A-PM-CC Aslam launches PCUSRP

By Staff Reporter
Tuesday – May 12, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Considering the gravity of the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Pakistan particularly in the most vulnerable communities living in urban slums and informal settlements (Katchi Abadis), the advisor to the prime minister on climate change (A-PM-CC) Malik Amin Aslam, on Monday, launched a pilot phase ‘Pakistan COVID-19 urban slums response programme’ (PCUSRP) to protect urban slum residents from the deadly coronavirus.

According to an official statement, “The pilot initiative aims to prevent spread of COVID-19 in urban slums as well as empowering local communities to mitigate its economic impact,” he told during his keynote address to the launching ceremony.

He also thanked united nations (UN) human settlement programme (UN-Habitat) and other development partners for providing all-out support regarding launch of the initiative.

The pilot phase of the initiative is being implemented, from Monday, in Dhok Hassu and Dhok Mangtal slum areas of the bustling city of Rawalpindi.

The A-PM-CC Aslam highlighted that the living conditions in the slums are very unhealthy and that 40 percent of people living in urban slums and katchi abadi’s reside in one room and another 40 percent in two rooms and that one toilet facility is used by 7-10 persons.

He lauded UN-Habitat and the collaborating partners for the timely intervention in the slum areas and also appreciated the objectives of the project and emphasised that besides prevention measures towards COVID-19 the proposed interventions will also create income generating opportunities.

A-PM-CC Aslam also suggested that in addition to the stitching of masks and gloves by the women in the community, if they also stitch cloth bags, the ministry can buy back from them to create more employment opportunities.

Meanwhile, he emphasised that based on the interventions and the lessons learnt a full-scale project will be developed with the climate change (CC) ministry in collaboration with partners.

The ministry will raise funding through the national disaster risk management fund (NDRMF) of the government of Pakistan (GoP) and other donor agencies for expanding the programme countrywide for mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 in urban slums.

It is pertinent to mention here that the UN-Habitat executive director had launched the COVID-19 response plan and a campaign on April 23, 2020, in 64 countries to contain the continuing spread of the COVID-19 crisis that threatens the most vulnerable communities, particularly living in slums and informal settlements including refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and migrants.

Today Pakistan joins the other lead countries by launching PCUSRP targeting the world’s most vulnerable communities.

He explained that the programme includes innovative tools such as the creation of virtual community coordination platform, information technology (IT) platform, introduction of intensive disinfectant sprays in the hotspots, streets and markets, frequent checking of body temperature through laser guns, installation of hand-washing stations, distribution of sanitisers, masks and gloves, introduction of wash facilities and arrangements for environmentally safe collection and disposal of solid liquid and hazardous wastes.

The project will also create employment opportunities by engaging the local community to produce masks and gloves and other related activities.

UN Habitat will seek cooperation from the interested federal and provincial governments, UN agencies and donors to join hands in implementing the PCUSRP at the country level.