Islamabad:The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is constructing a Humanitarian Response Facility (HRF) in the Gilgit Baltistan (GB) –the northern area of Pakistan with the funding of the Government of Canada. This will be the seventh HRF built in Pakistan as part of a strategic network of storage facilities to help the Government and humanitarian community better prepare for and respond to disasters.
With an estimated population of 2 million, GB has a hilly terrain with few roads that are often blocked during emergencies by landslides, damage to bridges or congestion, leaving communities isolated. Instead of having to resort to aerial operations, which are expensive and can only bring a limited volume of assistance, the HRF will provide a central storage hub for critical humanitarian supplies. WFP has already established Emergency Storage Facilities at the district level in GB. The construction of this HRF will provide a central storage hub for the movement of critical humanitarian supplies.
WFP has been working with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA) to build HRFs in strategic locations in the most vulnerable parts of Pakistan. HRFs provide a central storage facility for government relief stocks to be rapidly deployed in emergencies. While WFP designs and builds the HRFs, the Government provides land for construction and takes over operation and maintenance. WFP provides training to government staff in technical areas such as warehouse management, facilities management and firefighting.
The Government of Canada is providing CDN$2.2 million (1.7 million USD) for the construction of the HRF in GB. This comes in addition to just over CDN$4.4 million in contributions for the construction of six other HRFs located in Muzaffargarh, Quetta, Lahore, Hyderabad, Peshawar and Sukkur, jointly with five other donor nations.
The Government of Canada is also contributing approximately CDN$1.2 million to address the immediate needs of highly vulnerable families in the drought-affected Tharparkar district of Sindh, through activities based on structural asset creation and trainings on how prepare for and cope during disasters.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in 80 countries across the globe.