PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Thursday announced the Rs205 billion Flood Response Plan saying it will reconstruct the areas badly hit by the recent flooding and develop climate-resilient infrastructure in the province.

Theplan designed by the planning and development department with the support of the United States Agency for International Development and the United Nations Development Programme’s Merged Areas Governance Project focuses on two components, including short-term rehabilitation and long term adaptation and mitigation requirements to pave the way for a more sustainable climate response strategy in the province, according to an official statement.

Finance and health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said the world was entering uncharted waters with climate change.

“Unfortunately, we are in the front lines despite having a little contribution to the crisis, but if such is our lot, we intend to defend ourselves by leveraging data, evidence, apt use of resources, and the goodwill of our partners. We will stand on the twin anchors of climate resilience and financial resiliency,” he said in the Flood Response Plan unveiling ceremony in Islamabad.

Minister Jhagra says govt mulling rehab in phases over two years

The plan revealed that the recent flooding caused around Rs164 billion worth of damage in 13 major sectors.

It, however, said those were the current estimates, so multidimensional welfare losses to the people in future were likely to go up significantly.

According to the plan, despite interdepartmental re-appropriation and indicative donor commitments, the financial deficit remains to be at an overwhelming Rs125 billion.

“Devastating floods damaged 91,468 houses completely or partially leaving 674,318 people internally displaced. KP has struggled to cope with the consequences of the natural disaster, including displacement, growing food insecurity and the imminent risk of system breakdown as all essential services-water, electricity, sanitation systems, and healthcare system teetered on the edge of fragility. Crops grown over 107,220 acres have been washed away and over 39,000 animals have been lost,” it said.

According to the document, the Flood Response Plan is meant to reach every affected household with immediate relief supplies, restore essential public services and prevent disease breakouts, prioritise restoration over other public expenditures, adopt a data-driven approach to direct resources to priorities and identification of key adaptation and mitigation opportunities, and develop adaptation and mitigation strategies for a resilient KP.

It said losses to infrastructure stood at a staggering Rs121 billion across sectors with connectivity and irrigation infrastructure incurring the most damages, while private sector’s compensation stands at Rs42.5 billion, Rs6.79 billion for disaster risk management and Rs35 billion for climate resilient infrastructure.

The plan said the provincial government had arranged Rs19 billion from the intra-departmental re-appropriation, Rs61 billion from development partners totalling Rs80.6 billion leaving the province with a funding deficit of Rs124.9 billion.

“Given the sheer quantum of public rehabilitation and reconstruction work required and its financial constraints, the provincial government is considering a phase-wise rehabilitation over two years, wherein higher priority has been accorded to restoration work on the basis of the criticality of infrastructure.”

The document revealed that the restoration activity would be completed in two phases with each of them lasting a year.

It said the financial requirements to execute the envisaged plan had been assessed.

“A conservative estimate says all 13 sectors will require the release of around Rs51 billion, Rs70 billion for the execution of phase-1 and phase-2 respectively,” it said.

The plan also envisages the establishment of the Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Fund (CRIF), which will be a non-banking financial institution and a mechanism through which investment will be channeled towards the development of public infrastructure.

“This will serve as a long-tenor loan-providing institution, specifically for the development of infrastructure,” it said.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2022

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