Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A disaster-resilient Sindh

Islamic Relief: New Islamic Relief research and a roadmap to resilience have added momentum to disaster risk reduction in Sindh, Pakistan.

The research into disaster vulnerabilities and capacity in Sindh – a province that is particularly prone to both flooding and drought – was launched at Islamic Relief Pakistan consultation held last month. The workshop included the director general of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, UN agencies, as well as national and international NGOs and members of civil society. It aimed to bring decision-makers together to minimise the risk disasters pose to the people of Sindh.

Islamic Relief’s interim head of programme Summaya Sajjad explained how the study assessed community and institutional engagement and what they do when disasters strike. “We also want to identify the challenges and issues faced by the government and communities at the time of disaster,” she said. “As well as the steps communities take to overcome the losses sustained in three districts: Sanghar, Dadu and Thatta.”

Sharing the key findings of the study, our area programme manager, Sajjad Khan, pointed out the far-reaching impact of disasters. Livelihoods, health and living conditions are badly affected, and people may be traumatised by the experience, he said. In the drought-hit areas covered by the study, essential groundwater has been depleted by 30-40 feet. With no easy way to access water sources, malnutrition and disease outbreaks were rife among poor communities.

Whilst most community efforts focused on disaster-response, the research revealed, these were not informed by knowledge of community-level initiatives or emerging practices to prepare for disasters and reduce their impact when they occur....

Clearing rubble from a flood-damaged home in Sindh, shot by Russell Watkins, UK Department for International Development, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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