Heavy monsoon rains in July 2010 caused unprecedented devastation in Pakistan – nearly one fifth of the country was flooded, affecting over 20 million people. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the catastrophic floods in Pakistan were one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters in recent times. In Sindh Province alone, the Sindh Government Provincial Disaster Management Authority reported that the floods destroyed more than 850,000 homes, affecting the lives of more than seven million people. In response to the floods, more than 4,000 camps were established in Sindh Province to host over 1.6 million displaced people.
With funding from USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), UNOPS is assisting early recovery efforts in Sindh Province by building approximately 4,000 one-room shelters in the worst affected areas in Dadu District. These shelters are designed to provide a more resilient and sustainable solution than the current emergency camps and the original mud dwellings as displaced families begin to return to affected areas.
The project is providing three categories of assistance based on the beneficiary family's requirements. The categorization and prioritization of families has been performed in close consultation with the Sindh Government's Provincial Disaster Management Authority.
The first category is a one-room shelter, where materials and technical support are being provided to the beneficiary family to construct their own shelter. The second category is providing a completed shelter, including labour, to beneficiary families identified as 'vulnerable', for example where the heads of the household are female, elderly or have a disability. The final category is a residential repair package; this is being provided to those who sustained damage to less than 40 percent of their home.
Based on technical guidelines from the Pakistan Shelter Cluster and weather hazards of Sindh Province, UNOPS developed a customized 22.5 square metre shelter. The one-room shelters are designed for structural integrity and efficient use of resources. The shelters are designed and built in accordance with international standards and the latest disaster risk reduction techniques. The completed shelter can house a family of up to seven people, which is the average size of a household in Pakistan.
Shelter production and construction
UNOPS ensures that where possible, construction materials are purchased from local markets, stimulating the local economy and reducing transportation costs and times. UNOPS employs local artisans to help build the shelters and also provides training to local families in shelter construction. By using familiar materials and techniques, and by providing technical training, work is created and income is generated.
UNOPS recognizes the importance of involving local partners to ensure the successful implementation of projects. In Sindh Province, local organizations are being provided with intensive training to ensure project implementation and financial accountability measures are in line with UNOPS procedures. Engineers and shelter specialists receive instruction on building techniques, safe practices, monitoring and reporting formats. Those working on the ground learn techniques for community sensitization and how to perform needs assessments and data collection.
UNOPS in focus