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Research exposes flaws in Flood Damages and Needs Assessment 

11 November 2010 11:50:42 nm

Research exposes flaws in Flood Damages and Needs Assessment

By: Sohail Rashid

ISLAMABAD November 11, 2010: An independent research study conducted by a group of concerned civil society organisations exposed major flaws in Flood Damages and Needs Assessment (FDNA) conducted by World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

This was revealed during a civil society consultation on FDNA organised by Rural Development Policy Institute (RDPI) Islamabad under the umbrella of Pakistan Debt Cancellation Campaign (PDCC).

Preliminary findings of study indicate secrecy and lack of information disclosure on part of World Bank and ADB compound issues of authenticity of FDNA. The survey teams employed by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) were not trained proper. Even the concerned line departments were not aware of the whole process which was shut to most of the stake holders. This makes the FDNA far from all encompassing and is marred repeatedly by lack of coordination and clarity among the assessment teams and line departments.

There are issues of quality and completeness. 88% of the communities told that the assessment teams did not assess the damage caused to the housing structures. 91% said the visiting teams did not inquire about loss of live stock occurred at household level. 83% households told that the assessment teams just stayed at a particular point like village shop etc and collected the information.

Rest of the people told that the teams stayed with some political or influential figure of the village only. 79% told that teams did not go into fields to assess the losses to crops and fields.

On the other hand, 2/3rd of the officials said that they have not been provided any training, orientation for the FDNA. 2/3rd expressed their inability providing a copy of

the assessment form, while rest of them said that they could provide it on later stage. More than half of the officials 52% claimed the assessment in their districts had been competed, rest said that it was in process. Of the 36 local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) interviewed in nine districts, more than half 56% expressed their ignorance about the FDNA.

The concerned civil society group composed of 28 organisations fear a hasty FDNA being undertaken by those who are also Pakistani major lenders will end up in proposing projects and strategies that will benefit their own interests instead of 20 million flood affectees.

The participants demanded on the government to go for a comprehensive damage need assessment by involving CSOs of affected communities and IFI’s FDNA and its process must be made public, presented and debated in the parliament and in all provincial assemblies.

The consultation was also aimed at mobilizing public opinion over the genuineness and validity of debt cancellation demands. The participants observed Pakistan’s existing foreign debt stands at 55 billion $ which is projected to increase to 73 billion $ by 2014. This year Pakistan will be required to pay 2.9 billion $ for servicing it’s foreign debts- an amount that is three times to Pakistan’s health budget and is double of 1.5 billion $ figure which USA has committed for this year to Pakistan under much talked about Kerry-Lugar Bill.

In a country where the economy has already suffered losses of more than 40 billion $ since 2001 owing to the menace of terrorism and where poverty and unemployment are rampant, the poor people of Pakistan can’t afford the additional burden of new loans and tough conditionality of structural adjustment programs being harshly imposed by IFI’s like IMF.

The members of the civil society stressed in their today’s meeting that what Pakistan actually needs at this time is a breathing space to have resources for reconstruction and rehabilitation and socio economic development. This is only possible through a favourable international response in shape of foreign debt cancellation so that the freed up resources could be directed to flood reconstruction and rehabilitation.