National Plans for Reconstruction and Rehabilitation
- by: Nadeem Ahmed
- Date: November 18, 2013
In the days and weeks after the floods it has been suggested that the government’s response was lacking, or that coordination mechanisms were weak. These are unfair remarks – the government is not insensitive, and sufficient coordination mechanisms are already in place. The NDMA has weekly open-door meetings in Islamabad and in the provincial hubs, and all stakeholders are welcome to attend these. As for adequate management of the crisis, it is pertinent to point out that there has not been a single instance of people dying from hunger in the past few weeks.
Additionally, we have started Cash-for-Work programs and are using the Watan card scheme to distribute Rs. 20,000 per affected family. The Ministry of Finance is also working to raise funds for the relief and reconstruction process. This essay will provide an overview of the crisis faced by Pakistan after the monsoon floods in 2010. It will also attempt to outline some of the policies and plans that the NDMA has drawn up to cope with the disaster.
Seventy-eight of Pakistan’s 141 districts were impacted to varying degrees by this floods. 20 million people have been affected, and 100,000 square kilometers of Pakistan’s land mass was impacted by the flooding. The floods inundated 21% of Pakistan’s current agricultural land in Pakistan, causing agricultural losses of 247 billion rupees. Nearly two million homes, over 12,000 schools and over 500 health facilities were also washed away. According to NDMA estimates, over 27,000 km of road have been damaged and the railway sector has suffered losses of over 5 billion rupees. These are important statistics. As we enter the reconstruction phase, it is evident that this will not be “business as usual.”
There are millions of people without shelter, livelihood and basic facilities; providing them with these in the coming months will be a major challenge. To this end, the National Disaster Management Authority’s efforts are spread out over several sectors which include housing, education, health, transport and communication, irrigation and flood management, energy, water and sanitation, governance, agriculture, livestock and fisheries, social protection and livelihood, macro economic impact, private sector and infrastructure and finance. We also feel that it is necessary to mainstream policies towards gender, environment and disaster risk management throughout each of these sectors.
Based on the facts presented above, it is evident that the scale and spread of the reconstruction effort will be enormous. Coordinating multiple agencies, donors and NGOs involved in reconstruction will also be a major challenge. There are presently a number of federating units involved with multiple political and administrative forums; however a glaring capacity gap is bound to debilitate the efforts of these units. Primarily, the current financial, human and institutional resources dedicated to the reconstruction efforts after the flood are inadequate. Simply creating titles and offices does not provide the backbone for sufficient work. Many Provincial Disaster Management Authorities existed only on paper until several weeks into the crisis. To this end, more resources should be provided to the NDMA and the PDMAs to effectively carry out their tasks.
While multiple agencies make assessments and design interventions in the field, it is important that they manage expectations in a responsible way. Promising flood affectees goods and services that will not come through will lead to greater anger and dissatisfaction and this will not help those organizations working in the field. It is therefore imperative that any strategy finalized by the government must be taken within a framework that is acceptable to all stakeholders. This is the only way to ensure long term sustainability. The scale and immediacy of this disaster implies that there is a great need for all projects that are handled by us to meet strict requirements of efficiency, transparency, equity and timeliness. It is also important that all NGOs, international and local, adhere to these guidelines and coordinate with the NDMA before implementing projects.
For our part, the NDMA will continue to follow a clear communication strategy with multiple stakeholders. This framework applies equally to financing these projects: managing multi-source funding means that there is greater risk of overlap and confusion. Rigorous financial reporting guidelines will be provided by the NDMA which we would encourage other organizations to follow. There are presently a number of federating units involved with multiple political and administrative forums; however a glaring capacity gap is bound to debilitate the efforts of these units. Primarily, the current financial, human and institutional resources dedicated to the reconstruction efforts after the flood are inadequate.
The strategy provided by the NDMA will be based on international best practices. In addition to consensus-based reconstruction and rehabilitation guidelines for all sectors the organization will provide an implementation framework as well. For the convenience of international agencies and others who are new to the field, it will provide an outline of the management structure at federal, provincial and district levels. The NDMA will be responsible for ensuring special legal arrangements for fast track implementation, from the planning and approval to the procurement and implementation phase. Additionally, mechanisms for affectees to have their grievances addressed will also be made available. Equally, it is important that one year down the line monitoring and evaluation exercises take place to ensure oversight and quality assurance. The mechanisms for these must be built into the projects from the initial planning stage. In order to avoid the kind of confusion seen during relief phase it is crucial that all sectoral strategies are approved by National Disaster Management Council.
The table below shows a tentative timeline, starting from when damage and needs assessments will be made available to project planning and implementation phases. The NDMA will provide technical implementation support to national, provincial and local governments upon request, and “match” approved unfunded projects with available donor / sponsor financing.
|Damage and Needs Assessment Results
|Institutional arrangements at district, province and federal levels with participation of provincial governments
September / October
|Preparation and approval of annual work plans and pre-qualifications
Begins in November / December
Lt. General (retd. ) Nadeem Ahmed is Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)