Real time evaluation of Pakistan Flood Response

Summary of evaluation1

The Pakistan floods of 2007 devastated large swathes of rural Sindh and Balochistan Provinces in southern Pakistan, destroying homes, crops and roads, and caused the temporary displacement of over 2.5 million people. The Government of Pakistan (GoP), through its newly created National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and with the help of the Army, launched a major relief operation. The United Nations (UN), with other members of the international humanitarian community and local nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), mobilised resources to help. The decision was taken by the Inter Agency Standing Committee Country Team (IASC CT)2 to launch a full-scale humanitarian response. An application was made to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Clusters were set up and started work, a joint rapid assessment was carried out with NDMA, and a Flash Appeal was announced and promoted.

For a variety of reasons, the GoP did not fully support the IASC CTs decision and approach. In addition, the assessment was delayed, the Flash Appeal was issued three weeks after the onset of the emergency and raised only 26%3 of its target, and the Clusters failed to achieve their full potential as coordinating mechanisms. As a result and despite substantial efforts, the humanitarian community did not succeed - to the extent it considered appropriate - in delivering humanitarian relief to the already-impoverished people of Sindh and Balochistan. A Real Time Evaluation (RTE) was set up over a two week period, staffed and operating independently of the UN, to help understand the reasons and suggest improvements for the future.

The main findings of the evaluation go some way to explaining the disappointing overall response and include:

Main recommendations of the RTE may be summarised as follows:

The issue at the heart of the findings from the RTE relates to the role of the UN in a sovereign state with a strong government, and a humanitarian crisis to which the humanitarian community feels impelled to respond, but where the government does not wish to seek or receive international assistance at the level which the humanitarian community believes is appropriate.

This fundamental issue is a delicate and sensitive one and raises essential issues of international law in a situation where passions run deep on both sides of the argument. One person's imperative can easily become another's imperialism. Careful negotiation and discussion are required as well as patient advocacy based on good quality information.

Show footnotes

1IASC Inter-agency real time evaluation of the Pakistan floods/cyclone - October 2007. FINAL Version: 31st October 2007

2Inter Agency Standing Committee. See http://www.humanitarianreform.org

3Correct on 30th September 2007

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Reference this page

Real time evaluation of Pakistan Flood Response. Field Exchange 32, January 2008. p25. www.ennonline.net/fex/32/real