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Sphere Focal Point Forum

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • October 21, 2014

COMMITTED HUMANITARIAN PRACTIONERS PROMOTING SPHERE STANDARDS ACROSS ASIA

Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan in collaboration with The Sphere Project organized the 2014 Sphere Focal Point Forum in Bangkok from Oct 14-15. It was jointly financed by The Sphere Project, Diakonia-Sweden, Act for Peace, and CWS-P/A. As the Sphere regional partner for Asia, CWS-P/A supports the promotion and implementation of the Sphere standards through a variety of activities including this regional forum, which is the second of its kind. The first Forum took place in 2011.

“The Sphere community in Asia has grown; there are now around 11 country focal points as compared to 6 in 2011. The diverse nature of Sphere country focal points which includes organizations, academia, networks, and working groups is certainly adding a lot of value to the whole Sphere community and the focal point system in particular,” shared Shama Mall, CWS-P/A’s Deputy Director.

The Forum demonstrated the importance of promoting Sphere standards in disaster and conflict-prone situations, while increasing local ownership and creating a momentum among people who believe in the Sphere standards.

Press Release: Pakistan’s emergencies require action before problems grow

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • October 9, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pakistan’s emergencies require action before problems grow

Contact

Matt Hackworth +1.908.420.8630

Lesley Crosson +1.212.870.2676

Marvin Parvez +92.300.826.4558

Church World Service is calling for increased assistance to 1.7 million people who are coping with losing homes, livelihoods, access to food and clean water following devastating floods, before a lack of assistance creates more complex challenges.

“We recognize Pakistan presents political challenges and its continuous struggle with natural disasters may force people to turn away,” says CWS P/A Director Marvin Parvez. “But there are still mothers, fathers and children struggling to survive. There are real people with incredible needs.”

Situation Update: Pakistan Floods 2014: Estimated Losses and their Impact

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • October 3, 2014

Estimating losses

Estimates from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) caused by floods in Pakistan which made way in early September and caused devastation in provinces including Punjab, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Sindh are indicated in the table below:

Deaths

Injured

Affected population

Damaged houses

Affected villages

Affected Crops (acres)

Cattle Perished

360

646

2,523,681

56,644

4,065

2,416,558

8,957

Overall losses to Pakistan’s economy could be 14 – 15 million USD as per estimates made by the ministries of national food security and research, finance, and some economic experts.

The Sindh forest department recently said around 40,000 acres of forest area is likely to submerge in water as a result of the present floods. Recent news sources further said that estimated high flows of 700,000 to 800,000 cusecs downstream in Guddu during floods are needed for reforestation in the riverine areas. The riverine forests act as natural barriers against dykes, avert soil erosion, and break the speed of flood waters. At present, Sindh’s barrages have low to medium flood levels.

Enhancing Quality and Accountability throughout Project Cycle Management

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 29, 2014

CWS-P/A is organizing a 5 day multi-agency course titled "Enhancing Quality and Accountability throughout Project Cycle Management" in humanitarian action and non-emergency with entry points to technical sectors such as Water, Food, Shelter, Health, Education, Child Protection, Livestock and Livelihoods, Markets and Financial Systems etc. on December 9th – 13th, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.

This course is a unique opportunity for all agencies, as it is focusing comprehensively on Joint Standards and is being promoted for the third time in the region. It aims to gather professional humanitarian workers from INGOs, NGOs, UN, donors, universities and government agencies from around the world who are leaders in promoting and implementing approaches for enhanced quality and accountability (Q&A). It will also allow individuals to understand the significance of linkages between various standards and assist agencies in collaborating and coordinating with various actors towards a common goal.

Methodology:

The methodology will be very participatory, allowing participants to be involved in a dynamic way at all times through presentations, debates, experience sharing, group work, learning pairs, writing workshops, design of proposals and recommendations, etc. The course will be conducted in English - Sylvie Robert has designed this course and would be the main facilitator, with Rizwan Iqbal, co-facilitator from CWS-P/A.

Increasing Accountability Using Sphere Minimum Standards

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 25, 2014

A three-day training to enhance the capacity of humanitarian workers on Sphere Minimum Standards was organized by CWS-P/A in Kabul, Afghanistan. Twenty-one participants representing international and national non-governmental organizations (I/NGOs) in Afghanistan learned the usage of Sphere Minimum Standards in order to ensure quality and accountability in humanitarian action.

The participatory approach of the workshop employed a variety of learning methodologies to address both classroom learning and sharing of good practices. Through interactive discussions, group work, case studies, competitive games, lectures and videos, participants acquainted themselves with the usage of the Sphere Handbook. Particular emphasis was placed on the project cycle with linkages to technical interventions. They learned to utilize this tool for improving quality and accountability of humanitarian actions by sharing, learning, and practicing. “Every participant had an opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences. Practical exercise helped us to explore how to use the Sphere Handbook,” shared Namatullah, one of the participants.

Empowering Children to Become Change Agents

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 25, 2014

“During my childhood, I witnessed a flood in my village. As I recall that day, everything was destroyed. After attending training on disaster risk reduction (DRR), I learned the causes of floods and how it has an impact on us. I also learned safety tips and saw flood simulation models. I feel very knowledgeable after attending this training, and I am very keen to share this information with my family, friends, and community members,” shared Bashir Ahmed, a ninth grade student.

One hundred fifty participants including students and teachers participated in DRR trainings organized by CWS-P/A during the month of August 2014. Students of different villages in Thatta stepped forward to establish School Young Children Safety Club. Comprising of an executive and general body, their aim is to continue practicing DRR activities at schools by disseminating information to create awareness.

Know Your Rights

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 25, 2014

“Freedom of information is a fundamental right and the touchstone of all freedoms.” United Nations General Assembly, 1946

Good governance cannot be offered to the citizens without offering them the right to information which is considered as oxygen for responsive democracy. Qualitative democracy is not just head counting of individuals but it has to empower, facilitate, and protect the citizens; life, liberty and essential rights. To follow and further inspect the actions of their government, citizens require accurate and timely information which enables them to have a meaningful say in decision making processes.

DRR: Sensitizing Communities in Afghanistan

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 25, 2014

A one-day workshop on Action in the Front Line (AFL) organized by CWS-P/A was held in Masamoot Village, Alishang District, Laghman. Twelve AFL committee members participated in this workshop to comprehend the concept of disaster risk reduction. With assistance from the facilitators, participants developed a disaster profile of their villages with a hazard map in order to identify public places such as schools, clinics, mosques, roads, graveyards, hand-pumps, streams and rivers, etc. Areas highly vulnerable to natural disasters were also identified since this village is prone to floods, earthquakes, and extreme weather conditions.

Situation Update: Women Suffer Greatly in the Aftermath of Floods 2014

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 24, 2014

Background:

As the flood emergency deepens in Pakistan, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) says 358 people have died and over 1.7 million people are affected in the country. In Punjab, 281 people have lost their lives, in Azad Jammu & Kashmir 64 people died, and 13 passed away in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Many women and children are in dire need of help. Many of them continue to remain without food, shelter, and are in need of health assistance. Saira from Azad Kashmir shares that she along with other community members continue to live with minimum support. She also shared concerns about families who worry about coping with winter in the coming months. “With nothing to warm them, life is going to get very tough especially for women and children in these tents.”

Saira says that some community members received tents from a local organization and food was supplied by philanthropists. As she emphasized about food supplies soon running out and that tents alone were not sufficient, she also stressed upon the absence of bathing facilities and latrines. Saira mentioned this added to the vulnerabilities women were already facing without proper shelter.

Situation Update: More Aid and More Long-term Investment

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 22, 2014

Background:

Recent figures from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) indicate 346 deaths with over 1.7 million people affected. News sources share that the floods in Pakistan have affected 2.35 million acres of land. In Punjab, 617,774 people evacuated and in Sindh, 48,592 people evacuated from Sukkur and Larkana. The loss to public sector infrastructure is estimated to be over 10 billion rupees (USD 102,040,818 as per initial estimates. Punjab, commonly known as the bread basket of Pakistan, has witnessed severe damage to crops including rice, maize, sugar-cane, and cereal. Crops and livestock worth billions of rupees have also been destroyed. For poor families whose livelihood and food supply depend on seasonal crops, the loss is devastating and threatens food security, nutrition, economic stability, and access to other basic needs such as education and healthcare. Likewise, it highlights the possibility of food shortages and lower export trade for the economy. In Pakistan, millions of people either rent or sharecrop land from landowners. The increasing frequency of disasters makes it more difficult for farming families to escape poverty and the cycle of debt. Land on rent or the provisions of agricultural inputs from landowners are stilled owed even in the case of disaster, which exacerbates the challenges poor families already face.

The NDMA has also initiated work on the assessment of losses in flood-affected areas in collaboration with the United Nations. Assessment will be conducted in Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad, Chiniot, Jhang, and Multan to identify damages to infrastructure and rehabilitation of affected people.

According to the Inter Services Public Relations, 29 relief collection points have been set up by the army in major cities, including three in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Additionally, consignments of five trucks containing 40 tons of relief goods were dispatched to flood-affected people on Sunday.

International Day of Peace

  • All News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 19, 2014

International Day of Peace

September 21, 2014

 The Rights of People to Peace is the theme for this year’s International Day on Peace to mark the 30th anniversary of the General Assembly Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace. This day is dedicated to celebrate world peace through education and public awareness sessions on peace related issues. To mark the occasion, Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan shares a collection of artwork from children in Sindh, Pakistan and Nangarhar, Afghanistan. These children are students in schools where CWS-P/A implements its peace education project and its girls’ education project, respectively.

Situation Update: Hard times in Azad Kashmir, more deaths in Punjab, and Sindh prepares for floods

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 19, 2014

Background:

The death toll from floods in Pakistan now stands at 323 people according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Over 2,274,690 people have been affected throughout the country.  The floods continue to wreak havoc in Punjab Province where settlements around Chenab have been severely affected. Latest news reports that the death toll from Punjab is 246. Children aged between 7 and 10 years, drowned in Kaiyan Wala in Chiniot adding to the number of causalities.

In southern parts of Punjab including Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur, and Rahim Yar Khan, water started to recede and residents have been reported to return back to their hometowns.

In Azad Jammu & Kashmir, 64 people have died and 46,496 people are affected by floods. The valley has witnessed disastrous floods with landslides in many districts.  With water from rivers gushing on to streets in Kashmir, much of the infrastructure including roads and buildings have been destroyed. Families state huge losses of farm lands and livestock. Affected communities live in tent settlements and remain vulnerable to health hazards.

Situation Update: Floods bring more deaths and destruction and triggers exodus in Sindh

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 17, 2014

Background:

According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the death toll from floods is 317 people. Over 2,274,690 people have been affected in the country. In Punjab alone there are now 2.23 million people affected, 34,052 houses damaged, and 2,909 villages affected. In Azad Jammu & Kashmir, 64 people have died and 46,496 people are affected by floods.

The Pakistan army, civil administration, and humanitarian agencies are carrying out relief and rescue operations through 360 relief camps set up in different areas. The news sources also reported that army helicopters are dropping food packs and moving stranded people to safe places by boats and helicopters.

According to reports from upper Sindh, most of the protective bunds which had developed breaches during the 2010 floods have been repaired, but as noted by the Sindh chief minister during his visits to the bunds last week, the work has not been satisfactory. Online media also reports that in Ghotki, the Qadirpur loop bund, Shaink bund, and other bunds are reportedly in good enough condition to withstand a medium-level flood. On the other hand, if the Machko bund in Ubauro, situated in the limits of Rahim Yar Khan District is breached, the water will flood lands in Sindh.

Situation Update: Sindh on alert as country-wide damages increase

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 15, 2014

Background:

Sindh on alert:

In view of the prevalent conditions in the upper parts of Pakistan, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority’s (PDMA) alert issued for the province of Sindh focused on gearing up in flood fighting protocols and mechanisms. The PDMA also broadcasted SMS alert in Sindh for the districts of Khairpur, Sukkur, Kasmore, Larkana, Sikarpur, Jacobabad, Kambar, and Ghotki. The messages have reached around 265,000 mobile phone subscribers in high-risk districts.

Irrigation experts said that between 45,000 and 55,000 cusecs of water are expected to pass through Guddu Barrage on September 17. Between 70,000 and 75,000 cusecs of floodwater were earlier expected to pass through Sindh but a large volume of the torrent has been dispersed. However, families living in the low-lying continue to remain at risk.

Anticipating the torrent, the Sindh government has issued a flood warning and asked residents of katcha (riverine) areas to move to safer places. According to Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon, all the deputy commissioners (DCs) have issued evacuation notices to residents of katcha areas. Katcha residents, however, said they are not ready to leave since no relief camps have been set up for them by the Sindh government and no transport has been provided for them. In the absence of any arrangements, they said they would rather stay where they are.

Situation Update: In Azad Jammu & Kashmir: Addressing Immediate Health Needs

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 12, 2014

Background:

The floods in Pakistan have affected 1,121,987 people as recorded by the National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) latest update. According to UNOCHA, the authorities expect an estimated 3 million people to be affected by floods in the coming days. Approximately 257 people have been reported dead and 461 injured.

Most families affected since last week lack access to adequate food, shelter, and drinking water. These factors increase the risk of waterborne diseases and other health concerns.

While food, emergency shelters, immediate healthcare, WASH, and NFIs are priority needs in the affected areas, access to clean water and adequate healthcare is essential to avoid mortality caused by water-borne diseases. Affected community members worry about their lives without homes and no land to rebuild. They worry about diminishing food supplies, lost livestock and crops, and the coming challenging winter months ahead. There is no doubt that a lack of resources will affect the timeliness of the emergency response. Therefore, it is essential that the affected communities receive immediate relief to prevent an exacerbation of issues in the affected areas.

Video: Floods and Landslides Devastated Azad Jammu and Kashmir

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 10, 2014

Situation Update: Flood updates - Forecast, current conditions, and damages

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • September 10, 2014

Background:

Flood forecast-Sindh

Scattered thundershowers with gusty winds and isolated heavy falls are expected to occur over Sindh in the next 24 hours. Sindh is expecting to receive the volume of flood water flowing from Punjab in the next two to three days. Additionally, rainfall will exacerbate the challenges that vulnerable communities face. According to officials from the Indus River System Authority (ISRA), a surge in water levels through Punjab is likely to cause flooding in Sindh as 800,000 to 1,000,000 cusecs of water is expected to reach Sukkur Barrage on September 15 and 500,000 to 600,000 cusecs is expected to reach Kotri Barrage on September 20-21.

Current conditions-Damages and Destruction

In areas along River Chenab and River Jhelum, thousands have been rendered homeless. The River Chenab is flooded at Trimmu Headworks with inflow of 509,000 cusecs as reported by local radio. The water level at Trimmu has remained steady for some time but is expected to rise. As per the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) updates shared on September 9, 231 people have been killed and 401 people have been injured. A total of 7,798 households have been either completely or partially damaged due to the rain and flood related incidents in Punjab, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan. The NDMA has provided 4,475 tents, 1,500 plastic mats, and 4,000 blankets to affected families. Rescue efforts by the NDMA assisted 31,370 trapped people from different parts of Punjab. At least 30,000 flood affected people were rescued in Jhang District according to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA).  Recent updates from the NDMA state that floods have affected 600,000 people and as floodwaters move downriver, there are fears of more inundations

Food Security Threatened in Flood-affected Kashmir

  • Latest News
  • Written by Muhammad Fazal
  • September 9, 2014

 Muhammad Ilyas recalls a happy life with his family and relatives in the neighborhood of Kals Noor Galla, Bagh District. He along with other community members owned apple orchards and grew maize in summer and wheat in winter each year. The community in Kals Noor Galla expressed that they felt safe as they had not experienced disasters since the earthquake in 2005. They shared they had rebuilt their houses following guidelines to ensure that the construction was earthquake resistant but were unaware of how to cope with the unexpected landslide that swept away their homes and lands.

On the night of September 5, boulders, silt, and mud entered from the rear side of the settlement smashing houses in their path.

A total of twenty-five houses, including Ilyas’, were completely destroyed while other houses were partially damaged. Ilyas shared, “We not only lost our houses and household belongings but have also lost agricultural land and crops of maize and apple trees.” The water supply scheme has also been severally damaged which has made access to clean drinking water a challenge for the community.

Ilyas and the affected community now reside with relatives at a nearby village.

Destruction, Homelessness, and Lost Hope

  • Latest News
  • Written by Muhammad Fazal
  • September 9, 2014

 “Eating and living under the open sky is the most difficult experience of my life. We have lost our house, clothing, bedding, and everything in a sudden wave of floods   two days ago,” said Noor Jan. Noor Jan and her family which includes her husband and four children are residents of Chattar 2 located in Bagh District in Azad Jammu & Kashmir. Her husband works as a daily wage laborer. As refugees in 1989 from the Indian part of Kashmir, Noor Jan and her family received land on lease to have their own house. The severe floods in Mall River swept away the settlement of refugees living on the bank of the river in Chattar 2. The land which was once home to 87 refugee families at Chattar is now covered with silt and debris.

“There would be a shortage of food sometimes when my husband would not find work for a few days, but I always felt safe living in my own house,” said Noor Jan.

Following the destruction of their home, Noor Jan and her family live in an open place along the road. She is concerned about her life returning to normal without a place for her home and within the limited means of her husband’s income. “My husband does not earn very much so this does not promise us a normal life.”

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