Humanitarian needs increased in Pakistan in 2012 as the protracted complex humanitarian emergency persisted in the north-west, where approximately 416,000 more people were displaced from Khyber Agency, leaving a total of 758,000 people displaced at the end of 2012. Flooding occurred in the southern part of the country for the third consecutive year, affecting an estimated 4.8 million people, many for the third time in a row.
Chronic humanitarian challenges such as malnutrition remained unresolved, with malnutrition rates above internationally recognized emergency thresholds. At the same time, access constraints increased and humanitarian space shrank due to diminished safety and security of aid workers - in 52 incidents, 19 aid workers were killed in 2012, compared to an average of 12 killed each year from 2009 to 2011. Critical humanitarian programmes, in particular the polio vaccination campaign, were interrupted several times after a series of attacks. Bureaucratic restrictions, including delays in obtaining visas and the absence of renewal of MoUs between the Government and international NGOs also negatively affected the implementation of humanitarian programmes.
The Government - including the military - led in providing the assistance and relief effort. Its reluctance to launch a formal humanitarian appeal affected resource mobilization efforts for relief activities in flood- and conflict-affected areas. In response, humanitarian partners tried to mobilize resources through internal humanitarian operational plans rather than launching appeals and worked with the Government to develop the Principles of Partnership whereby response processes were streamlined.
Following the 2012 monsoon floods, OCHA rapidly established a humanitarian coordination centre in Sukkur for Sindh operations, and deployed staff to support ongoing relief activities in Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab, ensuring effective coordination of response in areas that were most affected by the floods.
OCHA Pakistan facilitated the piloting of the Multi-sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) in the five districts most-affected by the monsoon floods. Thanks to OCHA Pakistan’s extensive work tailoring the MIRA to the Pakistan context prior to the floods, the findings of the assessment were endorsed by the Government, in contrast to 2011, and informed humanitarian partners’ response strategies as outlined in the Monsoon Humanitarian Operational Plan (MHOP).
OCHA Pakistan facilitated the mobilization of US$36 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to bridge gaps in humanitarian funding and meet priority needs caused by floods in Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab and the complex emergency in KP and FATA. All CERF allocations were made towards the highest priority projects, based on inter-cluster assessments and cluster assessments.
OCHA facilitated the monitoring, reporting and advocacy on access constraints through various initiatives of the Humanitarian Access Working Group (HAWG), co-chaired by OCHA and the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF). OCHA better leveraged its sub-offices to report access trends through a training workshop in December (more to follow in 2013) and held 18 orientation sessions for over 400 UN, INGO and NNGO participants. With OCHA's support, the PHF initiated regular data collection on INGO visa delays. These efforts resulted in better reporting and understanding of access constraints in Pakistan, which allowed the HC to more effectively advocate for an improvement in access with the Pakistani authorities on behalf of INGOs.
OCHA Pakistan piloted various internal OCHA global initiatives focusing on: gender mainstreaming approaches; the Access Database; Transformative Agenda Mentor programme; Resilience; Table Top Exercise for Level 3 responses; Common Humanitarian Datasets (Workbook); Humanitarian Response website;; and the Central Request Form.