Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The New Strategies Adopted By International Donors & Relief Agencies In Pakistan Floods.

A sustainable shelter designed by Institute of Architects Pakistan. Very versatile.
The August 2010 floods that ravaged Pakistan and exposed all its fragile, corrupt and mismanaged departments and administration & bureaucracy at once for all the world to see also made the major funding agencies and disaster and relief organizations adopt a strategy where the usual donor-recipient relationship for development was avoided in order to curb corruption, pilferage & stealing of direct relief to flood victims. Sindh will benefit more from such a direct relief strategy as here the corruption and societal apathy is at its peak. Here the disaster & poverty of the flood affectees is also large.
The strategy adopted by the World is to give direct relief via Organization of Crises & Humanitarian Assistance(OCHA). It works with all the humanitarian relief organizations like Unicef, WHO, WFP , USAID via clusters which are basically 11 in number. In Sindh , the shelter cluster is the least fulfilled where the gap is very wide. Here are many reasons for this. Large areas are still covered with water. The initial abodes were made in areas that were not permanent shelters and were in the course of the riverine areas as the population is subsisting on agriculture.
The Relief & Rehabilitation involves multifaceted approach as towns and farmlands have to be built side by side with infrastructure of the canal & bunds. As most of the canals & bunds were now merely occupational structures with no clear record with the irrigation departments & the major cause of disruption & disaster was also because of this, there will be great difficulty in repair. There has to be meticulous mapping of the canals & bunds & restructuring and re-designing of the farmlands that were illegally occupied. The chief minister Sindh has made himself the head of a rehabilitation & reconstruction commission.
The humanitarian relief agencies are directly calling tenders for the NFI, shelter, other services activities and plan to give these directly to the flood affectees through their networks with CBOs, NGOs and DCOs. This does bring some relief but the scale of disaster is so big and the infrastructure for relief so small that this seems a daunting task. Financially also donor fatigue and even initial disinterest is prominent as seen in shelter for which some larger, sustainable proposals have not been funded initially.
The pitfalls of direct tendering are that the staff of humanitarian agencies will be both overwhelmed and also the goods and services may be substandard as per requirements & delayed.
Another aspect which the real donors are really interested in funding like protection, gender security etc are not addressed at all this humanitarian response at all..
Due to the under availability of health in rural areas the health coverage has also been very, very poor, of adhoc and low quality in far flung areas in Sindh.There is no future strategy for malaria, cholera or any epidemic control as most hospitals are under staffed and lack facilities.Dengue is already epidemic in all of Pakistan. With winters, pneumonia especially in children will be difficult to deal with.
The issue of clean drinking water & food has now reached a crises level and with the government so overwhelmed with its Watan card, infrastructure development, economic crises issues, this will definitely need international donors and world help. The crises in Sindh remains and is too deep and wide for the OCHA to handle alone, therefore a special help organization or group should be formed by the philanthropists of the world and the world community to help Pakistan.
A PCM child with pot belly.Very common picture in Sindh.

The author at the lush landscaped rest house in Moro.
The Sindh government has decided to built Zulfikarabad near Thatta but the issue of displaced people from the right bank will not be solved by this. They also need to be given land which they can use as an asset. There is ample land in Sindh to be given to these people and also to landless peasants. The international aid agencies should also push for land allotment as explained.
The education sector which was already highly corrupt and has really destroyed the future of the Sindh population needs to be reformed too. This is a good opportunity to build internet & E-learning technology centers in rural areas, redesign the curricula to meet future needs , of which IT industry is one sector that can be very quickly and usefully built in Sindh. The whole education policy needs to be redesigned according to needs. Mother tongue-based curriculum design with additional foreign languages , maths , science and technology based curricula with choices for rapid specialization should be the main thrust.
Renewable energy like solar, wind etc in rural areas should be invested in by US, UK, EU ,RUSSIA & CHINA.Thar Coal should be seriously developed on fast track basis and the Thar Coal Board should include private business experts and de-linked from government agencies in administrative matters. The administration should only be a facilitator and be involved in roads, community rights etc.
A severely malnutritioned child with anemic child-mother.
A peasant worker(Hari) in Sindh, with himself malnutrition, tender age, anemia with three children.Children have no shoes.
Another malnutritioned child of Marri tribe settled around Hala displaced to Jamshoro.
Child playing with broken sandal as a toy.Cannot stand up.
The bamboo & straw shelter designed by Institute of Architects Pakistan which they can use as sustainable shelter.
The mentality of the landlords has not changed at all and this is reflected by a talk by a Spanish wife of a big landlord in Sindh who said that there was not one case of malnutrition in Sindh as the peasants get enough food to eat& all variety and when I told her that I saw 100 percent malnutrition in Moro area both stunted, severe in children, women and men she said that we should be like Spanish where general Franco imposed compulsory medical service in rural areas and where the rural workers are hard working. She also insisted that the produce in Moro area is one of the best in Sindh and as there is fair distribution how can the peasants be hungry. With such escapist mentality even of European descent ladies married to landlords of Sindh how can we expect the extremely corrupt, degenerate landed sons of Sindhi soil. See the real state of malnutrition and poverty in Sindh and then please do help Pakistan for humanitarian reasons.