NGOs feel ‘faith deficit’ with UN agencies

NGOs appeared less than happy at the end of the meeting with the United Nations (UN) agencies regarding flood relief.


Shahzad Jillani August 10, 2010

SUKKUR: Local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) appeared less than happy at the end of the meeting with the United Nations (UN) agencies on Tuesday.

Organisations including the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Unicef, World Food Programme, UNAIDs and government representatives from the national disaster management authority (NDMA) met with NGOs and members of civil society in Sukkur’s Institute of Business Administration to discuss relief efforts for flood victims in the region.

Representatives of the agencies told participants that they were not willing to rely on the data already collected by the local administration and other organisations. They wished to start the process of getting information on the flood-affected areas and displaced people anew and hoped that the local NGOs would help them out in this effort.

Fawad Hussain of the UNOCHA said, “We want to make sure that the aid provided by the UN agencies goes out to those who really need it.” He said that they will form committees to oversee relief camps and rehabilitation activities. “We want to identify cases of mishandling and ensure that everyone, especially women and children are provided for.”

Not everyone in the audience was satisfied with the plan.

“We have been here for seven days or more,” said a disgruntled volunteer, “These people just came today and have started giving orders.”

Many were unhappy with what they termed ‘dictation’ by the UN agencies.

The NGOs were told to fill out the forms, which asked details of where the participants were from, their area of expertise and name of organisation, ‘there and then’. Submissions tomorrow would not be accepted, they were told.

Through these forms, the agencies would select the NGOs they want to work with, while the organisations found to be lacking in credibility would be removed from their list. Akram Sheikh from Indus Resource Centre expressed his dissent at the direction of the meeting. The agencies say that they are here to help but they don’t want to make use of what we have already done, he argued, adding that it was a hassle to go through the entire process of data collection all over again. He emphasised that relief efforts should be “based on trust” between the UN agencies and the NGOs.

Meanwhile, the Sindh scouts withdrew their offer to work with the UN after the meeting. Representatives said that they did not agree with the attitude shown and would only help if it was required, and asked for it, later.

The spokesman for another local NGO echoed similar feelings and said this kind of attitude is not acceptable to the NGOs that have been working day and night for the flood-affected people.

Plans discussed, fears expressed

The UN agencies plan to set up tents village across the province. They will pay special attention to bathroom facilities and hygiene since the families displaced by the flood are already exposed to various diseases.

Each family will be provided a small toilet and proper water supply will be ensured, said Hussain.

Other officials at the meeting included Andrew J from Unicef, Daurde Jessen from World Food Programme, Dr Safdar Salman from UNAIDS, the chief relief commissioner for Sindh Ghulam Ali Pasha, NDMA director general Saleh Farooqui and Special Secretary Health Captain Dr Abdul Majid.

More families in the province will be forced to leave their homes and the affected people in Sindh will double, said Pasha.

He stressed the importance of collecting information on how many people in a family were being moved, where these families were coming from and so forth so that once the flood recedes, these people can be taken back to where they belong.

An implicit fear behind a lack of such information is that too many people will settle in one district, putting a strain on that area’s resources.

Farooqui said that the government had its own mechanism of data collection and loss assessment. UN agencies will be given the data collected by the government so that they can identify which areas were most affected and what are the needs of these people.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2010.

COMMENTS (6)

fida hussain banglani | 10 years ago | Reply Thousand of peoples effected in Tulka Thull District Jacobabad , and still nowday no any Goverment Represnet to help peoples Witout some ENGOS no ane elected poltiction help to emprove our areas and still lot of people suffer witout food and other necessry requriments leaving without shullter so kindly we need help to citinzens of thull,Mostly U/ces effected in flood and complete destoreted in UCES of Thull.NO any support from District Goverment of Jacobabd.Kindly help to Tulka Thull citizens. Regerds:Fida Hussain Banglani +923337180898
Fawad Hussain | 10 years ago | Reply Dear Writer, United Nations activated emergency response in Sindh on 8th August and since then significant ground has been covered. NGO community of 95 NGO's community to actively participate through UN coordination along with complete buy in from the provincial government. WFP Sindh has now reached more than 14,000 flood affected families in Shikarpur, Sukkur, Ghotki, Kashmore and Khairpur with 800 metric tons of food. Assistance has been provided for the last 8 days. On 17 August, the first helicopter mission was initiated, targeting the inaccessible district of Jacobabad, with the assistance of the Army. Food has also been pre-positioned at the airport and the operation has been initiated The Health cluster has carried out initial assessment of health facilities in five districts; 29 health facilities have been found partially damaged; out of which, 7 are functional. UNICEF has provided 600,000 ORS to Lady Health Workers through National Program. PAIMAN has offered 25 water tankers to DoH and PHED for provision of asfe drinking water, in addition, they will also deleiver Hygiene Kits to the affected people in three districts (Dadu, Khairpur and Sukkur). SC UK has started their mobile health services in district Sukkur. MSF and GOAL have also arrived in the province and are currently assessing needs. In addition, WHO has provided 5 Diarrhea Kits (covers 6000 population per kit), 26 Cholrea kits, 18 Mini Emergency health kits and one interagency health kit (30,000 population per month), 50,000 ORS, 17000 Aqua Tabs and 200 Anti-snake venom. Construction of a 35,000 sqf warehouse to be dedicated for relief efforts is underway and will be completed in 2 weeks. A small warehouse facility is also being established inside Sukkur airport to support air movements of relief goods. In the meantime, 3 temporary warehouse facilities in Sukkur are being used and currently have UNHCR, IOM and WFP stocks. The Logistics Cluster coordinated its first delivery of 6.5 mt of WFP from Sukkur to Jacobabad using an MI17 provided by the Pakistani military. It is planned that both helicopter and fixed wing air lifts of relief items to stranded persons will increase significantly in the coming days/weeks. 1000 tents were distributed by UNHCR. 10,500 shelter and NFIs kits arrived in Sukkur and distribution underway; 6500 Plastic sheeting provided by IOM and 4000 NFIs provided by UNHCR. The cluster has successfully mapped out 8 districts and assigned Partners to carryout health care services. Mercy CORPS will ship in 2 water treatment plants to Sukkur to improve on water quality provided to the affected population. In the meantime, Mercy Corps has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tehsil Municipal Administration of Sukkur for water trucking to settlements occupied by affected people in Sukkur town. Oxfam GB is providing WASH services to 10,000 families in Shikarpur in partnership with PDI. 32,000 litres of water have been distributed to 6,400 individuals in camps in Shikarpur on August 14, 2010. UNICEF has installed 5000 litre water tank and 8 latrines in IBA camp recently established in Sukkur town; in addition, 12 hand pumps have been installed in Khaipur district. The UN appeal is currently 50% funded and UN is scaling up the resonse despite pipeline breakages. Majority of the response is done through national NGOs through cluster coordination mechanisms. United Nations require support of the media and friends in Sindh province to reach 2.26 million affected population. Regards Fawad Hussain Relief Coordinator United Nations
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