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Sindh sees 5mn people below poverty line: Murad tells IRC chief



KARACHI: The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has agreed to work with the Sindh government in post-flood relief activities, and climate change-related plans, and to help in the health sector, particularly against malnutrition.

This emerged in a meeting between the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and IRC CEO Mr. David Miliband (through video link) on Friday morning.

The CM told the IRC chief that as per the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report Sindh has been at the receiving end of about 61 percent of the total damages and 75 percent of the total losses due to the floods. Adding that the adverse impact of climate change has disrupted every conceivable facet of life in the province.

Mr. Shah said that the devastating impact of floods has ‘undone’ a significant chunk of public sector investments in the province as it permeated across all sectors. He added that 24 out of the 30 districts have been declared ‘calamity-hit where the floods have affected more than 12.4 million people, with more than 1000 lives lost as well as over 2 million housing units impacted, and over 450,000 livestock perished.

The CM said that about 20,000 schools and more than 1000 health facilities have been damaged. He added that about 8,500 km of the road network and 7,300 km of irrigation network has also been damaged and the estimates suggested the provincial poverty rate may increase, pushing an additional 5 million people below the poverty line with over 4.3 million additional people facing the threat of food insecurity.

The IRC CEO said that his organization was interested in working with the provincial government on relief activities, climate-change-related plans, and in the health sector, particularly in malnutrition and mother-child health. He added that his organization was working in eight districts of the province, Dadu, Jamshoro, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tharparkar, and Umerkot to address malnutrition issues among pregnant mothers and mother-child healthcare.

The Chief Minister and Mr. Miliband also discussed the strategic plan developed by the provincial government.

Strategic Action Plan

The CM said that the ‘Strategic Action Plan’ developed by his government aimed to guide Sindh’s Flood Response and priorities from a short-, medium- and long-term perspective. “The core focus of the action plan is to serve as a guide for strategic prioritization for planning, programming, and implementation for Sindh in the post-flood context,” he said and added the strategic action plan prioritized critical intervention areas to address systemic issues, especially concerning disasters which include `Rectifying the Systemic Issues, People-Centered Approach, Building Upon the Existing Models and Systems and Aligning Existing Budgetary Framework with Resource Commitments.

The strategic action plan focuses on Irrigation and Water Resource Infrastructure (including Drainage Systems), housing and community facilities, livelihood, communications (Roads Infrastructure), Education, Health, and Human Impact (Poverty, Social Protection, Food Security, Psycho-Social impact).

Murad Ali Shah told IRC that the growers have been given cash to purchase wheat seed at a rate of Rs5000 per acre, as a result, Sindh has grown a bumper wheat crop during the ongoing Rabi season. He also added that the flood-affected people were being given cash to reconstruct/repair their damaged houses. The work has been started in Hyderabad and Sukkur Divisions. The IRC CEO told the chief minister that he would discuss the issues faced by the provincial government with his team and then visit Karachi to meet in person to finalize the relief activities program.


Sindh Solid Waste Management Board starts paying for garbage disposal in Pak Rupees



KARACHI: With an aim to lower the financial burden on the provincial exchequer, the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) started to pay private companies contracted for garbage disposal in the city in local currency instead of US dollars.

In this regard, Managing Director SSWMB Syed Imtiaz Ali Shah held a meeting with representatives of the private firms responsible for disposal of garbage in the city and apprised them of the decisions made by the steering committee of the Board.

The meeting deliberated upon the new plan of garbage disposal in the city before the expiry of the contracts made with private firms for solid waste management on district West, Malir, Keamari and East.

It was informed in the meeting that the negotiation with the contracting firms for payment in local currency had already been started.

The representatives of the private firms working in district Malir, West and Keamari informed the meeting that the verification of the staff and vehicles had been completed through a third party, while the verification was still going on in district East.

The managing-director directed the officials concerned to take steps to further improve efficiency in the new operational plan.

He asked the officials to make union committee-wise operational plan, containing complete details of daily waste volume, transport, machinery, staff and all resources to further improve the door-to-door waste collection services.

He also directed the private companies to pay the salaries of their respective staff on time. Mr Shah said that the operational plan should also include training of the staff, the strategy of separate collection of waste and date of people who picked garbage illegally.

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SBCA launches crackdown against illegal structures in Karachi



KARACHI: The Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) has initiated massive crackdown against illegal constructions in different parts of the city, resulting in demolition of numerous buildings, marriage halls etc.

In a recent operation against illegal constructions in Karachi’s district Central, SBCA officials also came under firing, however, SBCA officials proceeded with the operation and demolished the fourth floor of the targeted building.

Director General of SBCA Abdul Rasheed Solangi has instructed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Central to apprehend the culprits immediately and file a case against those involved in the firing.

Abdul Rasheed Solangi emphasized the need for fearless enforcement actions against illegal constructions and commended the SBCA staff for their dedication and honesty. He assured them of full support in facing any challenges during their duties.

Abdul Rasheed Solangi along with the demolition squad has bulldozed more than four buildings in areas including Essa Nagri, Paposh Nagar, and Gulberg. Moreover, over 13 illegal portions have been demolished in areas including Saddar Town, Jamshed Town, Gulberg, and Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Director General of SBCA Abdul Rasheed Solangi is personally supervising the crackdown against illegal constructions. The provincial government is committed to cleansing Karachi from all forms of illegal constructions, the DG adds.

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Sindh CS, British Deputy High Commissioner vow to strengthen bilateral relations, work for environmental challenges



KARACHI: British Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney met with Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah at the Sindh Secretariat on Wednesday to discuss enhancing bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

During the meeting, Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah briefed the British Deputy High Commissioner on the ongoing efforts in infrastructure development, water supply, sewage, and governance in Sindh. He stated that the Sindh government is actively working on improving water supply, sewage, and road infrastructure to accommodate Karachi’s growing population.

“Pakistan, although only contributing less than 1 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change.” Said CS Sindh

He highlighted that Pakistan incurred a loss of $32 billion from the 2022 floods and is vulnerable to future environmental risks, underscoring the urgent need for proactive measures to mitigate such disasters.

Furthermore, he expressed concerns about the adverse effects of environmental changes on the River Indus. Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah informed that the federal-level Living Indus project has been initiated, after consultation with environmental experts, stakeholders, and provincial governments. He expressed a desire for technical assistance from the British government to address environmental changes.

Syed Asif Hyder Shah also mentioned investment opportunities in energy, investment, and agriculture sectors in Sindh for British investors. British Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney expressed interest in collaborating on the Living Indus project and other projects related to environment. Chief Secretary Sindh presented traditional souvenir to the British Deputy High Commissioner.

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