Over the past 10 years, the country has faced several major disasters: the 2005 earthquake in Azad Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) crisis of 2009 and the major floods of 2010, 2011 and 2012. In all these cases, RSPN/RSPs, responded with emergency relief and early recovery support. RSPN’s response to these major disasters has included distribution of food, non-food items, services in water, sanitation and health, livestock, emergency shelters, one room shelters and agricultural inputs. Given that natural disasters are likely to increase in the future, RSPN is helping communities be better prepared to deal with them, through a USAID funded Community Based Disaster Management Project in four high risk districts of the Sindh province.
Given the scale of presence which RSPN and its member Rural Support Programmes have, it is only natural that they become the first major responders when natural and/or man-made disasters strike.
In 2011, RSPN partnered with the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET) to implement a research project on the 2010 Indus floods. The research focused on the factors contributing in recovery and resilience of communities to natural disasters such as floods.
Sindh Rural Support Organization (SRSO) is designated to work in 79 out of 424 Union Councils in total and approximately, 2,17000 households live in these 79 Union Councils which are directly or indirectly affected by flood. According to the SRSO’s preliminary rapid assessment report the flood, that occurred on 7th August 2010 affected districts situated at both banks of River Indus devastating more than 11000 villages while displacing more than 2,13000 households along with 1,065,000 livestock. The next day, on 8th August 2010, SRSO launched flood-relief operation. On receiving support from the government and other donor agencies, SRSO began the process of rehabilitation. It provided cooked food to the displaced people; fodder & vaccination for livestock and safe drinking water through tankers.
These activities were complemented by other donor activities such as distribution of dry rations, installation of hand pumps, temporary latrines, temporary shelters, and health and hygiene awareness sessions. It has also established an emergency cell which is working since declaration of emergency along with Village Rehabilitation Program (VRP) unit. Moreover, for sustainable long term rehabilitation, significant funding, planning and combined efforts of both the villagers and SRSO personals are required. It is believed that the power of social mobilization and capacity-building can play a dynamic role in changing the landscape, thus fostering dynamic changes in the socioeconomic conditions once the number of organized household increases.