Poverty rate may increase, pushing 5 million more people below poverty line: Chief Minister Murad Shah tells IRC chief
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has agreed to work with the Sindh government in post-flood relief activities, and climate change-related plans, and to help in the health sector, particularly against malnutrition.
This emerged in a meeting between the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and IRC CEO Mr. David Miliband (through video link) on Friday morning.
The IRC CEO said that his organization was interested in working with the provincial government on relief activities, climate-change-related plans, and in the health sector, particularly in malnutrition and mother-child health. He added that his organization was working in eight districts of the province, Dadu, Jamshoro, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tharparkar, and Umerkot to address malnutrition issues among pregnant mothers and mother-child healthcare.
The CM told the IRC chief that as per the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report Sindh has been at the receiving end of about 61 percent of the total damages and 75 percent of the total losses due to the floods. He said that the adverse impact of climate change has disrupted every conceivable facet of life in the province.
Shah said that the devastating impact of floods has ‘undone’ a significant chunk of public sector investments in the province as it permeated across all sectors. He added that 24 out of the 30 districts have been declared ‘calamity-hit where the floods have affected more than 12.4 million people, with more than 1000 lives lost as well as over 2 million housing units impacted, and over 450,000 livestock perished.
The CM said that about 20,000 schools and more than 1000 health facilities have been damaged. He added that about 8,500 km of the road network and 7,300 km of irrigation network has also been damaged and the estimates suggested the provincial poverty rate may increase, pushing an additional 5 million people below the poverty line with over 4.3 million additional people facing the threat of food insecurity.
The Chief Minister and Mr. Miliband also discussed the strategic plan developed by the provincial government.
Strategic Action Plan
The CM said that the ‘Strategic Action Plan’ developed by his government aimed to guide Sindh’s Flood Response and priorities from a short-, medium- and long-term perspective. “The core focus of the action plan is to serve as a guide for strategic prioritization for planning, programming, and implementation for Sindh in the post-flood context,” he said and added the strategic action plan prioritized critical intervention areas to address systemic issues, especially concerning disasters which include `Rectifying the Systemic Issues, People-Centered Approach, Building Upon the Existing Models and Systems and Aligning Existing Budgetary Framework with Resource Commitments.
The strategic action plan focuses on Irrigation and Water Resource Infrastructure (including Drainage Systems), housing and community facilities, livelihood, communications (Roads Infrastructure), Education, Health, and Human Impact (Poverty, Social Protection, Food Security, Psycho-Social impact).
Murad Ali Shah told IRC that the growers have been given cash to purchase wheat seed at a rate of Rs.5000 per acre, as a result, Sindh has grown a bumper wheat crop during the ongoing Rabi season. He also added that the flood-affected people were being given cash to reconstruct/repair their damaged houses. The work has been started in Hyderabad and Sukkur Divisions.
The IRC CEO told the chief minister that he would discuss the issues faced by the provincial government with his team and then visit Karachi to meet in person to finalize the relief activities program. (PR)