In a meeting on Tuesday, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a $300 million-dollar financial scheme for Pakistan. The funding is aimed at two specific projects in the country: the Sindh Resilience Project and the Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project.
Two of the biggest problems that the country faced during 2020 were, of course, healthcare, and natural disasters. The massive amounts of rainfall faced by the city of Karachi at the beginning of this year ruined many livelihoods and homes. The consequences of those floods will likely echo through the lives of many for decades to come. The World Bank has issued this investment to strengthen the efforts being made in Sindh to develop resilience to natural disasters such as floods and droughts.
The Sindh Resilience Project is a 200-million-dollar investment for the World Bank and aims at bettering the drought and flood management, the climate and disaster risk-management, and the handling of public health emergencies in the province.
“Building resilience to natural disasters and health emergencies is an important and urgent agenda in Pakistan,” says Najy Benhassine, World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan. He added that this resilience project will “help save lives and protect the economy” of the province as well as the country.
“The debilitating impact of recent floods in Karachi, droughts and extreme rainfall in Sindh, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic, make it imperative that risk reduction investments strengthen multi-sectoral dialogue and coordination at the city, provincial, and national levels to ensure protections for vulnerable communities and fight the spread of disease.”
The project will also help solve the irrigation infrastructure in Sindh. This is directly aimed at drought-prone rural areas of the province; it will ensure areas which tend to suffer from droughts get enough water all year round.
The Sindh Emergency Service project will help better the current preparation of the province for natural disasters. It can also help improve coordination between the disaster management teams and the health sector. With Karachi being one of the cities currently facing the worst of the Coronavirus, a project like this can also help better manage health crises and save thousands of lives.
Ahsan Tehsin, the Team Leader for the Sindh Resilience Project, has said that the project will ‘greatly enhance’ the government’s response to natural disasters and health crises. “Particularly in a megacity like Karachi where many lives are lost due to insufficient emergency medical services,” said Tehsin, a proper establishment this could be highly beneficial.
Another project the investment is aimed at is the solid waste management in Karachi. 100 million dollars have been allotted for the Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project (SWEEP). This will help deal with the tonnes of solid waste being discarded on roadsides in Karachi. This waste clogs up drainage systems, spreads numerous kinds of diseases, and negatively affects the aesthetics of the former capital of the country. Dealing with this wastage can prove to be a turning point in making Karachi the beautiful and safe city that it once was.