Lenders May Provide $700m for Relief for IDPs, Flood Victims

Inter­national lenders indicated on Tuesday at appropriating about $700 million for rehabilitation of people affected by a military operation in North Waziristan and floods against a government appeal of more than $2 billion.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar presided over a development partners conference to provide update on the findings of the recently concluded Recovery Need Assessment (RNA) besides securing support for the internationally displaced persons of Waziristan and people affected by floods. The government had put forth an estimate of $1.4bn requirement for IDPs and about $900m for flood-affected people. UK’s department for international development (DFID), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, European Union, Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Italy and some other partners affirmed support on the basis of the RNA.

It was, however, indicated by the development partners that funding could be made available on a final need assessment report to be available in about a month. The finance minister told the lenders that the government would spearhead the rehabilitation programme and all activities would be undertaken under the mechanisms already established to help people in calamity-hit areas but efforts would be made to bring visible improvements. 

He said the estimates about damage and rehabilitation costs had not been made on mere conjectures, but international agencies were currently involved in Damage Need Assessment (DNA), which will take a couple of months to finalise on a fast-track basis. 

Mr Dar said the war on terror had taken a heavy toll on Pakistan’s resources and the recurrent floods only added to its economic woes. The government expected the international community to help Pakistan in this hour of need. He sought interest-free financial assistance to rehabilitate people. The participants were given a comprehensive presentation on the ongoing Operation Zarb-i-Azb and its financial implications. A short documentary on the army operation was also screened. National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Maj Gen Saeed Aleem briefed the conference about the damages caused by floods in Punjab, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. According to the presentation given by World Bank, the Multi Donor Trust Fund shall help the IDPs in three phases: Relief that is ongoing, return management and recovery within 24 months, reconstruction that was beyond 18 months.

Dr Werner Liepach of the ADB said that in response to floods and natural disasters, his institution wanted to support priority rehabilitation and reconstruction needs and enhance resilience to future disasters. He proposed establishment of a Pakistan fund for disaster management with the collaboration of the government and the lenders.

The fund’s scope of work shall be futuristic and will aim at reconstruction of the devastated areas and initiating the livelihood and prevention programmes to help the affected people. The fund will also provide a common window to pool various resources, facilitate prioritisation of rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts and serve as a vehicle for donor coordination with reduced transaction cost. The ADB shall provide loan to finance public infrastructure reconstruction needs of floods. -dawn