ISLAMABAD: Pakistani and UN officials launched the 2021 Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) on Wednesday to support around 4.3 million people, including refugees, who face overlapping emergencies in the disaster-prone country.
Pakistan is the fifth country most affected by extreme weather events, according to the Climate Risk Index 2020. It is prone to natural hazards such as drought, floods, heat waves, extreme cold, and earthquakes.
"The central message of 'leaving no one behind' resonates loud and clear throughout the HRP, whether it is persons with disabilities, refugees, asylum seekers or any other vulnerable group," Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said during the launch event.
Pakistan has hosted millions of Afghan refugees for 40 years, reaching 4-5 million at the peak. Currently, 1.4 million refugees are registered with Pakistani authorities and the UN refugee agency, while the number of those unregistered is believed to be 1 million.
"This response plan is intended to strengthen Pakistan’s capacity in the prevention, preparedness and response to disasters including through the provision of relief services by building cross-institutional and stakeholder linkages," he said.
UN Resident Coordinator Julien Harneis called on the international community to share the burdens of reginal humanitarian response shouldered by Pakistan.
"The people in Pakistan have to cope with the humanitarian consequences of extreme weather events and conflicts in Afghanistan," he said. "The causes of these humanitarian needs are in part global and regional, and so although the Pakistani state and society have significant capacity to respond to these needs, it is appropriate that the international community share this burden. In launching the HRP, we are laying out the roadmap of how the UN and humanitarian partners aim to support and complement the response of the Government of Pakistan.”
The plan focuses on 81 prioritized districts. The response activities called for in the plan amount to $332 million, including food security and livelihood assistance, nutrition programs, primary health services, sanitation, and education support.
According to the UN office in Pakistan, COVID-19 pandemic response activities have also been mainstreamed in the plan to complement other relevant frameworks.