MULTAN: The first Humanitarian Response Facility (HRF) has been officially presented by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in Muzzafargarh, near Multan.
The collaboration by WFP and the Pakistan government has resulted in the construction and development of eight strategically located Humanitarian Response Facilities (HRF’s). The Multan structure will be utilised as a storage warehouse. The first HRF to be taken over by the NDMA will be used as a model for the remaining eight facilities to be rolled out subsequently across the country.
The HRF’s are under construction in each of Pakistan’s disaster-prone districts which include: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltisan. They will be used to strengthen the countries emergency response capacity. Pakistan’s history of natural disasters includes; 2005 a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that killed over 70,000 people, in 2010 Pakistan experienced the worst flooding in history that affected 20 million people, killing 1,700 people and damaging 20 percent of the land.
In both instances housing, agriculture and livelihoods were severely affected. Multibillion dollar damages to the economy and infrastructure resulted in government and WFP embarking on a joint venture to strengthen disaster preparedness and the response capacity. In attendance at the inauguration ceremony, Lola Castro, Representative and Country Director, WFP Pakistan said,’’ The priority for WFP and partners through this continued collaboration is to establish a humanitarian warehousing network to ensure a fast, effective and reliable logistical response.’’
She explained how continued collaboration will also incorporate a mechanism of capacity building, accountability and transparency to ensure the systems established are not misused. Pakistan she highlighted, “is the largest donor to WFP in Pakistan and contributes 150,000 tonnes of wheat a year.”