HI runs projects in Pakistan to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on the most vulnerable groups of people and supports refugee and displaced populations.
Safe play areas for displaced children, both disabled and non-disabled. They allow them to express themselves on the trauma they have experienced. | © L. Chancenotte / HI
HI is working with the population of Sindh province, where there is a high risk of flooding, to identify solutions to mitigate the risks and consequences of climate-related disasters. Communities are encouraged to perform their own natural disaster risk evaluations and implement evacuation plans (that include people with disabilities) and preventive measures (prevention, alert systems, food stockpiling). In developing this project, HI encourages the active participation of people with disabilities of all kinds (physical, sensory, isolated and elderly people etc.) and seeks to build solidarity between the different communities.
Since 2016, HI leads the Growing Together project, in partnership with the IKEA foundation. This project aims at creating child-friendly spaces in the refugee camps – these spaces will contribute to the integration of all children, with a focus on children with disabilities. Thanks to educational games, artistic activities and sports, HI supports their social and emotional development and their self-esteem as well as social cohesion among children.
In 2017, a project focusing on physical rehabilitation for persons with disabilities and psychosocial support for vulnerable persons was launched in the federally administered tribal areas.
Pakistan is increasingly and regularly hit by natural disasters. In 2005, an earthquake killed more than 70,000 people and displaced 3 million others from their homes. In 2010, unprecedented flooding affected more than 20 million people. Similar disasters occur every year, although on a smaller scale. In 2014, nearly 3,500 villages were destroyed, affecting some 2 million people.
Since 2012, the country has experienced massive military operations against terrorism, predominantly in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), resulting in the displacement of over 1.6 million people, mainly into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province. Since the Government’s announcement of FATA being under the control of Pakistan Military there has been a mass return of temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) from KP to FATA in 2016 and 2017.
Despite the fact that Pakistan has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (signed in 2008, ratified in 2011), there is very little data that utilizes either the census or surveys to determine the scope of disability in Pakistan, and there is very limited Government response towards supporting persons with disabilities.