The Netherlands helps with resilient recovery strategy after climate disaster in Pakistan |

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The Netherlands helps with resilient recovery strategy after climate disaster in Pakistan

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Published on: 4 January 2023 | Changed on: 05 January 2023

In June 2022, the first globally acknowledged climate disaster hit Pakistan. To help Pakistan deal with the devastating floods, several organisations combined their efforts. DRR-Team, the DSS water programme and the Embassy of the Netherlands (Islamabad) worked together on a unique approach. They covered all 4 aspects of the disaster reduction cycle: preparedness, emergency aid, prevention and reconstruction.

Extreme climate conditions

The floods in Pakistan were extremely heavy in 2022, flooding approximately 10% of the country. The disaster affected 33 million people, killing over 1,700 and displacing another 2.1 million. The floods also killed 1.2 million livestock and destroyed 3.5 million hectares of fertile land.

Hydrology expert Juan Smulders supported Pakistan's International Organisation for Migration (IOM) via the DSS water programme from September until December 2022. He explains, "People prepared their shelters for the winter, but the floods destroyed them and 90% of the crops. This winter, which lasts until February, temperatures could drop to as low as 1 or 2 degrees Celsius. This will cause big challenges for many people. Being exposed to the elements and having limited access to water and sanitation, I fear diseases will prevail. Malaria and dengue fever are already widespread."

This was not the first catastrophe in Pakistan. The country suffers from droughts and severe floods, making recovery more and more difficult. People will feel the effects of these floods for years to come. Pakistan is in the top 10 countries most affected by climate change. This worsens the devastating effects of floods and droughts.

A resilient recovery strategy

In September 2022, the Ministry of Climate Change in Pakistan asked the Embassy of the Netherlands in Islamabad for support. As a result, a Dutch team of experts was deployed via the DRR-Team programme to work on a resilient recovery strategy. DRR-Team lead and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) expert Jos de Sonneville and modelling expert Ron Passchier from Deltares led the effort to create the strategy. This strategy contributed to the World Bank's Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA).

There was a tight deadline for the PDNA report. So, it was helpful that DSS water expert Juan Smulders was in Pakistan supporting IOM. He was able to provide crucial information to the DRR-Team. The PDNA report was finished on time, and its results were presented at the UN Climate Conference (COP27) in November 2022. The report found that Pakistan had suffered losses and damages of more than 30 billion USD. The results helped focus global attention on the issue of loss and damage. And the COP27 closed with a breakthrough agreement to provide loss and damage funding for vulnerable countries affected by climate disasters.

Follow up

In December 2022, Ele Jan Saaf and Frank van Steenbergen visited Pakistan to follow up on the governance aspects of the recovery phase. Ele and Frank are experts with good knowledge of the Pakistani context. They are preparing an advisory document on flood resilience, spatial planning, smart water allocation management and water governance challenges.

Also, as a follow-up, diplomat and water expert Fred Smiets will organise round-table sessions in Islamabad with stakeholders. As a part of this process, he will include knowledge gained from interventions so far. The Pakistani government and the Netherlands Embassy will lead the round-table sessions. These sessions aim to identify the conditions for a more holistic approach to flood forecasting, preparedness and protection. This approach should lead to more sustainable, flood-resilient reconstruction and recovery.

Would you like to use your knowledge to help out in disaster areas?

Are you an expert on water management, safety, supply or emergency aid in water disasters? And would you like to help in water-related emergencies? DRR-Team and DSS water are always looking for new experts. Learn more about DRR-Team and DSS water. Or sign up as an expert.

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