PESHAWAR: Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan Dr Riina Kionka on Saturday expressed satisfaction with the level of community resilience against natural disasters in Chitral region and promised her organisation’s help and support to scale it up.
During a daylong visit to Booni, the district headquarters of Upper Chitral, Dr Riina went to the sites of climate change mitigation projects and prefabricated homes built by the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (Akah) for flood-hit families.
She also met youth and women carrying out measures to mitigate climate change.
Accompanied by Akah CEO Nusrat Nasab and the deputy commissioners of Lower and Upper Chitral districts, the EU ambassador addressed community members and appreciated the efforts of the development organisation for its “well-tailored interventions before and after natural disasters in the calamity-prone mountainous area.”
She said the environment, water and renewable energy had a correlation in the ecosystem, so policies and actions should focus on them.
Officials told Dr Riina that Akah was the first responder to natural disasters in the region and that it trained 36,000 volunteers, while one of its 170 community emergency response teams rushed to any area hit by disasters in no time.
She also learned that Akah was the pioneer of community-based disaster risk management in the region and maintained “stockpiles” in every union council level for immediate mobilisation to the nearest calamity-hit villages.
The officials said during 2022 floods, the organisation evacuated 8,000 calamity-hit people to safer places, provided food and shelter to 10,000 people and helped 206 displaced families with prefabricated houses in GB and Chitral.
Hawala Bibi, who lives in a prefabricated house, told her that the flash floods of last August destroyed her house rendering her and her family roofless.
President of the Aga Khan Regional Council in Upper Chitral Imtiaz Alam and Upper Chitral DC Khalid Zaman highlighted the issues related to natural disasters.
The EU ambassador also met members of the local search and rescue team, CERTs and Water and Sanitation Committee.
We’ve reached #Chitral! Visited an ICT centre est by @AKRSPPAKISTAN with 🇪🇺 support in remote Garamchashma Valley…and discovered 🌟✨ magic…👇👇👇@syedAminulHaque @moitOfficial @DCLowerChitral @AKF_Global @EU_Partnerships @EUPakistan pic.twitter.com/Ygq2lts0L6
— Riina Kionka (@RKionka) April 14, 2023