Sukkur: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Sindh Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) today inaugurated the sixth Humanitarian Response Facility (HRF) for Pakistan, in the presence of the Chief Minister, Sindh, Mr. Qaim Ali Shah, Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ms. Margaret Adamson, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan to Pakistan, Mr. Yunya Matsuura, WFP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. David Kaatrud, and WFP Pakistan Representative, Ms. Lola Castro.
As a result of global warming, the climate in Pakistan has become increasingly volatile causing unpredictable weather patterns making the country prone to progressively intense natural disasters such as flooding, landslides and drought. Strengthening disaster preparedness and response capacity has therefore been identified by NDMA as one of the priorities in the National Disaster Management Plan.
WFP, the Government of Pakistan and international donors have been working together since 2013 to establish a network of humanitarian hubs in eight strategic locations across the country, as part of broader emergency preparedness and response activities. The state-of-the-art relief hubs will allow disaster management authorities in Pakistan to respond more swiftly and efficiently to a sudden emergency. Hubs have already been inaugurated in Quetta, Muzaffargarh, Lahore, Hyderabad and Peshawar.
WFP Pakistan Representative, Ms. Lola Castro. Addressing on the occasion said “I am very encouraged to already see tangible results of this excellent partnership in protecting lives and livelihoods of these communities in areas where the humanitarian hubs have already been constructed”. “The effects of global climate change resulting in unpredictable weather patterns and extreme climatic conditions have also impacted Pakistan.
Natural disasters necessitate enhanced emergency preparedness and response management measures to be in place as close as possible to the affected communities, such as in upper Sindh where flooding periodically occurs. In this way, more lives are saved quicker”, she added.
The US$3.5 million response facility in Sukkur covers 8.7 acres. It features three large warehouses for general cargo and one smaller, climate-controlled warehouse for more sensitive items such as medicines and ready-to-use foods, as well as office space and staff facilities. There is enough covered storage space for 64,000 50 kg bags (or 3,200 metric tons).
The Government of Pakistan has provided land to WFP to build the humanitarian facilities in eight of the country’s most disaster-prone areas and is responsible for the management and staffing of the facilities. WFP provides training for relevant staff in facility management as well as in humanitarian supply chain and emergency response. The project is being implemented in coordination with national and provincial disaster management authorities, with generous funding provided by Japan, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United States of America.