Governmentts, NGOs fail to match disaster scale
KARACHI: Governments and humanitarian agencies have miserably failed in providing quick and adequate relief in the worst flood affected districts of Sindh and Balochistan, which resulted in increased post-flood human losses in spread of diseases. Over two million flood affected people are homeless and living without any relief service as post-flood diseases are taking lives of 15 to 20 flood affected people daily in both the provinces. This was disclosed in a flood situation report titled with ‘Flood 2012-Situation Analysis-Gaps and Issues’, prepared by Peoples Commission on Floods, the network of flood affected communities, their representatives and civil society activists.
The report, released here on Wednesday, stated that the governments and their specific agencies including NDMA, PDMAs and DDMs miserably failed in providing early warning about possible heavy rains and floods in Jacobabad and Kashmore districts of Sindh and Naseerabad and Jaffarabad districts of Balochistan. According to the PACF report, despite warnings from different sources about heavy rains and floods, Sindh government disastrously failed in showing disaster preparedness and releasing relief funds to the district governments timely. Due to lack of clarity about the change in the local body systems and lack of funding, the district governments stood become silent spectators as the rains and floods affected millions of people and deaths of more than 200 people in Sindh.
The funds amounting Rs339 million were released to the 13 affected districts of Sindh by Sindh Relief Department when the rains/floods had already started in those districts resulting in the lack of the tents, drinking water and other food and non food items to the flood-hit. The report pointed out that in annual budget of the current financial year 2012-2013, Sindh govt had allocated Rs1,000m with Rs500m for PDMA and Rs500 for relief department but the allocated funds were not transferred in the accounts of the Relief Department and the PDMA. Despite requests from the Relief Department, the funds were released by Sindh government with too much delay in the first week of September when the flood disaster had already approached. Besides, in place of releasing Rs500 million, only Rs339 million was released.
According to the report, it was impossible for the relief department to timely transfer those amounts to the districts and for procurements of relief items. The district govts could not properly utilise those funds for the relief of the affected communities due to delayed release of the funds.
According to the report, transparency of utilising relief funds of the government is another issue on the part of the district administrations. Equitable distribution of the relief items on the basis of the well established criteria of eligibility have not been followed by the district revenue department. Lists of the intended beneficiaries are being provided by the influential peoples and there is no proper assessments at household level to register the most vulnerable and affected peoples. On one hand, there are not sufficient camps to settle the displaced families and on the other those who are in camps are lacking relief items particularity tents, cooked food and drinking water. Seriousness and institutional capacities are being lacked by the district administrations, it added.
According to the report, in Sindh, 28801845 persons have been affected during the current monsoon rains and more than 235,006 houses have been partially or fully damaged. Keeping in view the figure of the damages of the houses and persons settled in the camps it can be deduced that at least 83 per cent population, who even lost their houses, have not been provided with camps by the govt and have been left at the mercy of their fate in this time of emergency.
The report recommended only 17 per cent people have been camped against the displacement of 273,043 persons therefore those who are living under open sky should be provided with camps so that emerging health hazards can be overcome. Shelter, food and clean drinking water should be provided to the flood affected people in both Sindh and Balochistan on priority basis. Dewatering pumps operated by diesel, tarpaulin, ration bags, tents, search lights, medicines, drinking water, milk for infants, high energy biscuits, water purification tablets and mosquito nets are required to support the relief services.
There is mismatch of the data lacking uniformity therefore during the survey; other UN agencies should be given task of the assessments and survey so that any time if govt needs to appeal for the international aid, the authentic and unbiased data can be provided. Situation in Balochistan is almost not intervened except inadequate rescue. People of Balochistan need proper assessment and survey for interventions.