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Canada funds disaster response facility in Gilgit-Baltistan

By Our Reporter 2017-06-02
ISLAMABAD: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)is constructing a `Humanitarian Response Facility` (HRF) in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) with $1.7 million provided by the Canadian government.

This will be the seventh HRF built in Pakistan as part of a strategic network of storage facilities to help the government and humanitarian community prepare for and respond to disasters, the WFP announced on Thursday.

The WFP has been working with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities(PDMA) to build the HRFs in strategic locations in most vulnerable parts of the country. The HRFs provide a central storage facility for government relief stocks to be rapidly deployed in emergencies.

While the HRFs are designed and built by the WFP, the government provides land for construction and takes over its operation and maintenance.

The WFP provides training to the government staff in technical areas such as warehouse management, facilities management and fire-fighting.

Assistance from Canada comes in addition to over 4.4m Canadian dollars in contributions for the construction of six other HRFs located in Muzaffargarh, Quetta, Lahore,Hyderabad, Peshawar and Sukkur, jointly with five other donor countries.

Instead ofhaving to resortto aerial operations, which are expensive and can only bring a limited volume of assistance, the HRF will provide a central storage hub for critical humanitarian supplies. The WFP has already established emergency storage facilities at district level in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The Canadian government is also contributing about C$1.2m to address the immediate needs of highly vulnerable families in the drought-affected Tharparkar district of Sindh, through activities such as structural assetcreation and training on how to prepare for and cope during disasters.