Baby born amid Pakistan floods is named after UNDP supported programme

07 Oct 2010

image Anila Abass resting with baby Raha. Photo: UNDP

Islamabad – Grateful parents of a month-old boy in Pakistan have named their son Raha, the initials of a United Nations-supported programme to assist those seeking asylum and those who offer shelter to refugees in the country.

Emergency facilities, operated by the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas programme (RAHA), provided the ambulance and medical care to safely deliver baby Raha Khan on 8 September, amid the country’s worst floods in recorded history.

The five-year programme aims to promote peaceful coexistence between Afghan refugees and local communities through paid employment projects in the areas of agriculture and irrigation, road repairs, crop and livestock production, rehabilitation of health facilities and services, and access to safe drinking water.

The programme was launched in 2009 by the Government of Pakistan for the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. It is supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

As part of its floods response within RAHA, UNDP helped set up four free medical centres in flood-affected areas of Peshawar and Nowshera districts as well as performing outreach work  with district inhabitants about the availability of free local health facilities.

The floods have affected more than 20 million people, over 10 percent of Pakistan’s total population, and killed more than 1,800, with damage or destruction to nearly 1.9 million homes in an area of at least 160,000 square kilometres.

When Anila Abass went into labour on 7 September she had been living with her husband at a flood relief camp in the village of Yousafabad, Nowshera district. The nearest public and military hospitals had been closed due to heavy damage caused by flooding.

A neighbour in the relief camp referred the couple to the Mera Akora Khattak free medical centre established by RAHA in Yousafabad. Within 10 minutes of their call an ambulance arrived and Anila was taken immediately to the labour room under the care of a doctor and nurse.

“I am indebted to RAHA for their help and for saving the lives of my wife and child,” said Anila’s husband Khalid, who was delighted when the nurse gave him the news that his baby and wife were in good health. “May my and your RAHA live long!”

Contact Information

In Islamabad:
Ludmila Tiganu
Tel: +92 301 8540 364
ludmila.tiganu@undp.org  

In New York:
Sebastian Naidoo
Tel: +1 212 906 6202
sebastian.naidoo@undp.org

For more information on UNDP’s work in Pakistan,
please visit: http://undp.org.pk/