Mobile one-stop shops help recover lost IDs in Pakistan

 Flood victims in Pakistan wait outside a mobile one-stop shop.

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.

Highlights

  • 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.

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