Pakistan is facing serious threats and challenges in coping with hydrometeorological disasters involving floods, storms, tropical cyclones, heat and cold waves and droughts recurring after very short intervals. In just one last decade, occurrence of these disasters has caused adverse effects on the socioeconomic fabric of Pakistan’s society besides massive level destruction of the country’s infrastructure. Although a disaster management system is in place in the country to deal with natural calamities at the national level but high volume and recurrence of disasters each year and inadequate resources, the situation continues to putting lives of millions of people at risk.
In this context, RSPN with the support of USAID-OFDA launched Phase-I of its project namely ‘Tahafuz’ (Meaning: Protection) in October 2012. The project aimed at enhancing capacity of the rural communities in 232 revenue villages from selected twenty union councils of the most disaster prone districts including Thatta, Badin, Tharparkar and Umerkot of the Sindh province. For implementation of project activities RSPN partnered with National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) in districts Thatta/Sujawal and Badin and with Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP) for districts of Tharparkar and Umerkot. After successful completion of Phase-I, USAID-OFDA awarded Phase-II targeting 228 villages from addition twenty union councils of same four districts. The project successfully completed its second phase in June 2015.
Based on successful completion of the earlier phases and an encouraging response from the communities, USAID-OFDA agreed on further extension of the project for twelve months as modification phase of Tahafuz-II. Under this modification phase project activities will be expanded into 222 new revenue villages from 20 union councils of the previous four districts.
Combining all the phases, the project will benefit an estimated 2,044,791 men, women and children involving 350,736 households. Under mobilization part, 682 Village Disaster Management Committees (VDMC) have been established at revenue village level. These VDMCs have been incorporated at union council level into 60 Union Disaster Management Committees (UDMC). For sustainability of these bodies they will be merged into existing structures of Local Support Organizations (LSO) to perform their role in disaster management.
Under the capacity building component, members of VDMCs will be trained to conduct disaster risk assessment using variety of assessment tools and coming up with their respective revenue village level Disaster Risk Management Plans (DRMP). To enable them to deal with emergencies, training will also be conducted on search and rescue, first aid and firefighting. Members of UDMCs will be trained on advocacy and networking, leadership, and financial management. Services of selected Community Resource Persons (CRP) will be used for transferring CBDRM knowledge at grassroots level. These CRPs will deliver sessions at settlement level in their respective villages. Training will also be provided to selected school teachers and relevant government officials to enable them for advocating CBDRM practices within their circles. UDMC members will be taken on exposure visits to other areas for learning and experience sharing with other communities.
For promoting significance of CBDRM approach and strengthening coordination between different stakeholders including local administration, representatives of LSOs, and UDMCs, quarterly meetings will be held in all four districts. Under the activity, efforts will be made to establish district level DRR forum and to support already existing DRR forums.
VDMCs will be supported in rehabilitation of one critical infrastructure that will be helpful in disaster mitigation. These schemes may include rehabilitation of dug wells, water reservoirs, culverts, rescue places, and/or a public building identified by the VDMCs with mutual consensus as a result of the DRMP. During the current modification phase a standardized Emergency Toolkit will also be provided to all new 222 VDMCs in order to provide means of better preparedness as well as to enable them for dealing with emergencies at local level.
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