The World Bank approved on Tuesday $1.692 billion in financing for five projects to support people living in flood-affected areas of Sindh.

Pakistan was lashed by unprecedented monsoon rains over the summer that put a third of the country underwater, damaged two million homes, and killed more than 1,700 people.

Out of the projects announced by the World Bank today, three support rehabilitation, housing reconstruction, and the restoration of crop production for vulnerable communities, while the two projects support health services for mothers and children, a statement issued by the global lender said.

“Sindh was the province worst affected by the 2022 floods. There were huge damages to the housing, health, and agriculture sectors and people lost their livelihoods.

“Beyond the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged houses and infrastructure, our engagement in the flood response effort is an opportunity to strengthen resilience, and reform institutions and governance structures,” it quoted World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine as saying.

The World Bank will continue to support the government and people of Pakistan to recover from the recent flood emergency and strengthen long-term resilience to such climate-related shocks, the press release stated.

The global lender said that an amount of $500 million has been allocated to the ‘Sindh Flood Emergency Rehabilitation Project’ which will help rehabilitate damaged infrastructure, provide short-term livelihood opportunities, and strengthen the government’s capacity to respond to disasters.

“The project will help restore and improve critical irrigation and flood protection infrastructure, water supply schemes, roads, and related infrastructure.”

The statement added that at least 2 million people — approximately 50 per cent of whom were women — in the most flood-affected districts will benefit from the restoration and the resilient reconstruction of critical infrastructure.

“A community-level cash-for-work program will provide short-term income support to approximately 100,000 households. This will include semi-skilled and unskilled labor apart from supporting livestock restocking for affected smallholder livestock farmers.”

Housing subsidy

The World Bank said that the Sindh Floods Emergency Housing Reconstruction Project will support owner-driven and multi-hazard resilient reconstruction of core housing units.

A housing subsidy will provide reconstruction and restoration grants for 350,000 housing units.

Cash grants, it continued, will be provided for houses with structural damage to partially finance reconstruction or restoration. “In addition, basic rainwater harvesting systems and twin pit latrines will be provided to improve access to water and sanitation.”

Agriculture uplift

Meanwhile, the global lender said that the Sindh Water and Agriculture Transformation Project will increase agricultural water productivity, improve integrated water resources management, and restore crop production by flood-affected farmers.

It predicted that 885,000 households were expected to benefit from the project. As an immediate response to the floods, the project will provide cash transfers to 800,000 flood-affected farming households to help restore crop production through the purchase of seeds, fertilizer, and other critical inputs.

“In the medium term around 70,000 households will benefit from improved irrigation services and agricultural support that will help boost farming income.

“An estimated 14,000 households will receive direct financial benefits from the pilot smart subsidy schemes targeting small- and medium-sized farmers,” the press release stated.

Social protection

Moreover, the Sindh Strengthening Social Protection Delivery System Project will strengthen the provincial social protection delivery system and enhance access to and utilisation of maternal and child health services.

“The project supports alignment and connectivity with the Federal National Database Registration Authority and will provide conditional cash transfers (CCTs) to 1.3 million mothers and their children to support improved maternal and child health outcomes, particularly in the wake of service disruption after the floods,” the World Bank statement highlighted

The CCTs, it said, will be available to the bottom 15 districts of Sindh, selected on the basis of the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), and cover 65 per cent of the total flood-affected areas in the province to help mitigate flood impacts, particularly food insecurity, and enable continued use of maternal and children health services.

Health infrastructure

The global lender also stated that the Sindh Integrated Health and Population Project will help improve both the quality and utilisation of basic reproductive, maternal, newborn, children and adolescent health and nutrition services.

It will also help in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of health infrastructure that was damaged in the floods, disrupting the delivery of these services.

The project will improve access to quality healthcare services for, the population of the selected government dispensaries in remote and peri-urban areas especially women, girls, and children, and in the flood-affected settlements in Sindh, World Bank said.

“The World Bank will continue to support the government and people of Pakistan to recover from the recent flood emergency and strengthen long-term resilience to such climate-related shocks,” it promised.

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