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Monday, 02 August 2010 18:00

Update on flood relief in Pakistan

03 August 2010, Dhaka. With the heavy rainfalls and the ensuing flood in Pakistan, BRAC  temporarily halted its microfinance and health operations in  Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and is focusing on providing emergency relief.  “Drawing upon years of experience in flood relief work in Bangladesh, a  flood-prone country, BRAC Pakistan staff are rapidly and effectively  assisting the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province,” said Susan Davis,  President & CEO of BRAC USA.

 

Pakistan flood: A woman carries relief supplies, distributed by the Army
Reuters/Adrees Latif, courtesy www.alertnet.org

The shortage of food is acute.  BRAC Pakistan has begun to deliver food packets which contain rice,  lentils, flour, and water purification tablets. To combat the threat of  diarrheal diseases breaking out, BRAC is distributing Oral Rehydration  Solution sachets. This is a staple commodity distributed by BRAC’s  health program in every country where we operate, including Pakistan.  Additionally, BRAC will be sending a medical team for assessment of  health needs in the affected communities.

Of the houses that are  still standing many are under water. BRAC’s staff in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa  expect the water to recede in 2-3 days, but “this part of Pakistan is  not accustomed to floods,” said Mr. Aminul Alam, Executive Director of  BRAC International. “In Bangladesh, we are used to this so we can  prevent casualties there. But here the families and communities we serve  are not used to this. We want to help because of BRAC’s experience of  dealing with floods in Bangladesh over the years.”

BRAC Pakistan  has been operating in Pakistan since 2007 providing microfinance  throughout 94 branches to 106,000 people. Of BRAC’s 12 offices in  Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 10 are under water. However, BRAC’s existing  footprint in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the extensive network of local staff  give BRAC a starting point through which relief will be delivered.

“Many  families that we serve have seen their houses washed away. Many houses  of our staff members were also washed away. But as a BRAC staff member  they can be effective in delivering relief to the families and  communities that they serve every day,” said Mr. Faridhur Rahman, BRAC  Pakistan CEO.

“Vehicles cannot go in to flooded areas, and there  is a lack of boats in this area. We have no choice but to wade through  water and deliver relief supplies on foot where we can, even in flooded  areas,” said Mr. Rahman.

Click here to donate to support BRAC's work in Pakistan.

About BRAC

BRAC,  the largest non-profit in the developing world, was launched in  Bangladesh in 1972 and currently touches the lives of more than 138  million people through its programs addressing poverty including  micro-loans, education, health services, self-employment opportunities  and human rights education. BRAC’s vision is to improve the health,  wealth and well being of millions of the poorest families primarily in  Asia and Africa. BRAC has provided $6.7 billion in micro-loans to nearly  eight million borrowers, mostly women, and created 9 million  self-employment opportunities. BRAC’s 84,000 community health promoters  have provided basic health services to nearly 100 million people.  Currently, BRAC has programs in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Haiti, Liberia,  Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda.  BRAC USA is a 501 c 3 affiliate in New York. To learn more about BRAC,  please visit www.bracusa.org.

Media Contacts

Pakistan
Md. Faridhur Rahman
CEO
BRAC Pakistan
92 334 5505 423
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

USA
Malik Rashid
Program Manager
BRAC USA
1 212 808 5615
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sunday, 01 August 2010 18:00

BRAC to provide flood relief in Pakistan

02 August 2010, Dhaka. With the heavy rainfalls and the ensuing flood in Pakistan, BRAC has  temporarily halted its normal operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly  the North-West Frontier Province) and is focusing on providing relief  work.  BRAC seeks to bring to the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa our years  of experience in flood relief work in Bangladesh, a flood-prone  country.

 

Women wade through flood waters with their children while evacuating from Nowshera, Pakistan.
Reuters/Adrees Latif, courtesy www.alertnet.org 

“We want to cover 4,000 families,” says BRAC Pakistan  CEO Mr. Faridhur Rahman, referring to the number of families to whom  BRAC aims to deliver food such as rice, lentils, and flour in the next  four days.  The shortage of food is acute. 

To combat the threat  of diarrheal diseases breaking out, BRAC will also be distributing Oral  Rehydration Salts (ORS).  This is a staple commodity distributed by  BRAC’s health program in every country where we operate, including  Pakistan.  Additionally, BRAC will be sending a medical team for  assessment of health needs there.

Of the houses that are still  standing many are under water.  BRAC’s staff in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa  expect the water to recede in 2-3 days, but “this part of Pakistan is  not accustomed to floods,” says Mr. Anisur Rahman, BRAC Pakistan’s  Microfinance Program Manager.  “In Bangladesh, we are used to this so we  can prevent casualties there.  But here the families and communities we  serve are not used to this.  We want to help because of BRAC’s  experience of dealing with floods in Bangladesh over the years.” 

BRAC  Pakistan has been operating in Pakistan since 2007.  Of BRAC’s 12  offices in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 9 are under water and 3 are of limited  use. However, BRAC’s existing infrastructure in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in  the form of branch offices and the extensive network of local staff give  BRAC a starting point through which relief will be delivered. 

“Many  families that we serve have seen their houses washed away.  Many houses  of our staff members were also washed away.  But as a BRAC staff member  they can be effective in delivering relief to the families and  communities that they serve every day,” Mr. Rahman says. 

“Vehicles  cannot go in to flooded areas, and there is a lack of boats in this  area.  We have no choice but to wade through water and deliver relief  supplies on foot where we can, even in flooded areas.” 

Click here to donate to support BRAC's work in Pakistan.

 

20 July 2010, Dhaka. Alan Duncan, UK Minister for International Development, spent the morning in Manikganj visiting BRAC programmes on education, health, microfinance and extreme poverty alleviation, many of which receive funding from the UK government.

At a BRAC pre-primary school in Gilondo village, the minister took part in various learning games with the children and was particularly impressed by the school’s interactive teaching methods.

Whilst visiting the home of Modhumala, a BRAC microfinance client in Uchutia village, he observed a weekly microfinance group meeting on her courtyard and spoke to several members of BRAC’s ultra poor programme. He was especially moved by the significant improvements Modhumala was able to bring to her life through various enterprises she started with microloans, citing this as a perfect example of the benefit of giving a helping hand instead of a hand out.

“...going around with BRAC was very instructive and very useful, they’re doing some great things. A few minutes ago, I was with some of the ultra poor where the programme is to give them a grant of a cow or chicken to begin a life which has some kind of livelihood behind it. It’s from these little beginnings that development has to start, and that’s what I’m seeing in practice today.”

Later on, he joined a community health forum and participated in an eye examination for reading glasses conducted by a BRAC health volunteer. His final stopover was at an ante-natal clinic for expecting mothers where he observed various health examinations designed to identify pregnancy-related complications.

The Minister was accompanied by Acting British High Commissioner Duncan Norman, Head of Department for International Development (DFID), Bangladesh, Chris Austin, BRAC Executive Director Mahabub Hussain as well as other senior officials from BRAC and DFID Bangladesh.

 

 

13 July 2010, Dhaka. Last week, BRAC Bank in Bangladesh was awarded the Emerging Markets Sustainable Bank of the Year Award for the Asian region.  

 Now in their fifth year, the awards recognize banks and other financial institutions that have shown leadership and innovation in integrating social, environmental and corporate governance considerations into their operations.

"Broadening financial services to the poor and helping to raise living standards around the world is good for business and good for the global economy," said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO.

Click here to read more about the award and the gala dinner.

07 July 2010, Dhaka. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree today from the University of Bath for his outstanding contributions to social improvement.

The ceremony at Bath Abbey was presided over by university chancellor Lord Tugendhat and was preceded by a public procession of senior campus officers and academics.

Sir Fazle also received several honorary degrees including Doctor of Humane Letters from Yale University in 2007, Doctor of Laws from Columbia University in 2008 and Doctor of Letters from the University of Oxford in 2009.

 

Wednesday, 07 July 2010 18:00

BRAC and UNICEF aim for closer ties

08 July 2010, Dhaka. BRAC and UNICEF have collaborated on different projects over the years. To strengthen this tie further and work towards Bangladesh’s national goals both the organisations have decided to collaborate more frequently to address the impending issues of Bangladesh. The main focuses are education, child protection, health and nutrition, and water and environmental sanitation.

 

08 July 2010, Dhaka. An agriculture training centre is being constructed in Uganda. The centre will be used to carry out agriculture research and experimentation at BRAC’s Nakaseke farm. The centre will include residential facilities. The training centre is expected to be completed within 6 months.

07 July 2010, Dhaka. A total of 79 children with special needs (CSN) from BRAC schools in five districts participated and won 101 prizes in a divisional sports competition, organised by the National Association of Sports for Persons with Disabilities (NASPD).

BRAC’s CSN unit facilitated the students’ participation to promote their social right and boost their self-confidence.

About 24 organisations took part in the Divisional Sports Competition for People with Disabilities.

 

07 July 2010, Dhaka. A total of 79 children with special needs (CSN) from BRAC schools in five districts participated and won 101 prizes in a divisional sports competition, organised by the National Association of Sports for Persons with Disabilities (NASPD).

BRAC’s CSN unit facilitated the students’ participation to promote their social right and boost their self-confidence.

About 24 organisations took part in the Divisional Sports Competition for People with Disabilities.

30 June 2010, Dhaka. BRAC and the European Union (EU) signed a Euro 5 million (BDT 400 million) agreement today for "Restoring socio-economic stability and strengthening community resilience in areas affected by cyclone AILA".  The EU support will help link the relief phase with the longer term reconstruction and development of the affected areas. 

 

The signatories were Dr Stefan Frowein, Head of the EU Delegation to Bangladesh and Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC.  

The EU support, being made available under its Instrument for Stability, will provide much-needed interventions to promote socio-economic stability and to strengthen the economic and physical resilience and protection of communities against future natural disasters.  Emergency support of Euro 9 million (BDT 720 million was provided earlier to AILA victims under ECHO. With this support EU continues to meet its responsibilities as a major donor during the post-AILA recovery period.

BRAC, which has been working continuously in the affected areas, will target its interventions to support poor small farmers and fishers, van pullers, small traders, homestead owners and landless day labourers over the next 18 months.

In comments made during the ceremony, Dr. Frowein said that "This additional support underlines the solidarity which the European Union has expressed with the government and the people of Bangladesh in the wake of this terrible natural disaster." and referred to the agreement with BRAC as "a competent partnership".

Dr. Hossain, in his speech, thanked EU for supporting the rehabilitation of AILA victims and noted with satisfaction the trust and confidence that BRAC had been able to earn from the EU through the effective implementation of a similar project for SIDR victims.  BRAC, he said, was fully committed to serving the AILA affected people with the same efficiency and zeal.

The overall objective of the programme is to contribute to stability and rehabilitation in the coastal areas of south-western Bangladesh that were devastated and damaged by cyclone AILA.

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