ISLAMABAD: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) on Thursday launched the third phase of its relief project to distribute 25,000 non-food items (NFI) and an equal number of relief kits to help over 350,000 flood victims in Pakistan, a senior official of the Saudi aid agency said.
Devastating floods in June 2022 killed over 1,700, destroyed businesses and livelihoods, and affected over 33 million people in Pakistan. The deluges inflicted damages of over $30 billion for Pakistan, the country estimates, and left thousands of Pakistanis direly needing food, shelter, and other forms of assistance.
KSrelief, with one of the largest humanitarian budgets for aid agencies across the world, has been undertaking humanitarian projects across 88 countries. Pakistan is the fifth largest beneficiary of the organization’s aid and humanitarian operations.
According to the KSrelief data, the agency has completed 170 projects in Pakistan in education, healthcare, water, sanitation, hygiene, emergency camps, and community support. These collectively have cost roughly $163 million in the last 17 years.
After last year's floods, KSrelief has already distributed 10,000 NFI and 25,000 winter relief kits in the first phase of the project to help Pakistan's flood victims, which was completed in December 2022.
“It is the launch of the second and third phase of the non-food relief items for flood victims and 350,000 individuals will benefit from this relief assistance,” Dr. Khalid Mohammed Alothmani, KSrelief Pakistan director, said during the launching ceremony in Islamabad.
He said KSrelief took the initiative to provide 25,000 NFI kits and 25,000 winter relief kits—which weighed approximately 3,965 tonnes—keeping in mind the devastating floods and the critical need for humanitarian items.
“Each NFIs kit comprises two blankets, a shelter kit with plastic matt, a kitchen set with jerry can and antibiotic soaps,” he said. The winter kits, he said, included two quilts, shawls for men and women, 10 pairs of socks for men, women, and children, four children's caps, two children's mufflers, and sweaters.
There were also four warmers for men and women of the needy families that were residing in the colder flood-affected regions of the country, Alothmani said.
“The third and fourth phase of the NFI project is under distribution process and will be completed soon in all the affected areas of Punjab and Sindh,” he shared.
Alothmani said relief packages would be distributed in collaboration with Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) with the help of registered NGOs, who would act as implementing partners, and local governments.
“We are also soon launching another project to build houses for the rehabilitation of schools and basic health units in the affected areas,” the KSrelief director informed.
In his remarks, Saudi ambassador Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki said KSrelief always remained at the forefront to help the "brotherly people" of Pakistan in their time of need.
“On behalf of my country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, all these relief items are a gift for the brotherly country Pakistan,” he added.
“I would like to give our Pakistani brothers the firm commitment of the Saudi government and its leadership to always stand by our Pakistani brothers, to enrich our brotherly relations to new heights,” Al-Malki said.
NDMA chairman, Lieutenant General Inam Haider Malik, thanked Saudi Arabia and other friendly countries for coming to Pakistan's aid.
“This support has come in handy not only for the rescue and relief part of our flood victims' support plan but also as it is a source of great support for Pakistan’s reconstruction and rehabilitation too,” he added..
He said Pakistan acknowledge KSrelief teams for their efforts in working with the local government and ensuring that rescue articles reached flood victims who had lost everything in the cataclysmic deluges.
“We have also been working with our partners and donors to remodel our response regime where we would like to be more proactive and engaged with our developing partners to showcase our ability to identify the exact requirements from the local area,” Malik said.