Gilgit Baltistan, May 02, 2019 (PPI-OT): The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) inaugurated a state-of-the-art central storage facility in Gilgit Baltistan, which will be used to store and expedite humanitarian relief stocks during emergencies, ensuring affected populations receive assistance faster.
“This is the seventh facility built in Pakistan as part of a strategic network of storage facilities to further enable the government and its humanitarian partners respond faster when disasters strike,” said Finbarr Curran, Representative and Country Director WFP Pakistan.
“Since 2013, the Humanitarian Response Facility (HRF) network has been enabling Provincial Disaster Management Authorities prepare for and respond to emergencies, including the 2013 floods emergency in Punjab and Sindh, the earthquake in Baluchistan and earthquake and floods in Chitral,” he added.
The other six facilities are located in Muzaffargarh, Quetta, Lahore, Hyderabad, Peshawar and Sukkur. An eighth facility is planned in Azad Jammu and Kashmir but has yet to begin construction due to lack of funds. WFP is engaging partners and looks forward to generous contributions from donor nations to initiate the work.
“WFP’s newly constructed Humanitarian Response Facility will increase the emergency and disaster response capacity of both government and humanitarian responders in Pakistan,” said Hafiz-U-Rehman, Chief Minister for Gilgit Baltistan.
“This facility will play a pivotal role in rapid and coordinated responses to future emergencies in Gilgit and surrounding areas,” he added.
WFP constructed the Humanitarian Response Facility (HRF) in close collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Management Authorities (GBDMA). It was built with generous support from the governments of the Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, and the United States of America (USAID), including CDN$2.2 million (US$1.7 million) from Canada alone. The total covered storage capacity is 960 metric tons, two 15x32meter warehouse units and an open storage space of up to 10,000 metric tonnes.
Speaking on the occasion, the Canada’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, H.E. Wendy Gilmour said that “Canada has a special relationship with Gilgit-Baltistan because of our long-term cooperation with the Aga Khan Development Network, dating back to 1981. We are very concerned about the impacts of Climate Change in this fragile region. Through this facility we are pleased to support adaptation efforts for the vulnerable populations of GB and help them cope with negative impacts of climate change”.
The government of Pakistan, which is responsible for the management and staffing of the facilities, generously provided the land on which they are built. For its part, WFP carries out training programmes on warehouse and facility management, humanitarian supply chain and emergency response.
The event was also attended by the honorable Chief Minister, Mr. Hafiz-U-Rehman; the honorable Governor, Mr. Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon; Director General GBDMA, Farid Ahmad; Force Commander Force Command Northern Areas (FCNA), Maj. Gen. Ehsan Mehmood Khan, Australia’s High Commissioner, H.E. Ms. Margaret Adamson; the Ambassador of Italy, H.E. Mr. Stefano Pontecorvo, representatives from NDMA, government departments, civil society and media.
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