Islamabad (Khyber Mail): A delegation led by the Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Dr. Riina Kionka, embarked on a one-day field mission to Dadu, Sindh, to witness the impact and scale of support provided by the European Union (EU) to flood-affected communities in a district that was among the hardest hit by the devastating floods in 2022.

In the wake of unprecedented rainfall and floods that swept across Pakistan in 2022, the EU launched a comprehensive relief and recovery initiative aimed at immediate relief, building the resilience of communities through climate-resilient housing, sanitation, livelihood opportunities, as well as child protection services.

The delegation visited EU-funded project sites in four villages across Dadu where on behalf of the European Union the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Save the Children International (SCI) Pakistan are implementing development projects focusing on rehabilitating community assets, providing child protection, education, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) as well as shelters for the community.

During the visit, the delegation observed the distribution of cash assistance to participants under WFP’s project. The Ambassador and her team inspected rainwater harvesting ponds for irrigation, communal washing pads, and protective pathways.

The delegation also met women entrepreneurs who revived their livelihoods since the 2022 floods, e.g. by opening tuck shops and tailoring businesses. Women-led village development committees shared their challenges and aspirations with the delegation.

The delegation also visited sites where UNICEF is providing child protection and education services with EU funds. At the Children’s drop-in centre and a safe space for girls and women, the Ambassador witnessed children engaging in recreational activities and adolescent girls and women learning vocational skills such as embroidery and stitching.

At these facilities, trained professionals also provide psycho-social support to help them recover from trauma and raise awareness on protection from violence and abuse. Later, the delegation visited a flood-damaged public school which UNICEF has since rehabilitated. Besides teaching and learning materials, UNICEF has also provided safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, especially for girls, in all rehabilitated schools.

The delegation further toured the locations where SCI Pakistan created a Child-friendly Space, Climate-Resilient Housing and Sanitation facilities, engaging in discussions with the beneficiaries of the project. Towards the conclusion of their visit, they also observed the livelihoods initiative focusing on kitchen gardening, sustainable agriculture, and livestock management support.

On-site, Ambassador Riina Kionka expressed that the field visit underscores the EU’s commitment to supporting development work in Pakistan; “Although almost two years have passed, the flood-affected communities still require our attention and support. While I’m glad that the EU support has made a significant difference in the lives of the hardest-hit, the looming threat of climate change means extreme weather will become more frequent. The EU is working with Pakistan to build long-term resilience to climate change” she said.

WFP’s Head of provincial office in Sindh, Ms. Judith Lumu, Prem Bahadur Chand, UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office – Sindh, and Deputy Country Director from SCI Pakistan Bilal Taj joined the delegation and showed the Ambassador and First Secretary Dr Christian Raitz von Frentz the many activities ongoing.

WFP, UNICEF, and SCI Pakistan are currently implementing these three projects with a financial volume of EUR 12 million for the European Union in 13 districts across three provinces in Pakistan: Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. EURO 12 million has been allocated to benefit 22,365 households. Countrywide, the EU has spent EUR 227 million of grant aid on humanitarian and recovery projects in support of flood-affected communities. EU Member States contributed another EUR 689 million in subsidised loans (EUR 438 million) and grant (251 million), not counting their additional aid in kind.

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