Spending on flood recovery likely to be $3 bn by June 2023

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Ahsan Iqbal says The minimum needs identified for recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction are estimated at $16.3 billion

GENEVA, Jan 9 (DNA):Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal Monday said that Pakistan faced unprecedented  devastation due to torrential rains and flooding in most parts of the country, and the spending on flood recovery in the country might cross US$3 billion by June this year.

Pakistan faced huge economic losses due to damage of infrastructure and loss of crops that led to significant losses in GDP, higher poverty rates, degradation of eco-system, degradation of environment and climate, job loss and disruption, degradation of environment and climate, while women and girls are also at risk of gender based violence and child marriage, he said while speaking at the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan, co-hosted by the Government of Pakistan and the United Nations in Geneva.

He said the Post-Damage Needs Assessment (PDNA) — conducted jointly by the Government of Pakistan and its international development partners, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Union, UN relief agencies, in October — has estimated the aggregate cost of the calamity at $30.1 billion.

This includes $14.9 billion in damages to infrastructure and $15.2 billion in economic losses. The minimum needs identified for recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction are estimated at $16.3 billion.

He said out of the total $16.3 billion, Pakistan government would spend 50% from its own resources, while it has requested the international community to help Pakistan with $8 billion during next three years “so that we can rebuild our damaged infrastructure in shortest possible time”.

Minister Iqbal said Pakistan’s economy was already in dire straits. The floods have caused a massive impact. The losses to the GDP as a direct consequence of this disaster are projected to be around 2.2 per cent in the financial year 2022.

The agriculture sector accounts for the largest decline at 0.9 per cent. The recovery and reconstruction needs are projected at 1.6 times the budgeted national development expenditure for the Financial Year 2023, he added.

He said Pakistan was the hardest hit among the countries that faced extreme weather-related events and catastrophes last year. The monsoon rains, almost 400% above average in some parts, swamped vast arid regions. Hill torrents and flash floods washed away entire villages. The human and material costs of the disaster has been staggering. More than 1,700 lives lost, one third of whom were children.

The poorest districts were most affected. Infrastructure losses included nearly 13,000 kilometres of roads, 400 bridges and several hundred dams, and over 25,000 schools and 1,500 health facilities, destroyed or damaged

The minister pointed out that the 2022 floods were of a scale never seen before as more than 8.4 to 9.1 million people were pushed into poverty, additional 7.6 million people were facing food insecurity, 17 million women and children were at greater risk of preventable disease, 4.3 million people were at danger of job loss/disruption, and 640,000 women and girls were at risk of gender-based violence and child marriage.

The minister said the objectives of the government’s recovery efforts are to improve governance and enhance the capacity of state institutions, restore livelihood and economic opportunities, ensure social inclusion and participation in all aspects of recovery and related development, and restore and improve basic services and physical infrastructure.

Giving the sector-wise spending, the minister said that governance, environment, and climate change sectors would require $413.5 million; agriculture, livelihoods and finance, markets, commerce, industry, and tourism would require $4.35 billion; and education, health, and nutrition, WASH, municipal services, energy infrastructure, transport and communication, water resources and irrigation and digital infrastructure would require $10.082 billion.

The long-term resilient climate infrastructure development plan, he said is over $30 billion which involves a national flood protection programme, building new infrastructure, or re-engineering the existing infrastructure to cope with the shocks of climate-induced disasters.

“We have worked out a number of projects to build resilient infrastructure in various fields including housing, health, education, gender inclusion, private sector, irrigation, and flood protection works, fail network, road network, energy, redesigning agriculture to smart agriculture”, he added.