighted a number of policy options for adequate response, recovery and rehabilitation plan.

Dr Suleri said that the damages will result into livelihood losses and food insecurity. He said BISP is a great cash disbursement programme as social safety net. Those who are not registered, they could be taken on board and cash transfer should start as soon as possible so that people start returning to normalcy and markets are up and running.

Head of Pakistan Humanitarian Forum Syed Shahid Kazmi said that we need to prioritise providing cooked food, nutritious dry food items, drinking water, medical camps, fodder and other veterinary services for livestock, de-watering, mosquito nets and shelters with temporary toilets. He said under such circumstances, there is a need to provide women and children safe spaces to protect them against violence. He hoped that once the UN flash appeal will be launched, much of humanitarian funding will come to Pakistan which may be helpful in protecting people from hunger and diseases.

Expert on disaster management, Syed Waqar Shirazi said only in three districts -- Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Tank --- 70 to 85% area submerged and caused massive destruction. He said power and telephone signals were cut in the flood hit areas which hampered rescue work. The floods damaged standing crops such as rice, sugarcane and cotton and seeds for future crops were also washed away. He warned against ensuing epidemics as a result of standing water. Shirazi said this is the result of disallowing humanitarian INGOs to operate in the country that now we have shortage of trained humanitarian workers with global experience.

Dr Shafqat Munir Ahmad from SDPI said had we learnt lesson from the 2010 onwards floods, we would have built safe spaces and raised platforms to protect people and their belongings. He said that we need to update national, provincial, and district levels development plans making them risk-sensitive. We need to align disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies with the commitments under Sendai Framework on DRR. Writer and environmentalist Zofeen T Ebrahim said that youth have a passion to support the flood victims but they are not trained in humanitarian work which causes a trouble in reaching out to the people. She called for providing cooked food and tents to give immediate relief to the floods affected population. She also expressed the opinion that banning humanitarian INGs was not a good decision as they used to train our human resources in handling emergencies.

Senior developmental journalist Moazzam S Bhatti was of the opinion that media can play a great role provided it is given access to assessment data. Appeals through media always draw funds and humanitarian support from general masses and philanthropists.