ISLAMABAD: The United Kingdom has decided to provide life-saving drugs, clean water, sanitation and shelter to over 55,000 vulnerable people in Pakistan to help them recover from devastating floods.
The announcement was made by Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, minister of state for South Asia at the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, during a virtual visit to Pakistan where he also discussed how Britain could work with the Pakistan government to tackle climate change.
According to a statement issued by the National Emergency Operations Centre on Polio, the £800,000 UK aid package will be given through the National Disaster Consortium (NDC) and will provide immediate relief in rural Sindh to the people who have lost their homes.
This comes on top of the UK’s distribution last week of emergency stocks, including hygiene kits and tarpaulins, to over 1,118 families in flood-affected districts of Sindh. The UK will coordinate closely with Pakistani authorities to ensure that aid gets to where it is needed most.
Over 55,000 people will get life-saving drugs, clean water, sanitation and shelter
Lord Ahmad said: “Like everyone in the UK, I have been saddened to see the heart-breaking images of the flooding in Pakistan. The UK stands by Pakistan, ready to help, as entire communities have lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones.”
He added: “The recent monsoon flooding serves as a stark reminder of how devastating natural disasters can be — and the dangers of climate change. During my first virtual visit to Pakistan as a Minister of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, I also launched a year of climate action from the British High Commission ahead of COP26, which will save lives, create jobs and protect the environment.”
British High Commissioner Christian Turner said: “Following Pakistan’s remarkable success against Covid-19, it is important that we support strengthening systems against the devastating flooding.”
As part of Lord Ahmad’s virtual visit, the UK urged Pakistan to be ambitious and work together on a green recovery from Covid-19 as part of a UK-Pakistan year of climate change action, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, in Glasgow next year.
Lord Ahmad discussed with the government of Pakistan how Britain can help the country transition to cleaner energy, emphasising that with the UK’s world-leading expertise in this area, it can help Pakistan make the most of opportunities from the rapidly falling cost of renewables.
Lord Ahmad was due to meet Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood to exchange views on bilateral relations and trade ties.
He also visited a UK-funded girls’ education programme in south Punjab.
Britain has committed to ensuring every girl gets 12 years of quality education, and in Pakistan, the UK has supported nearly eight million girls to attend primary and secondary school.
The UK minister also visited the Polio Surveillance Centre, which is also the Covid-19 surveillance centre. He met National Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator Dr Rana Safdar who briefed him on Pakistan’s response to Covid-19.
He is scheduled to take part in a roundtable for media freedom, to be attended by notable media figures and digital rights activists in Pakistan to discuss media issues and how to tackle intimidation of female journalists.
Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2020