SANGHAR – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) Pakistan, in collaboration with Provincial and District Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA and DDMAs), have launched two new projects aimed at reducing the risks posed by natural disasters in Pakistan: a Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) project and a School Safety project.
Speaking at the launch, Irfan Malik, Head of Programme WFP’s provincial office in Sindh, said “Pakistan has suffered from many natural disasters in the recent past including a major earthquake in 2005 and devastating flooding in 2010. These natural calamities have caused loss of many human lives and have also badly affected the livelihoods of local population. These losses could have been minimized if the communities were aware and better equipped with disaster preparedness and response planning strategies”. He further said that “to minimize losses to the human lives in case any natural disaster hits the country, WFP is expanding its specially designed CBDRM and School Safety projects in Pakistan to an additional 6 hazard prone districts across Pakistan”.
The WFP school safety programme will benefit as many as 20,000 students, teachers, school safety committees, community members, trainers, and local and district government officials. The CBDRM project will benefit more than 9,500 residents in six selected districts: Tharparkar and Sanghar in Sindh, Shangla and Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Jaffarabad and Naseerabad in Balochistan. The School Safety and CBDRM programme interventions in 4 districts of Balochistan and Sindh are generously funded by Royal Norwegian Embassy in Islamabad.
The launching ceremony was attended by Fayaz Shah, Director Operations PDMA Sindh, Omer Farooq Bullo, DC Sanghar, Mr. Nufil Nasir, Programme Advisor from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, representatives of district disaster management authorities, health and education departments, INGOs and the UN.
The projects will first be rolled out in Sindh, with more than 6,500 beneficiaries from 40 schools and 40 localities. WFP will provide school safety kits; search and rescue kits; first aid kits; information, education and communication material, including a students’ learning booklet; a teachers’ guidebook and flip charts of major hazards, to all selected schools and local communities to create awareness on disaster preparedness and response.
Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Nufil Nasir from the Royal Norwegian Embassy mentioned that much can be done to reduce the impact of disasters, if disaster risk management is mainstreamed into development processes. “Education and humanitarian assistance are key priorities for Norway in our development assistance globally. We know that good disaster risk management helps to achieve development goals such as poverty eradication and environment sustainability. It is also a cost efficient measure to save lives and property as well as strengthening the resilience of communities and individuals.
FOCUS Pakistan – an agency of the Aga Khan development Network (AKDN) for crisis response – has been selected as the cooperating partner of WFP Pakistan to implement these projects in Sindh.
“Disaster risk reduction begins at home, in our schools, places of work and worship, and playgrounds.” said Nusrat Nasab, Executive Officer at FOCUS Pakistan. “This cooperation with WFP, NDMA and PDMA will enable us to reach the vulnerable groups living in disaster-prone areas in Sindh”.
“The Government of Sindh and the PDMA are working closely with WFP, FOCUS and other stakeholders for better disaster preparedness and response planning,” said DG PDMA Sindh, Commander (R) Syed Salman Shah. He highlighted the need to have hazard-safe infrastructure and acknowledged the importance of programmes like CBDRM and School Safety. He also stressed the need to extend these projects in other parts of the country.
Farooq Bullo, DC Sanghar appreciated the CBDRM and School Safety programme initiatives of WFP and ensured the full support of the Sindh government in implementing the projects. He further encouraged WFP to expand these projects in areas affected by floods and droughts in Sindh.
The CBDRM and School Safety projects are part of the joint 2016 Annual Work Plan Agreements of WFP, the National and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (NDMA and PDMA), and of the Framework of Cooperation signed between WFP and NDMA for 2016-18.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in 80 countries.
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