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Climate Resilient Pakistan: Rhetoric To Reality

A Flash Back

The year Pakistan faced one of the worst climate disaster of its history that affected over 33 million people all over the country. Floods that washed away homes, destroyed villages and took lives of over a million livestock animals.

People lost their loved ones and communities saw their livelihoods destroyed in front of their eyes. In decades Pakistan did not face a disaster that affected the country at a level that could not have been precedented.

Damages that may take years to cover up, years and years of savings washed away in the merciless flood water. It will take a long time for the communities get back on their feet once again.

A village submerged under water due to the floods in Sindh

Pakistan being the 5th most vulnerable country to climate change is witnessing a series of crises. Prone to natural disasters, country is often being hit hard by the continuously changing weather patterns. Glacial melting, droughts, floods, above average rainfall, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, all contribute to the worsening climate situation.

2022 was the year of historic and most destructive floods. The government of Pakistan termed it as ‘Climate Event of the Century’. Provinces of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa received record rainfall breaking all records in result affecting 33 million people. Floods affected those areas where people were already living a difficult life with squeezed economic opportunities and earnings. As per estimations, Pakistan incurred losses of amounting to 10 billion USD.

Aftermath of Floods

  • 9 million pushed below the poverty line

7.6 million facing food insecurity

  • 4.3 million lost jobs

  • 4 million children battling for survival

Islamic Relief’s Response Programme

Till now, Islamic Relief has reached 1.5 million people affected by floods

Islamic Relief was quick to reach on ground with lifesaving assistance. Our Emergency Response Team (ERT) assessed the need and scale of the disaster during the first 48 hours and responded accordingly with aid. We realized that ‘Business as Usual’ will not work that led to adopting a proactive approach, through which, a continuous scaling up of the emergency response was made possible.

The Beginning

With dignity, protection and human rights at the core of our disaster relief efforts, we ensured to save as many lives as we could. Despite the lagging funds, Islamic Relief effectively expanded and up-scaled owing to the massive needs. Understanding the basic and most immediate needs, food and water supply was ensured alongside distribution of tents, kitchen utensils, cash grants and hygiene items for the affected. In addition to that, we provided psychosocial support to the families going through traumas alongside building temporary lavatories and learning centers for children.

Our Teams reaching out to the affected communities with lifesaving aid

The Present

 Once the dust settled, we started off the ‘Early Recovery and Rehabilitation’ phase to bring people back to their native areas. We started repairing and rebuilding the infrastructure including houses, pavements and water channels through a ‘Community-Led’ approach. With past experiences and learnings around climate change, Islamic Relief immediately formed alliances and partnerships to reach as many people as we could in a timely manner.

The disaster resilient structures built by Islamic Relief after 2010’s super floods in Jafferabad and Sohbatpur areas of Balochchistan not only stayed intact during 2022’s floods but also saved precious lives. Following the same steps, together with ‘Heritage Foundation Pakistan’, we built zero carbon, eco-friendly and disaster resilient structures in Balochistan and Sindh.

A young girl standing on front of her newly built home

The Future

Thanks to our donors, supporters and allies, we revived hope and built resilience among the affected communities. We believe that there’s a long way to go before people in these areas can get control of their lives back. By calculating the outstanding needs, we strongly believe that an integrated response is the need of the hour. Since the majority of the affectees was associated with occupations like cattle rearing, agriculture and small businesses, people need support in terms of starting from scratch. In order to make resilient recovery a reality, all stakeholders must converge and channelize their humanitarian efforts.

Islamic Relief expects that the global community will not forget the people of Pakistan and pledges will convert in to actual support in the coming months.

We also look forward to cement our partnerships and collaborations with the Government of Pakistan and other key players for a climate resilient Pakistan.

Islamic Relief urges the world to remember 33 million people who were affected in the floods of 2022 and thousands of families have not been able to get back on their feet, please donate as much as you can to help the people rebuild their lives once again in better ways.

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