ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a cash-for-work programme in Charsada and Nowshera districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where the floods first hit.
The UNDP is in the process of partnering with 18 national non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to expand the early recovery programme into other areas of the country, said a statement issued by UNDP here on Wednesday.
It read that while local authorities, UN Agencies and NGOS maintained initiatives to address the crisis, the enormity of the destruction and the scale of suffering meant that recovery required a sustained effort.
Throughout the country, floods have affected more than 20 million people, over 10 per cent of Pakistan’s total population, and killed about 2,000, with damage or destruction to nearly 1.9 million homes in an area of at least 160,000 square kilometres.
The cash-for-work initiatives in the districts of Charsada and Nowshera offer a means for people to earn a living again and restart their lives while rebuilding their communities.
These efforts are part of the one-year early recovery programme to restore livelihoods through job creation, repair basic community infrastructure, and strengthen local government offices to get public services running again. Wahid Khan from Pashtoon Garhi Kandi Bala, Nowshera District, is 35 years old and one of the 189 workers currently employed in his community.
“The cash for work project brings us hope and gives the chance to look beyond the destruction,” said Wahid.
“The work allows me to buy food and clothes for my family. Without it, I do not know what I would do,” he added. After a working day under the scorching heat of the sun, he plays volleyball in the evenings with other workers.
“Playing volleyball helps us relax and forget about our sorrows for a while.” The total budget of the cash-for-work project in Charsada and Nowshera districts is $250,000 and includes removing rubble from the streets, building drains, paving the roads, and disposing of debris.
The 1,500 employed by the project are working five days per week and receive 400-600 Pakistani rupees ($4.7-$7) for six hours’ labour. Women and children also contribute by bringing water and food to the male members of their households.
“The cash-for-work projects are bringing immediate benefits to people and their communities,” said Rabia Khattak, UNDP Head of Crisis Prevention and Early Recovery Unit. “But to succeed it has to reach many more people and this requires sustained support from our national and international partners. It’s difficult to explain to people that even though their dreams have been washed away, there is still hope just around the corner,” she concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2010.
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