‘Pakistan can’t afford another flood’


ISLAMABAD – Considering the last day in office an appropriate opportunity to give some advice, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt General (r) Nadeem Ahmed Wednesday stressed the need to sensitise the government that Pakistan could not afford another flood.
said an amount of US$610.353 million was required to bridge the gap between the needs of the vulnerable people and the funding. “It is a duty of every one of us, the media and the people at large to sensitise the government that Pakistan cannot afford another flood,” Nadeem said while speaking at a press conference held to unveil the Strategic Early Recovery Plan of the UN and the NDMA for restoring and rebuilding the lives affected by the floods last years. UN Humanitarian Coordinator Timo Pakkala was also present on the occasion.
He said because of differences with the government on certain issues he had no option but to resign from the slot. Later talking to media men separately, Nadeem said, “There should be respect of institutional mandate and if you allow sub-tasking the institution’s functions to another body, there could be duplication and I am unable to comprehend handing over of the NDMA’s certain functions to the Council of Common Interests (CCI).”
He said the government first slashed the amount Rs 3.9 billion needed for the early recovery and rehabilitation of the devastated areas to Rs 776 million but had so far released Rs278 million only. “If you do not have money, you may mobilise resources or campaign for generating funds…but if you do not do the least, then no one can do anything,” Nadeem said. He, however, said the donors were committed to the rebuilding process.
“Donors are willing to provide funds and what they need is practicable approach and transparency in spending,” Nadeem said. Earlier, speaking the press conference, Nadeem said Pakistan was now focussing on rebuilding livelihoods, rehabilitating basic and critical physical infrastructure and restoring health, education and water and sanitation services.
He said the NDMA, the UN and other development partners established an Early Recovery Working Group (ERWG), jointly chaired by the NDMA and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The ERWG would coordinate early recovery with a focus on 29 most-affected districts till December. Meanwhile, AFP said that the international community was slow to come to aid in the immediate aftermath of last year’s monsoon-triggered floods, which affected up to 21 million people, amid allegations of official mismanagement of funds.
As the aid operation now moves from its emergency phase to ‘early recovery’ to rebuild homes and restore livelihoods, the United Nations said a huge shortfall in funds remained. More than $600 million is still to come from donors, with more than $176.5 million needed for agriculture and food security, more than $174.5 million for housing, and more than $106.6 million for water and sanitation projects.
The rest of the funds were required to improve education, health, livelihoods, governance, and infrastructure, the UN and NDMA told reporters. “It is critical that the international community supports this effort both technically and financially,” UN humanitarian coordinator said.