- The World Bank has approved a $300 million loan to help Pakistan address the issues of climate change, health emergency, and manage solid waste to reduce flooding chances in the country’s financial capital Karachi, a media report said on Thursday.
The Washington-based lender approved $200 million for the Sindh Resilience project and USD 100 million for the Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency project, citing an official statement issued by the bank’s local office.
The project will also aid to improve irrigation infrastructure to protect vulnerable communities living in rural areas, which will directly benefit 750,000 citizens in drought-prone areas of the Khirthar range and the Nagarparkar region in the Tharparkar district.
“Building resilience to natural disasters and health emergencies is an important and urgent agenda in Pakistan, that will help save lives and protect the economy,” said Nagy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “The debilitating impact of recent floods in Karachi, droughts and extreme rainfall in Sindh, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic, make it imperative that risk reduction investments strengthen multi-sectoral dialogue and coordination at the city, provincial, and national levels to ensure protections for vulnerable communities and fight the spread of disease.”
“The establishment of Sindh Emergency Service will greatly enhance the government’s responsiveness to natural disasters and emergencies, particularly in a megacity like Karachi where many lives are lost due to insufficient emergency medical services,” said Ahsan Tehsin, Task Team Leader for the Sindh Resilience Project. “The project will also improve water security for rural communities that suffer from chronic malnutrition and poverty and are forced to migrate due to water insecurity.”
The US$100 million Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project (SWEEP) will improve solid waste management services in Karachi – Pakistan’s largest city of more than 16 million people – and upgrade critical solid waste infrastructure to reduce urban flooding and public health risks. The project focuses on emergency waste removal to restore storm water drainage capacity before the next monsoon season, especially in vulnerable communities around drainage and waste collection sites. The project will improve living conditions for at least half a million residents of Karachi and increase protections for workers by introducing safety protocols that improve labor conditions. SWEEP also addresses deficiencies in existing solid waste infrastructure by constructing and upgrading critical infrastructures, such as collection, transfer, and disposal facilities.
“Engaging citizens and community members, including informal workers, is essential for sustainable and safer waste management solutions,” said Suhaib Rasheed, Task Team Leader for the Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project. “Equally important is a focus on financial sustainability, which will require continued efforts to develop private sector partnerships and sustainable revenue streams to offset the costs of delivering these vital services.”