Islamabad- More than 5.3 million jobs may have been lost and/or affected as a result of the worst-ever floods in the history of Pakistan that devastated more than 70 districts of Pakistan, the International Labour Office (ILO) said on Thursday.
It said productive and labour intensive job creation programmes are urgently needed to lift millions of people out of poverty that has been aggravated by flood damage. “Reports of widespread destruction show that the livelihoods of millions of people are threatened or have been destroyed,” ILO Country Director Donglin Li said in a statement. “As humanitarian and reconstruction efforts proceed, we must begin working immediately to ensure that initiatives are established to monitor and create decent and productive employment and rebuild peoples’ livelihoods.”
An initial assessment conducted in the days following the floods indicated that it caused widespread destruction of most infrastructure and shops in the affected provinces in the country – including Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistan Administered Kashmir, with heavy losses in agriculture and livestock.
The assessment found that residents of the badly afflicted parts of Pakistan would require “substantial support to rebuild their income-generating prospects”.
Compounding the devastation was the fact that the areas affected are amongst the poorest in Pakistan, the ILO statement added. “By losing their employment, even for a short period of time, workers in the affected districts have likely already fallen into extreme poverty,” Mr. Li said.
In order to meet the needs of the population in the afflicted areas, the ILO urged that programmes aimed at generating new employment and other income-producing opportunities be incorporated into the rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes that will need to be immediately undertaken following the relief efforts now
These would include employment support services to provide both information and short-term training for the jobs that will be generated through the reconstruction effort; financial and institutional support to rebuild small businesses and income-generating assets in both the rural and urban areas; channelling of financial support from the outside world, including remittances from overseas toward meeting urgently needed basic services; and the creation of institutional mechanisms to ensure that this happens.