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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, in his meeting with the World Bank (WB) Country Director Najy Behhassine, presented ‘Sindh’s case’ relating to the devastations caused by floods in the province and he was successful in getting an approval of $92 million, the sum that would be diverted from different projects of the bank for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people.

The Chief Minister also presented a case for the rehabilitation of the irrigation and drainage network which would cost around $1000 million for which the World Bank team would assess the damages and present the case to the board for approval.

The meeting was attended by the Sindh govt, Administrator KMC Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, Chairman P&D Hassan Naqvi, Chairman SRB Asif Memon and concerned secretaries. The World Bank team include Manager Operation Gailius Draugelis, Sector Leader Abdul Razak, Program leader Tobias, Senior Specialist Ahsan Tehsin, Kamran Akhtar, Aleed Anwar, Anjum Ahmed and others on the video link.

The Chief Minister said that Sindh has received an unprecedented amount of rainfall in the monsoon season of July-August 2022. “The magnitude of it can be assessed from the fact that it has rained more than 308 percent over and above the average rainfall in July and 784 percent above the average rainfall in August,” he said and added that the flash floods of 2010 had affected only Right Bank of river Indus and were mainly riverine caused by heavy outflows from the north of Pakistan resulted in the death of 414 people, whereas, the floods of 2011 were the outcome of heavy rainfalls impacting mostly Left Bank of river Indus.

Shah said that in the wake of the 2011 floods, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB) had conducted a Damage and Needs Assessment (DNA) and reported that out of total of Rs324.5 billion damage estimates of the entire country, Sindh suffered the most to the extent of Rs310.7 billion.

Shah said that unfortunately, the current rainfalls have proved more destructive with a widespread impact on all the 30 districts of the province which have been directly affected. “This unprecedented rainfall has not only caused the loss of life, but has damaged the properties, infrastructure including roads, livestock and agriculture crops at an enormous scale,” he said and added the damage was still ongoing.

The CM said that the preliminary estimates suggested a loss of more than Rs860 billion to the province. He added that it was believed that the actual losses were much more than the initial estimates which would be revealed after a comprehensive and systematic survey of damages in the entire province.

According to Shah, his government has declared 23 districts, including their 101 talukas and 5,718 dehs as calamity-hit areas. Over 1.5 million houses, 11,734 animals, and 3,171,726 acres of crops have been damaged completely. There, he said his government was in dire need of funds to rescue, revive and rehabilitate the devastated sectors.

The chief minister proposed that $57 million may be re-appropriated from World Bank funded projects, including $27 million from CLICK, $8 million from agriculture projects, and Rs22 billion from PDMA. He added that these funds would be diverted for flood relief.

Murad Ali Shah said that another $35 million, including $25 million from KWSSIP and $10 million from the SELECT (Education) project could be re-appropriated for rehabilitation works. At this, the World Bank Country Director Najy agreed to the chief minister’s proposal and said that they would re-appropriate the amount and issue the advice shortly.

Chairman P&D Hassan Naqvi briefing the meeting on the damages caused to houses said that 1.5 million houses would be reconstructed to rehabilitate the people who lost their houses. The chief minister said that with the reconstruction of 1.5 million houses employment opportunities would be generated. “This will help to rehabilitate the affected people financially,” he said.

A World Bank representative giving a presentation to the chief minister said that the climate-friendly reconstruction technologies to minimise climate risk would be adopted which would generate localised employment for beneficiary households.

He suggested flood-resistant housing solutions, based on a standard core unit for which training of artisans and beneficiaries would be imparted.

The chief minister said that at least $500 million were required to reconstruct the collapsed houses. At this, the World Bank Country Chief Najy said that the bank would assess the damaged houses and then put up their recommendations along with the provincial government’s request in their board meeting for approval.

Murad Ali Shah also said that his government was keen to revive the agriculture sector for which he needed $500 million to rehabilitate the irrigation and drainage system. The World Bank country head said that the revival of the agriculture sector was important for the provincial economy. He assured the chief minister that his team would assess the damages and put up the provincial government case in their board for approval.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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