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Climate Change

Climate Change Adaptation: Energy efficient stoves can save 75% fuel energy 

04 Mei 2011 12:12:59 nm

Climate Change Adaptation: Energy efficient stoves can save 75% fuel energy

If we go energy efficient by popularizing energy efficient fuel stoves among rural populations depending on firewood and timber, we can save up to 75 percent of fuel energy (especially from the firewood) which was previously utilized in burning the traditional stoves.

“The introduction of Energy Efficient Cooking Stoves (EECS) Technology is a great step ahead on the front of saving the crucial energy. An energy efficient stove is a new technology that is replacing our traditional stoves. Traditional stoves are big threat to firewood consumption and forest degradation. These smokeless stoves are less harmful to the women during cooking, will save them from many diseases like asthma, and will, of course, help in reducing environmental degradation by reducing the cutting of wood in the rural areas to lit the stoves,” explained Dr Mahmood Khwaja, an environmentalists at SDPI.

 

A great thing about these stoves is that they are not only available in tin-made form but also can be produced locally using the traditional ways and materials like clay. The clay is mixed with its other constituent materials inside the mold and is left there for sometime. When the mold is lifted, the clay-made energy efficient stove is ready to be used. The mould is light in weight and can be easily transported from one place to another.

 

Using these stoves in Pakistan can really work wonders as the majority of the people living in far flung areas use the wood collected from environment to fuel their traditional stoves. Even the 11 slums in the outskirts of the capital of Pakistan have no other alternative than collecting wood from the natural habitats and using it to light up their stoves. Replacement of these traditional stoves with these energy efficient ones is sure to contribute substantially in preserving the wood not only in the capital but throughout the country that is facing a hasty depletion due to unchecked cutting for domestic use.

 

“Introduction of these stoves in Pakistani Rural localities will reduce the use of biomass energy that will eventually reduce emission of carbon dioxide – a major environmental polluter. Moreover, the reduced collection of fuel wood will not only lessen pressure on local forest ecosystem but also result in relieving the women from the heavy workload they previously had to shoulder as these stoves once lit last longer than the traditional three-stone fireplace,” told Anusha Sherazi, Project Associate at SDPI while talking to INFN.

It is the need of the hour that the people should prefer these stoves to save their money and the government should also play its due role to help the dream of transformation towards energy efficiency in Pakistan materialize into a reality. If we did not pay heed to projects like these, the energy supply deficit ratio which currently stands at 25% will jump to drastic figures i.e. 54% in a matter of a decade and it will mean no less than an energy death for Pakistan.

UN under pressure to denounce human rights abuses in Carbon Offsetting Scheme 

20 April 2011 07:27:49

UN under pressure to denounce human rights abuses in Carbon Offsetting Scheme

The United Nation's Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board has so far failed to respond to human rights abuses linked to a carbon-offsetting project in Honduras that is currently pending registration, reports from Brussels said.

Environmental and Human Rights Groups are now demanding that the project be rejected from receiving funding under the offsetting scheme. They are also calling for an overhaul of the scheme to strip projects that violate human rights from the list of registered projects.

The project under question has requested funding under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) an offsetting scheme set up under the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol. The project is located in the Bajo Aguan region in Honduras and intends to reduce emissions by collecting biogas from methane emissions and replacing fossil fuels utilized for heat generation in a mill of a palm oil plantation of Grupo Dinant's subsidiary Exportadora del Atlantico. In the context of the CDM it is a relatively small project, forecasting to reduce annually about 23000 tonnes carbon dioxide that could generate about 2.8 million US$ over the period February 2010 to January 2017.

Last week the German public development bank DEG (Deutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft) declared that it will not pay out an already approved loan to Grupo Dinant, the value of which Dinant owner Miguel Facussé reportedly put at $20 million USD. Following suite, also EDF Trading, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Electricité de France SA's and one of the biggest CDM investors, has pulled out from a contract to buy carbon credits from the project. These moves came as a response to findings in a recent report by a Fact-Finding Mission of several international human rights groups led by FIAN.

The report of the international human rights mission was submitted on 25 March 2011 to the Rapporteur for Honduras of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and confirms that 23 peasants have been killed between January 2010 and February 2011 in Bajo Aguan, Honduras. According to state attorneys, investigations of at least five of the killings are exclusively directed at private security forces contracted by a Facussé owned firm.

In a letter dated June 2009, the United Kingdom's CDM authority confirmed its voluntary participation in the Aguan project for EDF Trading. This step is required for the CDM project to sell its credits once registered. In March 2011, 76 organisations sent an Open Letter to the UK Government, urging them to withdraw their authorisation. In a response received on 14 April 2011, Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, rejected the demands to withdraw project authorisation based on current information available. He stated that he would ask the Honduran Government and EDF Trading for information and also ask the CDM Executive Board to investigate the case further.

"Based on the facts at hand we consider it unacceptable for the UK government to adhere to their approval of the project" commented Martin Wolpold-Bosien, FIAN coordinator for Central America "Chris Huhne's letter suggests that he will be guided by the Honduran government's views, yet this is a government widely considered to be illegitimate and one ultimately responsible for the impunity with which crimes like those in the Bajo Aguan land conflicts are being committed."

The CDM Executive Board is expected to assess the application of the Aguan project over the coming weeks with a final decision estimated at their next meeting to conclude on 3 June 2011.

The CDM Executive Board, the body that approves individual CDM projects, has stated that they have no mandate to investigate human rights abuses and that any matters related to the sustainable development of the project - one of the two official key requirements of the CDM - is determined by the government that hosts the project, in this case the de-facto government of Honduras.

"This places a crucial decision into the hands of a government that has obvious interests for the project to go ahead. It is therefore not surprising that so far no project has ever been rejected for non-compliance with the sustainable development criteria." said Eva Filzmoser, Programme Director of CDM Watch. She therefore commended EDF Trading move as "a highly encouraging decision that prioritizes the protection of human rights over their economic benefits."

This was also echoed by the Carbon Markets & Investors Association that called in a press statement on 13 April 2011 that proven human rights abuses related to CDM projects be "rejected from the UN approval processes" and "requests all buyers, verifiers and other providers of CDM related services to immediately terminate their commercial relationship."

"Reported human rights abuses related to CDM project activities have caused widespread dismay that human rights are not being taken seriously under the CDM" said Eva Filzmoser "The CDM Executive Board must take this issue seriously. If there are no rules in place that allow for the rejection of projects based on human rights abuses, it is time to change this now."

Environmental and Human Rights Groups are now calling on the CDM Executive Board to re-assess its mandate and find ways of preventing projects that are linked to violations of international laws from acquiring eligibility under the CDM. A stringent requirement for CDM auditors to check conformity with international human rights laws when validating projects would be an option. Moreover, the detection of non-conformities during the monitoring period, e.g. incidents that involve human rights violations, should lead to suspension of issuance and the project being stripped of CDM eligibility.

"Excluding carbon offset projects that fund human rights abuses from the CDM would only be a logical move given that responsible investors should not be interested in buying carbon credits from projects that violate UN conventions" Filzmoser added.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a project-based flexible offset mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol that allows the crediting of emission reductions from greenhouse gas abatement projects in developing countries. The CDM has two purposes: it should assist developing countries in achieving sustainable development and help industrialized countries to reduce the costs of greenhouse gas abatement. Countries with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol can use CERs to meet a part of their obligations under the Protocol. There are currently more than 2500 registered CDM projects in 58 countries, and about another 2500 projects in the project validation/registration pipeline. Based on estimates in submitted project design documents, the CDM could generate more than 2.9 billion certified emission reductions by the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.

Transform oil, gas industry culture to cut exploration risks: Research 

20 April 2011 07:26:53

Transform oil, gas industry culture to cut exploration risks: Research

Report comes on anniversary of Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

One year on from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the International Institute for Environment and Development on Wednesday (20 April) released a report that shows how growing risks associated with oil and gas exploration can be cut with a new approach to the way the sector manages its chains of contractors.

The report, which draws on three years of research and interviews within the sector, outlines seven key areas for action relating to the industry’s systems, procedures and – importantly – its culture. It highlights the key challenge of maintaining high environmental and social performance standards, even when speed and low cost of delivery are priorities.

Risks in the sector are increasing for two reasons. First, the industry is moving into ever more sensitive environments – whether in deep waters, the Arctic or the Amazon and Congo basins — and these bring greater technological, political and social risks.

Second, oil and gas exploration involves an increasingly complex chain of contractors and subcontractors – failure to manage these adequately increases the industry’s vulnerability to catastrophic accidents.

“The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico apparently involved failures throughout the contracting chain and shows that the risks of a devastating accident are not limited to developing nations with weak governance,” says co-author Dr Emma Wilson of IIED. “With 70% or more of oil and gas exploration activities contracted out, more effective management of these chains of contractors will be critical to ensuring good environmental and social performance.”

The report identifies three broad sets of factors that hamper effective chain-wide performance:

  • Lack of a sense of shared responsibility throughout the contracting chain and across stakeholder groups
  • Inadequate implementation of systems and procedures to enforce standards and incentivise good performance
  • Cultural and contextual challenges in widely differing regions of the world

Wilson and co-author Judy Kuszewski (independent) say these challenges can be overcome with action in seven areas, such as ensuring investment in the capacity of local contractors to meet environmental and social standards; including in contracts more robust incentives for responsible practice; and improving accountability, monitoring and oversight.

“The responsibility for the social and environmental performance of the industry lies not only with large international corporations and their contractors,” says Kuszewski. “Governments also have a responsibility to deliver good levels of development and investment in communities, to uphold human rights, and determine acceptable environmental performance.”

“Civil society has an important role to play in providing independent oversight,” adds Kuszewski. "It is our hope that this report can help catalyse further research and collaboration across these diverse players to improve outcomes in the future.”

This report was co-funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD).-

Pakistan Peace Coalition warns a modest natural disaster impacting country's nuclear plants could eliminate entire cities and life systems  

16 Maart 2011 10:55:18 nm

Pakistan Peace Coalition warns a modest natural disaster impacting country's nuclear plants could eliminate entire cities and life systems
 
The Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) reiterates its stand on the dangers of nuclear technology in the backdrop of the recent catastrophe in Japan, which has highlighted the potential hazards of nuclear power in a dramatic way. The description of nuclear power as reliable, secure, and a source of unbeatable energy has turned out to be a myth. Japan unmasks nuclear energy for what it is: an irresponsible, expensive and unnecessary high-risk technology.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 the PPC stressed that the post-earthquake and tsunami nuclear disaster in Japan is a strong wake-up call for the enthusiasts of nuclear power all over the world, and especially for those in the developing countries who are completely sold out to the charms of nuclear technology.
Japan is among most advanced countries, which manufacture and export nuclear power reactors, its tragedy illustrates how easily things can get out of hand, leading to catastrophic accidents.
Severe nuclear explosions have now happened in the most technologically advanced countries -- USA, Soviet Union, and now Japan -- showing that even the most robustly built nuclear power plants are susceptible to completely unforeseen elements, including human errors.
Japan’s tragedy must be honoured genuinely. Countries like Pakistan should meet their energy needs from the abundantly available renewable resources rather than fall for flashy but life-threatening technologies of mass destruction. Economists need to rethink their obsession with high energy-high growth - in the blink of an eye all social progress is eliminated.
Pakistan’s own nuclear power plants are situated in risky geographical locations. The aged Karachi nuclear power plant on the coast is as much susceptible to the catastrophic effects of a tsunami from the Arabian Sea as the Japanese reactors were, with much more serious consequences than in Japan because of the proximity of dense population. It’s not just that the poor of Karachi will be wiped out, but the entire city will be contaminated from the coastal winds blowing inland. Hyderabad and Thatta will not be spared either.
The two reactors in Chashma are known to be sitting on top of a number of criss-crossing tectonic plates. An earthquake of modest intensity originating from its vicinity can easily lead to several subsystems of the reactors failing to work, leading to catastrophic consequences. It has been estimated that a Chernobyl-like accident at the two reactors will adversely impact human health, food chain and water tables over a vast inhabited area of Punjab, extending to other provinces and even to neighbouring countries. All crops, livestock and even fisheries will be poisoned for hundreds of years.
We demand the dismantling of all nuclear reactors everywhere. International donors do no favour in extending aid for nuclear energy either. Grateful as Pakistan is to Chinese aid, we believe that additional reactors must not be built.
Armed forces of India and Pakistan have become a threat to all South Asia with their nuclear weapons. Dismantling reactors is a necessary step to eliminating threats of mass destruction.
PPC believes that if predatory elites reduce over-consumption of energy and development maximise labour use, there is no hurdle to affordable, ecologically sustainable, solar energy for life and livelihoods of the peoples of South Asia.

Climate change study provides greenhouse-gas emissions for 100 cities in 33 nations 

25 Januarie 2011 06:30:06

Climate change study provides greenhouse-gas emissions for 100 cities in 33 nations

Asks ‘whose greenhouse gas is it anyway?’ and urges a broader look at cities and climate change

ISLAMABAD, January 25, 2011: Policymakers need to take a fresh look at the differences between greenhouse gas emissions from different cities to identify new opportunities to mitigate climate change, says a forthcoming study in the peer-reviewed journal ‘Environment and Urbanisation’ published by Sage Publications and the International Institute for Environment and Development.

The study provides greenhouse gas emissions for over 100 cities in 33 countries and suggests policy tools that city governments can use to take action on climate change.

“Cities worldwide are blamed for most greenhouse gas emissions but many cities have very low emissions, as do many city dwellers in even the most industrialised countries,” says lead author Daniel Hoornweg, lead urban specialist on Cities and Climate Change at the World Bank.

“Differences in production and consumption patterns between cities and citizens mean that it is not helpful to attribute emissions to cities as a whole. Policymakers need a better understanding of the sources of emissions if they are to develop real solutions.”

Hoornweg and colleagues showed that emissions per person per year vary from 15-30 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in some cities in industrialised countries to less than half a tonne per person per year in various cities in South Asia.

But there is also great variation within countries and even within cities:

In the United States, the emissions per person in Denver are double those of people in New York, which has a greater population density and much lower reliance on private vehicles for commuting.

In Toronto, residential emissions per person in a dense, inner city neighbourhood with a high quality public transport system are just 1.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared to 13 tonnes in a sprawling distant suburb.

And there are some surprising differences between cities in different parts of the world:

* Many European cities have less than half the emissions per person of many cities in North America

* Some successful and wealthy cities in Brazil have lower emissions per person than poorer cities in Asia and Africa

* Emissions per person in London are lower than those in Cape Town, South Africa

The paper shows that emissions vary greatly depending on whether they are calculated according to what a city (or a citizen) produces or instead what they consume.

“Lifestyles and consumption patterns are key drivers of greenhouse gas emissions in emissions in far off cities, as in the case of Western consumer demand for Chinese goods,” says Hoornweg. “From the production perspective Shanghai has high emissions but from the consumption perspective its emissions are much lower.”

Equally, a wealthy city where many inhabitants have a high-consumption lifestyle can have low per capita emissions from a production perspective, but very high emissions from a consumption perspective.

“This paper reminds us that it is the world’s wealthiest cities and their wealthiest inhabitants that cause unsustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions, not cities in general,” says Dr David Satterthwaite, who is the editor of ‘Environment and Urbanisation’ and a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development.

“Most cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America have low emissions per person. The challenge for them is to keep these emissions low even as their wealth grows.”

Need stressed for continuing assistance for flood survivors 

25 Januarie 2011 12:54:20

Need stressed for continuing assistance for flood survivors

Pakistan remains in need of humanitarian and early recovery assistance as a result of the devastation wrought by last year’s massive floods, the United Nations special envoy for the country said.

“Providing early recovery and reconstruction assistance in this phase is very complex, and a lot of work still needs to be done,” Rauf Engin Soysal, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Assistance to Pakistan, said at the end of a two-day visit to the southern Sindh province, where more than seven million people were affected by the floods.

Soysal said he was pleased to see the humanitarian community continuing its work to assist those who remain in need six months since the floods first struck the South Asian country.

“In close cooperation with the federal, provincial and district authorities, the United Nations and non-governmental organisations are providing emergency relief as well as early recovery assistance, which is urgently needed for the long-term recovery of the country,” he said after visiting the districts of Larkana and Sukkur in Sindh.

Accompanied by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan, Timo Pakkala, and the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the country, Manuel Bessler, Soysal met with provincial government officials and district coordination officers, and had separate meetings with Sindh’s Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, and Governor Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan.

Their discussions focused on how to strengthen the capacity of the Pakistani authorities to cope with disasters in the future, as well as the complexity of the current humanitarian situation in Sindh, where everything from emergency relief to early recovery and reconstruction is high in demand.

Currently, around two million people are receiving monthly food assistance rations in Sindh and hundreds of thousands of families have been provided with emergency shelter to bridge the gap between temporary and permanent housing.

“Even though more than 1.4 million people have returned to their homes in the province, many of them have not been able to move into their houses. Numerous buildings are still flooded or too unstable to live in, and the affected families continue to be in need of food, tents and plastic sheets,” said Soysal.

In addition to shelter, thousands of farmers whose crops were destroyed are also in need of longer-term assistance.

“In Sindh alone, 2.5 million acres of crops were destroyed by the floods, and it will take years for the land to recover. Assistance in agriculture is also important for long-term food security,” Mr. Soysal said.

In response to the flood emergency, the UN, its partners and the Government of Pakistan requested $1.96 billion to fund relief and recovery efforts. So far, 56.1 per cent or $1.1 billion of the amount sought has been received.

Record-setting 2010 highlights global warming trend 

25 Januarie 2011 12:52:58

Record-setting 2010 highlights global warming trend

The year 2010 ranked as the warmest on record -- together with 2005 and 1998 -- according to the United Nations World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which added that last year also witnessed a large number of extreme weather events, including the devastating floods in Pakistan and the heat wave in Russia.

In 2010, the global average temperature was 0.53 degrees Celsius (0.95 degrees Fahrenheit) above the mean for the period from 1961 to 1990, the reference period for the Geneva-based WMO.

In addition, Arctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record, with an average monthly extent of 12 million square kilometres, 1.35 million square kilometres below the 1979-2000 average for December.

“The 2010 data confirm the Earth’s significant long-term warming trend,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998.”

WMO stated that 2010 was an “exceptionally warm” year over much of Africa and southern and western Asia, and in Greenland and Arctic Canada, with many parts of these regions having their hottest years on record. The month of December was exceptionally warm in eastern Canada and Greenland.

Meanwhile, it was “abnormally cold” through large parts of northern and western Europe, with monthly average temperatures as much as 10 degrees Celsius below normal at some locations in Norway and Sweden. Many places in Scandinavia had their coldest December on record.

December in Central England was the coldest since 1890, and it was colder than average in large parts of Russia and in the eastern United States.

Last year was also marked by a large number of extreme weather events, WMO noted, including the heat wave in Russia and the monsoonal floods that affected 20 million people in Pakistan.

The agency also highlighted a number of major weather events in late 2010 and early 2011, including the January floods that have affected more than 800,000 people in Sri Lanka, the flash floods that have resulted in over 700 deaths near the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, and the severe flooding in eastern Australia which is expected to be the most costly natural disaster in that country’s history.

The information presented by WMO is compiled with input from the agency’s 189 member States, and is based on climate data from networks of land-based weather and climate stations, ships and buoys, as well as satellites.

Better climate change data vital for financial institutions 

16 Januarie 2011 11:23:51

Better climate change data vital for financial institutions

Insurers and lenders expect risks of extreme weather conditions to increase in the future

With insurers, lenders, asset managers and their customers increasingly affected by the impacts of climate change -- and the risks likely to grow in the future -- better access to relevant data is vital for the world's financial institutions, according to a United Nations-backed study.

For the sector to manage climatic risks affecting their business portfolios and give the best possible advice to their customers, financial institutions need access to applied information such as climate change predictions, modelling, analysis, and interpretation, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said of Advancing adaptation through climate information services -- Results of a global survey on the information requirements of the financial sector, the international survey of more than 60 institutions, which it compiled in cooperation with the Sustainable Business Institute of Germany.

“To date the key role that financial institutions and other private sector decision-makers can play in increasing the climate resilience of economies and societies has been neglected at best,” the head of the UNEP Finance Initiative, Paul Clements-Hunt, said. “The rapid reduction in greenhouse gases and the adaptation to the unavoidable effects of global warming need to go hand-in-hand if we are to cope with the climate challenge. This study is a first step in identifying what is needed so that financial institutions can start playing their important role in accelerating the shift to climate-resilient economies,” he added.

Climate change forecasts and predictions of the resulting economic impacts will never be perfect and will inevitably feature some element of uncertainty, but the more information and expertise regarding climate change and its uncertainties that is available to financial institutions, the better these risks can be calculated, UNEP said in a press release. This will enable insurers, re-insurers, lenders, and asset managers to price and absorb these risks more effectively.

“This can be crucial not only to the performance of individual businesses and financial institutions, but to the entire economic tissue of communities affected by climate change and the social well-being it underpins,” it added.

“This study confirms that what private sector institutions need in order to become real 'adaptation catalysts' is objective and reliable information,” said Mark Fulton, managing director at Deutsche Bank Climate Advisors and Co-Chair of the UNEP Finance Initiative’s Climate Change Working Group.

“We need to work towards enhancing the access of private sector decision makers to climate information as well as, most importantly, improving the reliability and accuracy of our climate models and forecasts,” Fulton added.

The study, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, noted that such information gaps can be closed by continued research towards more reliable climate modelling and forecasting, as well as enhanced translation of scientific knowledge and existing information into user-friendly information. Such efforts are likely to require more intensive collaboration between users and suppliers, public and private actors, scientists and decision makers.

The UNEP Finance Initiative is a global partnership between UNEP and the financial sector, in which over 190 institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers, work with UNEP to understand the impacts of environmental and social considerations on financial performance.

First anniversary of Attabad landslide today (4 January) 

04 Januarie 2011 12:37:54

First anniversary of Attabad landslide today (4 January)

 

Freeze doubles miseries of Attabad landslide affectees

By Ghulam Rehman

Recent cold wave and freeze in parts of Gilgit Baltistan doubled the miseries of the affectees of the Attabad landslide that divided people a part due to slippage of portion of mountain that created a lake which rendered thousands of people internally displaced.

January 04, 2010 will be known as the worst destructive day in the history of Gilgit-Baltistan as on this day a huge part of a mountain slipped off burring Attabad village with 20 of its inhabitants and their cattle, houses, orchards and agricultural lands. The massive landslide completely blocked the Hunza River at Attabad and damaged three kilometers of the Karakoram Highway, which had cut off the 25,000 population upper Hunza, Gojal valley from rest of the country.

Though the government had declared the area as calamity hit but still the affectees are awaiting the benefits under this decree. They are living in tents without proper shelters and are at risk of freeze and cold weather conditions.

Mr Naik Alam, president of the IDPs committee from Hunza told INFN that over 1200 internally displace people (IDPs) of Attabad are temporarily houses in three government and private school buildings in Altil in the Hunza valley without heating and sufficient living arrangements. “Some NGOs are providing them food and cloths whereas they do not see any tangible support from the government,” he added.

Mercury in Hunza valley is down to minus 15 degrees and it has added to the miseries of the IDPs who urgently need proper winterized shelters.

“The government should urgently intervene to save thousands of people from cold and freeze as they are at risk of cold related diseases while living in tents. Children and elderly people are at higher risk,” said Mr Alam.

The Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani in his visit to the affected area had promised to waive off fees of students from the Attabad area but this promise like others did not materialize yet and students are facing financial constraints and can not pay their education fees.

“Due to un-fulfillment of the promise of the Prime Minister, I have to borrow Rs 40,000 to pay my semester’s fee”, said Mr. Alamgir, a student from Attabad now studying at a private university in Islamabad. “My father is a potato grower and bears expenses of four of us including three of my siblings. Due to landslide and road closure, this year he could not grow and sell potato crop that increased our worries,” he added.

Lack of medical facilities is another problem for the affectees in the region, earlier the government and some of the NGOs sent their medical mobile teams to the valley, they gave some treatments to the sick inhabitants but soon they left the valley reasons best known to them. Lack of medical facilities, however, caused health problems for the people.

“Because of unavailability of medical treatment, at least four persons died of various diseases,” said Mr. Sher Ullah, another student of the university. Though there is a civil hospital with a capacity of ten beds in Gulmit tehsil headquarters, but there is no medical doctors permanently posted there.

The people trapped in the Valley have to come out for medical or other reasons to other parts of the country using boats that are hardly fit to travel in and take hours to cover distance from Attabad spillways to other side of the lake.

“My mother was scheduled to come to Rawalpindi for her medical checkup along with my elder brother, but they could not reach as they are still waiting to get seats on boat for the last two weeks,” said Mr. Muzamil Khan, a resident of Attabad, now in Rawalpindi. Mr Muzamil demanded that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) should restart helicopter service from Gojal to Aliabad to airlift the emergency patients.

“There is shortage of edible items in the camps at Altit and Karimabad,” complained a woman, saying, “we have nothing left, our fields, cattle, houses with all of our belongings, everything has gone, we cannot buy foods and cloths from the market, What will we do now?” she questioned emotionally.

The speaker and interim Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan, Mr Wazir Baig told INFN that the federal government has approved Rs.315 million for rehabilitation of about 500 families of Attabad, Ayieenabad, Shishkat and Gulmit villages. He farther said that the affectees should show patience as the government would facilitate every affected family.

When asked about fees of the students not being paid by the government, the governor said: “The total cost of the fees of the affected students for one year have crossed Rs. 70 million, therefore we have decided to pay fees for 6 months instead of one year,” said Mr Baig.

Dwindling funding could leave flood survivors without aid 

26 Desember 2010 12:49:00 nm

Dwindling funding could leave flood survivors without aid

Even as Pakistanis displaced by the devastating floods that hit their country this year continue streaming back to their homes, many of them destroyed by the deluge, the United Nations and its partners have warned that humanitarian needs remain enormous amid dwindling resources.

“Under-funding remains a challenge,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update, warning that with the food cluster facing a $237 million shortfall, food aid could run out next month, unless further contributions are received.

The shelter cluster has reported that emergency shelter materials have been distributed to 47 per cent of the estimated number of people whose homes were damaged or destroyed, but agencies will be unable to provide early recovery shelter to an estimated 800,000 homeless households.

In Sindh, people have continued to return to their villages as the flood waters recede and access improves, but some areas remain under water. Of the 4,800 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) identified in October, 325 are still open, accommodating roughly 130,000 people. There are, however, newly established camps or secondary displacement sites that have sprung up in areas of return, according to OCHA.

In Balochistan province, receding water has enabled people to move out of camps in several districts, but more than 4,300 families remain in camps.

With temperatures continuing to fall rapidly across the country, thousands of flood-affected households remain in need of “winterised” shelter and medical aid.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, the return of those displaced by conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) continues, but an estimated 170,000 families are unable to go back to FATA because of insecurity.

More than half a million vulnerable farming families affected by floods in KPK, Punjab and Balochistan have received seeds and fertilizers, OCHA said.

Floods that hit Pakistan following the onset on the monsoon rainfall in late July created one of the largest humanitarian crises the UN and its humanitarian partners have ever responded to.

The disaster claimed some 2,000 lives and left over 20 million others homeless and at risk of malnutrition and diseases. Millions lost livelihoods as flood waters swamped villages, towns and crops from north to south, damaging or destroying nearly 1.9 million homes.

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