I was responsible for looking after one of the largest disaster programmes in the Maldives following the tsunami.
I was one of the members in the decision making body of Action Aid International of a 30 million pound Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction multi-country programme in Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Indonesia and Somaliland.
Immediately after tsunami, I went with UNDP teams, Oxfam, Red Cross and other disaster teams to conduct initial disaster assessments. It was a time consuming, trying process to assess the damage done by the tsunami and identify the needs of people.
No group of people, community or country wanted the same things. It was hectic, tiring and required extensive development to help the survivors.
I wonder why the PK Relief fund is deliberating and has announced it will be sending a there member team to Pakistan. They were careful to announce that they will not spend money from the PK Relief funds for the visit, but in same breath they said that they will raise funds for the visit to Pakistan.
This sounds same thing to me – they will be using the name of the PK Relief fund to raise funds, which is akin to spending PK Relief money. I think this is a waste of resources and energy as the money should be donated to the Government of Pakistan.
Providing disaster relief is a technical and difficult task, and requires experts to conduct a disaster assessment. The processes require conducting an assessment of the damage, identifying the needs of the people as well as the infrastructure.
It’s futile to think that a team who has no knowledge and understanding of the country, the extent of damage, the culture and the people can decided on what or where to donate.
The best experts will be the Government of Pakistan or the international parties who are already on the ground in Pakistan evaluating the situation of the floods, such as the UN, Pakistan Red Crescent, Pakistan Action Aid or others. Another possibility is through the Maldivian High Commission based in Pakistan – all these agencies are based in Pakistan and would have firsthand knowledge.
Maldives do not require a team from PK Relief Fund to go to Pakistan.
What PK Fund should plan is how to keep track of how the fund is being spent. Monitor and request whether the funding has reached to the neediest. PK fund can make the Government of Pakistan accountable through good governance and monitoring mechanisms.
Publish the information received from Government of Pakistan and international stakeholders, making it accessible to the citizens of the Maldives at regular intervals, after donating the funds.
I would advise the PK Relief not send a team to Pakistan and hand over the money to the Ambassador of Pakistan. I would also request a public outcry against this proposed action by the PK relief fund Committee, for contemplating such disastrous action on behalf of the Maldivians who donated the funds without expert knowledge of the issue.
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