Pakistan Drought: Emergency Plan of Action Final Report DREF n° MDRPK015

Situation Report
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Description of the disaster

Pakistan is experiencing an increase in the frequency and severity of drought due to a rise in temperatures caused by climate change. The yearly precipitation calculation revealed that the country received 24.4 percent lower rainfall than normal, even during the monsoon season in 2018. Sindh and Baluchistan remained the worst affected areas and received 69.5 and 45 percent below average rainfall respectively. In January 2019, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) declared moderate to severe drought conditions in 8 districts of Sindh and 18 districts of Baluchistan, with a total of over 5 million people affected. Assessments are showing that indicators have crossed the humanitarian threshold with some 3 million people affected in Sindh and 1.8 million affected in Balochistan. To meet the drought response needs in Pakistan USD 96.3 million was required however, USD 39.3 million (41 per cent) had been secured, while a gap of USD 57 million still exists. Despite government relief efforts, a significant number of drought-affected communities remained unattended and resorted to coping approaches that severely compromised the wellbeing of women and children.

Contrary to the drought situation in January 2019, Balochistan province experienced heavy rains in February 2019, resulting in severe flash flooding affecting over 425,000 people and displacing over 9,800 people in the districts of Lasbela, Killa Abdullah, Turbat, Pishin and Khuzdar. On 2 March 2019, the health department of Government of Balochistan declared “Health Emergency” across the province, instructing all hospitals to be on high alert ensuring 24/7 medical relief services.2 Additional heavy rains were reported in April resulting in further floods in Balochistan except in Nushki district in Balochistan and Tharparkar in Sindh. Nushki and Tharparkar district were still facing severe drought conditions affecting the lives and livelihoods of the local communities. Therefore, these two districts were targeted through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) emergency response operation to address the needs of the communities and to improve their living conditions.

Summary of response

Overview of Host National Society

PRCS was formed in 1947 through an act of Parliament and has its provincial and district branches across the country. PRCS has seven provincial and 92 district branches with a large pool of trained volunteers. Since the 2005 earthquake, the national society has carried out more than 30 major response operations with technical and financial support of IFRC, ICRC and its Partner National Societies.

PRCS continuously monitored the overall situation through coordination with its provincial branches and relevant government agencies (NDMA and PMD). Additionally, PRCS with support of provincial branches Sindh and Balochistan deployed trained technical staff and volunteers to the target districts for a rapid assessment. The rapid assessment team in coordination with all relevant line departments and political leadership were able to assess the disaster affected areas and the needs of disaster victims. This was followed by an assessment of local markets for calculation of ‘Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB)’. An amount of PKR 18,400 (approx. CHF 133) was the MEB that was decided as the amount to be disbursed for food & fodder per family.

In April 2019, a detailed need assessment (DNA) was carried out by PRCS National Headquarters (NHQ) and Provincial Headquarters (PHQ) teams in Sindh and Balochistan which helped understand the severity of the emergency in vulnerable areas and priority needs of the affected communities. Initial findings of the assessment concluded that the current resources are insufficient to counter the implications of health and nutrition hazards, water and sanitary hygiene problems, and livelihood issues. The findings of the DNA were also shared and discussed with partners.

By the end of DREF Operation, PRCS has disbursed unconditional cash grants of PKR 18,400 (approx. CHF 133) to 1,357 drought affected households, to support them for basic food and fodder for their livestock. The Red Rose platform was utilized for beneficiary data collection, beneficiary database management and further distribution of cash and water filters to the targeted households in both districts. A total of 1,400 households received water filters along with awareness session on efficient and sustainable usage, and maintenance of sanitary hygiene. Four solar water pumps were installed for availability of clean drinking water to the local communities.