HYDERABAD: Relief work in Sindh is likely to gain momentum now as the provincial government officially requested the United Nations for assistance.
A United Nations Development Programme base camp has been set up in Badin and a team from the World Food Programme is expected to arrive in a few days.
After dilly-dallying for about a month and turning a deaf ear to pleas, including from the National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, the economic affairs division of Pakistan wrote a letter to the United Nations on September 6 – more than three weeks after Badin, Tharparker and Mirpurkhas were declared calamity hit – requesting relief.
“We will be working in the most-affected districts of Sindh,” said Dr Salman Safdar, the humanitarian affairs coordinator for the UN.
The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund is the only humanitarian organisation to have started relief work before the UN. But its work has been limited to Badin only, with the help of Badin Rural Development Society, National Rural Support Programme and Health and Nutrition Development Society. “Our partners are providing ration packets, hygiene kits and mobile medical services,” said Dr Safdar. “In the latter phase, we will launch early recovery and rehabilitation support programmes,” he added.
According to the Inter-Servies Public Relations, the Pakistan Army rescued over 4,000 people from marooned areas of Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan and Mirpurkhas on Thursday. Sanghar and Tharparker districts also requested the army’s help for evacuations.
The ISPR said that the army has reinforced deployment in rain-affected areas and more life jackets, long boots and machinery is being dispatched for the men working there.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2011.
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