Mobile one-stop shops help recover lost IDs in Pakistan
Mobile one-stop shops offering free legal services have travelled across some of the most remote but accessible flood-hit areas and, so far, helped 3,850 people reclaim identity papers and other essential documents washed away during the floods.
Additionally, twenty units run by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have helped vulnerable communities, including women and Afghan refugees in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Paktunkhwa to prepare paperwork to be presented at government offices for the reissuing of lost documents.
- The 2010 floods in Pakistan damaged or destroyed 1.9 million houses.
- As part of its US$120m early recovery programme, UNDP is helping Pakistan's flood victims to recover essential legal documents.
- UNDP-run centers are providing flood victims, including women, with National Identity Cards, which many women have never possessed.
Among the most essential papers are birth, death and marriage certificates, property records, and education certificates. Moreover, Government-issued identity cards act as verification for any claim for flood-related assistance.
“People are rebuilding their lives from scratch and these basic ID documents give them a status that allows them to not only claim and acquire compensation in a timely manner but to have access to basic services,” said Jean-Luc Stalon, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Pakistan.
In the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa district of Nowshera, an estimated 55 to 60 percent have lost important documents.
“The only home I knew is gone," says Amir Khan, 50. "If I don’t get my identity documents, I may not be able to register for the housing damage compensation provided by the government.”
National Identity Cards are necessary to begin the process of claiming assistance because they verify information about applicants, which helps national authorities and agencies to determine the level and type of assistance needed - cash payments or relief items - and how to deliver it.
As Pakistan’s government is working to restore its own systems and to replace lost documentation, the protection centres help to avoid gaps which could otherwise create serious legal, social, and economic difficulties for flood survivors.
A recent joint-needs assessment by the Government, the United Nations (UN) and civil society organizations stressed that the restoration of legal records is critical in the affected communities to prevent further social marginalization and distress.
Background: Pakistan floods and UNDP-EU partnership
Background Pakistan Floods
In July 2010, heavy monsoon rains in the northern part of Pakistan, gradually spreading south, caused almost one fifth of the country to become flooded. The floods affected over 18 million people and caused widespread displacement and destruction of resources including crops, housing, buildings, roads and irrigation infrastructure. The situation was made worse by new floodings in 2011 and 2012.
UNDP Early Recovery Programme
In October 2010, UNDP launched an Early Recovery Programme, targeting 29 flood-affected districts. The programme mobilized USD 85 million from several donors, out of which the EU, through its Instrument for Stability, provided USD 20 million in March 2011. The programme ended in March 2013.
Some Programme Results
The programme supported about 5.5 million people in livelihoods restoration, community rehabilitation and resilience building in about 4000 villages across the 29 districts.
Temporary employment benefitted 1.3 million people through cash-for-work schemes to rehabilitate community-based infrastructure (roads, bridges, culverts, irrigation canals).
The formation of over 10,000 community organizations was supported, and their members trained in disaster risk management and the establishment of community-based early warning systems and risk mitigation plans.
60 micro-hydro power units were restored, and 2,200 biogas plants were established to provide communities with access to alternate energy. The programme also provided solar water pumps, street lights and heaters to the affected communities.