Friday, February 17, 2012

Billions meant for flood-hit people in Pakistan misused

Dawn (Pakistan): The federal and Sindh governments have diverted billions of rupees meant for flood relief funds to members of the Sindh Assembly and the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) where these funds, it is feared, will be used for political purposes. This was disclosed in a ‘Civil society flood situation report’ released here on Thursday by the ‘People’s Accountability Commission on Floods’, a network of volunteers and representatives of the flood-affected communities of Sindh.

The report titled ‘Critical situation of humanitarian funding for flood-affected communities’ is the 13th research-based situation report issued by the PACF. According to the report, Rs8 million meant for the rehabilitation of flood-affected people under the annual development programme 2011-12 was allocated to MPAs to do development work in their constituencies. This money was allocated for the rehabilitation of 200 villages and reconstruction of 40,000 damaged houses with facilities such as health and education.

Similarly, Rs12 billion provided in the Sindh Social Relief Fund for responding to natural disasters and emergencies had not been utilised in 2010 and 2011, the report says. Currently this amount has been transferred to a federal government programme to pay Rs300,000 to each of the 35,000 beneficiaries under BISP. It is unusual that a province gives its disaster relief funds to the federal government to use it for other purposes.

According to the report, the worst-hit eight districts – Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Badin, Umerkot, Tharparkar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar and Shaheed Benazirabad – show that 68 per cent flood-affected people were denied assistance and discriminated against in relief and recovery services. Flood-affected people complained of inadequate services due to corruption, nepotism and favouritism. They were looking towards non-governmental organisations and were found unaware of the eligibility criteria for receiving wheat seed packages and Pakistan Cards, the report says....

A newly built flood-resistant house in Sindh, Pakistan, shot by DFID - UK Department for International Development, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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