The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has officially handed over the Humanitarian Response Facility (HRF) to the Sindh Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA).
Established in the aftermath of the 2010 monsoon floods, the HRF network is a joint project between WFP and the Government of Pakistan with the primary objective to increase the emergency and disaster response capacity of both the Government and the humanitarian community in Pakistan.
Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Honorable Chief Minister of Sindh, was the chief guest on this occasion. Ms. Lola Castro, Representative and Country Director, WFP Pakistan, handed over the documents to Commander (R) Syed Salman Shah, Director General, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Sindh. Representatives from the embassies of Japan, Australia, Canada and USAID who have generously contributed for construction of these state-off-the-art warehouses were present on the occasion as well as other government and WFP officials.
In the past decade, the people of Sindh have suffered considerable losses due to natural disasters affecting the province including the flooding in 2010, heavy rains in 2011 and drought in 2014. Experts confirm that continuous shocks have left the inhabitants of Sindh, especially those residing in rural areas depending on agriculture and livestock, vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition.
“Victims of human induced or natural disasters can lose everything they own as well as their sources of livelihood in minutes. Being prepared for such emergencies and being able to immediately respond is a top priority for the Government and WFP. It is crucial that a fast, effective and reliable logistics response mechanism is in place. The Humanitarian Response Facility will help the Government of Sindh to protect and empower communities most at risk” said Lola Castro.
The project in Sindh was initiated in July 2014 and has been completed in record time of eight (8) months at a cost of rupees 250 million. The HRF covers 9.1 acres and has one 20 by 50 meter warehouse, two 15 by 32 meter warehouses and one 10 by 20 meter climate-controlled warehouse to store temperature sensitive items such as ready-to-use food and medicines. The total covered storage capacity of the facility is 3000 metric tons and an open space of up to 10,000 metric tons. Four pre-fabricated offices and a reinforced paved area to facilitate truck movement have also been constructed.
The facility has been designed to cater to basic needs of the warehouse staff and is equipped with alternate power solutions (generators). The structure is also earthquake-resistant and other environmental hazards have also been factored into its construction.
The Government of Pakistan has provided land to WFP to construct eight strategically located HRFs in each of the most disaster-prone districts to enhance the country’s emergency response capacity. The project is being implemented in close coordination with the NDMA and PDMAs of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan with the generous funding provided by the Government and the People of Japan, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United States of America. WFP is also providing training on how to run and maintain the HRFs effectively as well as targeted training on emergency response.