ISLAMABAD: A team of Danish experts has arrived in Pakistan to set up emergency water purification plants for climate refugees after floods inundated more than half the country.

“Our advanced emergency team from Denmark will leave for Sindh where it will establish its base to install and operate the water purification facility,” said Ambassador-designate of Denmark to Pakistan Jakob Linulf, at a press briefing at his residence in Islamabad.

On behalf of the Danish minister of foreign affairs as well as the Danish minister for development cooperation, Mr Linulf started by extending condolences for the victims of the flash floods (currently more than 1,300).

“Our thoughts are with their relatives and the many affected and displaced here in Pakistan,
approximately 33 million people,” he said.

Six plants to provide 120,000 litres of drinking water a day for 40,000 individuals

“We are happy to welcome the team from the Danish Emergency Management Agency. They will be operating this facility in Sindh and will be joined by another seven team members in Karachi tomorrow. This team will set up the water purification system that will be operating in Pakistan for weeks,” he said.

Elaborating on how the purification plant would function, team leader Erik Breum-Christensen said the six purification plants would provide 120,000 litres of clean drinking water a day, enough for 40,000 individuals.

“As workout means to increase production of drinking water, these units can be easily transported to remote and areas not easily accessible,” he said, adding that, “we also bring our team of experts in relevant fields so that we do not burden the Pakistani government”.

In his remarks, Ambassador-designate of Denmark Jakob Linulf said it was a key priority for Denmark to provide flexible and un-earmarked funding to humanitarian strategic partners to allow them to respond quickly in times of urgent need, such as in the case of the ongoing flooding in Pakistan.

“We have confirmation that several of our Danish NGO partners have already used our flexible funds to provide assistance in relation to the floods,” he informed the briefing.

Denmark has also supported the UN’s humanitarian flash appeal for Pakistan with $1.33 million to the UN Refugee Organisation, (UNHCR). This funding was provided in addition to Denmark’s core annual funding to UNHCR’s work in Pakistan and the region of $6.7 million.

“The UNHCR has already started their aid work and with our support they can expand their efforts. Their focus is particularly on emergency relief – providing tents and blankets and protection of vulnerable groups, including women and children.

Last week, on Aug 31, Denmark and Pakistan also signed a Green Framework Engagement, while on Aug 10, the two countries signed an agreement for Danish financing of sustainable infrastructure in Pakistan.

“These engagements will allow us to cooperate even more closely when it comes to green transition, sustainable development and climate change mitigation. They will also assist in relation to rehabilitation and reconstruction,” the ambassador-designate added.

“We have also extended an offer for immediate relief assistance to Pakistan and the Pakistani people who are going through this devastating crisis. We especially share the concern about the drinking water in the affected areas. Diseases such as cholera, scabies, typhoid and ringworms often occur in the wake of floods especially due to the lack of accessibility to clean drinking water,” Mr Linulf said.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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