ISLAMABAD, July 19: The World Bank had approved a grant of $5 million for the Balochistan disaster management project, it was announced here on Thursday.

The grant, which would come from the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan, would also be utilised for strengthening the capacity of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA).

Under the project, a hazard and risk assessment of Quetta would be carried out to develop a community-based disaster risk management programme having a contingency emergency response component.

Balochistan is prone to natural disasters. Most notably, Cyclone Yemyin of 2007 and the historic floods of 2010 resulted in significant losses to life and the economy. In 2011 again, several districts of Balochistan were adversely affected by floods.

“Balochistan has suffered enormously following the drought in 2002, cyclone and consecutive flooding in 2010 and 2011, and the project will allow the provincial disaster management authority to better prepare for future disasters and lessen the losses through improved mitigation and response initiatives,” said Balochistan PDMA Director General Tahir Munir Menhas.

The government had requested the MDTF to respond to the increasingly difficult situation in Balochistan resulting from the 2010 and 2011 floods. As the administrator of MDTF, the World Bank has agreed to help the provincial government in post-disaster recovery, reconstruction and expertise in disaster risk management institutional building.

Reiterating the bank’s commitment towards supporting disaster management in Balochistan, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Rachid Benmessaoud said: “Through the MDTF grant, the institutional capacity of Balochistan PDMA will be strengthened and the awareness of the communities of Balochistan towards hazards and disasters will be enhanced.”

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