ISLAMABAD: A contribution of three million euros from the European Union’s humanitarian aid operation department has enabled the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations to support over 180,000 vulnerable flood-affected people through multipurpose cash interventions in seven districts of Sindh.

The WFP’s cash support has been a lifeline for families in Jamshoro, Matiari, Mirpurkhas, Noushero Feroz, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazirabad, and Umerkot — those hardest hit by the catastrophic floods, the WFP said on Wednesday.

The EU assistance has enabled them to secure food, healthcare, education, and shelter. In addition, many households have not only used the cash for their immediate needs, but also to rebuild their businesses and other livelihoods that were interrupted or destroyed by the floods.

“Over one and half years later, many people still struggle to cope with the losses caused by the devastating 2022 floods. Together with partners like WFP, the EU supported the most vulnerable people with emergency assistance at a critical time,” says the Head of EU Humanitarian Aid in Pakistan, Tahini Thammannagoda.

Pakistan is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, and helping local communities after a disaster as well as preparing them to face future climate shocks has become a top priority for us,“ the EU official said.

As the flood response ended in December 2023, the WFP is now focusing on fostering long-term resilience against climate change, enhancing nutrition, strengthening food systems, and providing vital support to government programmes aimed at rebuilding and fortifying the affected communities for a more sustainable future.

“The 2022 floods left a lasting scar in the lives and livelihoods of the people of Pakistan. With support of humanitarian actors and donors like the EU, flood-affected communities were provided with vital lifesaving and sustaining cash and food assistance.

“Now is the time to invest in enhancing resilience ahead of future shocks. Building on the country’s positive examples, the WFP looks forward to enhanced partnerships towards our collective future of food security and nutrition for all,” WFP’s Pakistan’s Representative and Country Director, Coco Ushiyama, said.

More than 1,700 people lost their lives in the 2022 floods which affected over 33 million people nationwide. The Sindh province, at the heart of the Indus River basin, was the worst-hit province, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of the total losses and damage.

To support and complement the government’s relief and recovery efforts after the floods, the WFP leveraged its expertise in logistics, food and cash assistance, and resilience-building to respond to the immediate needs and to support recovery of flood-affected people, thus helping communities rehabilitate critical community assets and livelihoods.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2024

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