Six months into the floods: Resetting Pakistan’s priorities through reconstruction

Published: 26 January 2011

The monsoon floods that began in Pakistan in July 2010 caused a colossal disaster, affecting between 18 - 20 million people. Floodwaters inundated up to one-fifth of the country (an area larger than all of England and affecting the same number of people as the population of Australia), partially or wholly destroying more than 1.6 million homes and causing approximately $10bn of direct and indirect losses.

Six months into the floods, the disaster is not over and many people still need humanitarian assistance. Ongoing emergency relief is just the first step in rebuilding devastated communities. A nationally-led, pro-poor reconstruction programme is needed now to create a path of sustainable development leading to a fairer and more disaster-resilient Pakistan.

This is one of a series of papers that will analyze the impact of the 2010 Pakistan Floods and the challenges and opportunities facing the Government of Pakistan and the international community as Pakistan rebuilds.

The Pakistani Government should:

  • Ensure that flood-affected people receive adequate and appropriate humanitarian assistance for as long as they need it, while facilitating unhindered, impartial humanitarian access to all affected people.
  • Lead a swift nationally-led, pro-poor reconstruction and development plan that is transparent and targets the most vulnerable people wherever they are. This must be based on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation principles, including appropriate support to provincial governments. It must address critical needs, such as housing and livelihoods, and tackle underlying concerns, such as land access, governance, and tax reform.

The international donor community should:

  • Ensure that donor projects prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable communities and are geared primarily to poverty alleviation, disaster resilience, climate change adaptation, and related social, economic, and governance reforms – and not wider political or security objectives.

The UN should:

  • Ensure the timely, well co-ordinated, and adequate provision of relief and recovery assistance. Cluster effectiveness must be strengthened by providing detailed mapping of needs, to determine who is doing what and where, by proactively providing strong analysis and direction, and by improving inter-cluster co-ordination.

Pakistani civil society and media should:

  • Advocate on behalf of vulnerable people and assist government to assess and prioritise reconstruction needs
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