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Programme launched water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to IDPs

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Environment together with partner agencies including UNICEF, RSPN, WSP, Water Aid and Plan International has launched “TAHAFUZ – Together in Emergency for Health, Family and Environment” initiative to reach out to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) emergency needs in water, sanitation and hygiene. This was announced by the Secretary Ministry of Environment Kamran Lashari while addressing a Press Conference here today to launch the programme. Representatives of the partner agencies were also present on the occasion.

Secretary Environment said that the Minister for Environment Hammed Ullah Jan Afridi has taken the initiative to help out our brethrens currently confronted with difficult situations. Developed on his direction the TAHAFUZ is an integrated approach encompassing access to safe drinking water, safe disposal of solid waste, safe defecation practices and improved hygiene conditions for the families to minimize the risk of water and sanitation related disease outbreak.

TAHAFUZ also seeks to create local employment opportunities through cash for work for IDPs. He said that the Minister for Environment has sent a team of senior officers to assess the need so as that more assistance for this programme may be sought the partner agencies for helping out the IDPs. He said that the Minister would be visiting the IDPs camps on Monday formally begin the programme in the IDPs camps.

Lashari said that TAHAFUZ model is designed to reach out to all IDPs and service providers by dissemination of basic minimal standards of water, sanitation and hygiene services as per international standards and national sanitation policy of Government of Pakistan. The launch of the first phase of the TAHAFUZ initiative will initially cater to the emergency needs of 5000 IDPs in the coming week, at an estimated cost of Pak Rs. 4 million. He said that we would extend this programme with the assistance of the partners including the development agencies and corporate sector. He said that Ministry of Environment has the mandate for provision of sanitation and hygiene facilities that is why this area has been selected.

He said that through development of further partnerships, TAHAFUZ can be replicated to reach out to all IDPs in Frontier Province . This initiative focuses both on the service provision and awareness raising amongst IDPs in water and sanitation.

Secretary Environment also announced that all officers/officials of the Ministry have donated one day salary to help out the IDPs. He said that the Ministry encourages individuals, organizations, corporate sector and others to join hands with TAHAFUZ through generous contributions in cash or kind. Contributions can be deposited in Ministry of Environment’s Account No. 6494-2, in National Bank of Pakistan, melody Branch, Islamabad.

Meanwhile Acting President, Mr. Farooq H. Naek has called upon the world community to extend its full support to Pakistan for rehabilitation of the IDPs from Swat, Buner, Malakand Division etc. to avoid a colossal human tragedy. ‘At present we are the biggest host of refugees in the world’, he observed.

He was talking to Mr. Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who called on him at the Parliament House this evening. The Minister for SAFRON was also present on the occasion.

The Acting President said wounds may be healed with the passage of time but the ‘scars on mind and soul’ which cannot be seen, would take a pretty long time to disappear. The women and children, he said are especially vulnerable and need to be kept in safe houses to minimize the impact of the trauma. The spontaneous upsurge of sympathy and support being witnessed across the length and breadth of the country has to be translated in to concrete action, he added.

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