UN official calls for oversight body’s effective role in flood relief activities

Our Correspondent
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

The United Nations wants the newly established parliamentary oversight committee to play an effective role in the relief and rehabilitation activities in the disaster-hit parts of Sindh.

This was stated by UN Resident Coordinator & Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan Julien Harneis on Monday as he addressed the first meeting of the 11-member parliamentary oversight committee on the flood relief drive comprising members of the Sindh Assembly. The assembly’s acting speaker, Rehana Laghari, chaired the meeting.

The parliamentary oversight committee has been constituted to supervise the relief and rehabilitation activities by national and foreign agencies in the disaster-hit districts of the province. The UN’s resident coordinator told the parliamentary oversight committee that the recent torrential monsoon rains and floods have affected some 33 million people in the country. He said the rehabilitation of the calamity-hit communities is a major challenge for the Pakistani government and the global relief agencies.

The UN official said he had earlier worked in calamity-hit areas on three different continents of the world but he had never witnessed destruction at the massive scale as could be seen in Pakistan after the recent floods.

He was of the view that Pakistani people have the ability to tackle the recent flood emergency, saying that for the purpose, this strength needs to be used in an effective manner. Harneis said the parliamentary oversight committee should ensure the due empowerment of those involved in the flood relief activities in the calamity-hit parts of the province.

The acting speaker said the parliamentary committee is not a decision-making body but it has been formed to accelerate and make ongoing flood relief efforts more effective. She said that it is obligatory upon all the quarters to work together to rebuild a new Sindh after the flood tragedy.

She noted that relief items should be provided to the displaced flood victims before the onset of winter. She expressed gratitude to the UN and other relief organisations for lending support to carry out the flood relief work in Pakistan.

She also noted that the Sindh government alone does not have the ability to tackle the massive flood disaster but its flood response so far has been praiseworthy. She said the Sindh government lacks the resources to tackle the widespread disaster, so it cannot deliver 100 per cent on the relief front. She assured the participants of the meeting that the oversight committee will ensure maximum and effective utilisation of the disaster relief resources available in Sindh.

The representatives of the National Disaster Management Authority, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority and other relevant agencies also briefed the meeting about their respective flood relief efforts.