Synthesis of CARE's FSL response to 2010 and 2011 Floods in Pakistan


Synthesis paper on
CARE International in Pakistan”s perspectives on ’˜Using Cash Transfers for improving Livelihoods in emergency responses”

Rationale & background of this paper: Flood 2010 was a quite unusual and thus historic calamity that Pakistan witnessed. The recovery efforts were still underway when abnormal rains flooded the southern parts of Pakistan again in 2011. Care international in Pakistan (CIP) setup a Flood emergency response team comprising sector specialists and field teams in three provinces of Pakistan to contribute to response efforts stimulated by both 2010 and 2011 flood emergencies. This paper showcases CIP”s work post 2010 to the extent of Cash transfer programming in emergency responses and also bundles lessens and best practices for use in future programming of similar nature.

Scope & extent of 2010 flood emergency: Pakistan has never seen before, a catastrophe like the floods of 2010. Leaving 1,980 people dead and 2946 injured, the flood was a big blow to the livelihoods of about 4.5 million people who lost their jobs, mostly in the farming sector . The Khareef crop of 2010, which was ready for harvest, could not be harvested at the behest of sudden calamity and the people could not protect their stored grains and seeds from flowing away with the ruthless flood waters. People had to leave all their belongings at the mercy of fast moving waters and evacuate for saving their lives in emergency. Consequently twenty million people became internally displaced persons (IDPs) and seven million students were deprived of their academic session.

The flood waters that started from northern and hilly areas of Pakistan gradually developed and after playing havoc with lower altitude areas, entered the southern parts of the country damaging 1,884,708 households and adversely affecting 20,251,550 people. Most of cropped areas are fed by the irrigation network emanating from the major rivers like Indus, Jhelum and Chenab whose watersheds were already overly precipitated. The areas in the lower planes like Punjab which is called the food basket of Pakistan, were also receiving rains that lasted for consecutive 6-7 days, therefore almost all the crops were washed away with the flood waters that were overflowing out of the streams. Resultantly 2.2 million hectares of crops were either destroyed or drowned. Livestock as usual, remained the low priority against the high priority of fleeing flood waters, and as a result 450,000 livestock heads were lost . Almost 50 percent of the total land area of Pakistan remained under stagnant water for pretty sometime and nearly 132, 000 square kilometers area was badly ravaged, which is about 23 percent of the total land area of the country. The scale of emergency was much beyond the national capacity of Pakistan and therefore the UN cluster system was set up and flash appeal amounting 1.9 billion USD was launched. The response gradually developed from scattered emergency assistance into a more coordinated and organized response led by many UN sectoral clusters. As the emergency phase was over, the cluster system also evolved into sectoral and thematic working groups under the UN. Many humanitarian organizations started working in a more coordinated and organized way. Most of the 2010 response plan was based on lessons learned from the humanitarian response to October -2005 earthquakes (South Asia Earthquake) and thus the contemporary response was better in terms of quality, although there were lesser quantity of resources available for this response which was much bigger in scale compared with the 2005 response. Except for the deaths and injuries, the 2010 floods in Pakistan was the biggest disaster compared with many mega-disasters that the world has recently witnessed like Tsunami-2004, South Asia Earthquake-2005, Katrina Cylone-2005, Nargis Cyclone-2008, and Haiti Earthquake-2010.

Scope & extent of 2011 flood emergency: In August 2011, heavy monsoon rains triggered flooding in Balochistan and Sindh provinces, including some areas that were affected by the devastating floods of 2010. A joint UN-Government assessment found more than 5 million people with critical humanitarian needs following the 2011 floods.
The UN and the Government jointly launched the 2011 Floods Rapid Response Plan in September and appealed for US$357 million for provision of immediate assistance to flood-affected people in Sindh and Balochistan for six months. Donors contributed $170 million in response to that appeal, thus enabling humanitarian agencies to provide various forms of humanitarian assistance to the affected population. The UN and the Government launched the Pakistan Floods 2011 Early Recovery Framework in February 2012 to cover longer-term early recovery needs in the flood-affected areas, seeking nearly $440 million to help communities to be more resilient to future disasters.

How Care responded with Cash Programming: CIP advanced 9,935,382 USDs in cash grants to affected communities, either manually or mostly through Tameer Bank. Simultaneously with CIP, the Tameer Bank has been learning innovative and untraditional ways of benefitting communities through cash interventions. By dint of a continues learning process, not only Tameer Bank but other private sector players are now engaging with CIP on more innovative approaches for enhancing the access of benefitting communities to insurance coverage and mobile telephony based DRR education.
Why was Cash a priority response?
In line with CARE”s livelihood rights model and having confidence in the perception about cash”s ability to impact on all elements of the livelihoods framework, cash was prioritized as response intervention under the livelihood portfolio in 2010 and 2011 emergency responses.

During 2010 and 2011 emergencies; affected populations had lost their sources of income, savings and assets. Since the food security and livelihood response by CARE didn”t happen in the immediate aftermath of emergencies, therefore the markets had stabilized a bit and thus cash was thought to be best offering. By the time the cash programs started markets had gained the strength to provide stocks for survival of survivors and to some extent for livelihood recovery also. Cash was thus used for boosting incomes and employment.

Livelihood zoning was done in district of Muzaffargarh as part of CBHA (A DFID funded project) implemented in districts of Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur in Punjab and also in another PEFSA-II (ECHO funded project), which was implemented in district Qamber Shahdadkot of Sindh province.
Women entrepreneurs were clustered per their corresponding skill sets and were advanced cash grants for resuming or starting businesses at household or small enterprise levels.

Post distribution studies in South Punjab were commissioned with a purpose of analyzing the coping strategies used in terms of their impact on livelihoods, as well as the ability of livelihood groups to meet their immediate food needs. These PDMs revealed that cash was a vital support for affected communities, especially those who rely on credit. Like many other countries, people in rural Pakistan either take cash or food and agricultural inputs in commodities from local providers. Similarly in 2010 and 2011 rural folks had taken credit from local providers, but after disasters (2010 &2011 floods) they were unable to pay off debts because of loss of assets and income.

Vicious Cycle of Indebtedness in Rural Pakistan-Adopted from FAO”s Livelihood Asset Trajectory Studies

Traders, in turn, were not able to obtain and maintain supplies. In such circumstances, the provision of cash grants to affected households stimulated the movement of essential goods particularly the much needed food and agriculture inputs into affected areas. CARE also commissioned a research study on the issue of indebtedness. A copy of study report is placed below:

Cash interventions also enabled the recipients to get goods and services directly from local providers, which stimulated the local economy and reduced the associated costs involved in otherwise moving goods and services from outside to the villages. In line with this finding cash proved to be more efficient than any other commodity support including food aid and benefitting communities attributed cash transfers as vitally important for economic recovery of the affected areas.

Another interested finding from post distribution monitoring revealed that cash was mostly utilized for healthy and productive purposes. Most of beneficiaries used cash for accessing health and education services, buying food, machinery and livestock. Some people also used cash for trading (buying sellable goods at cheaper rates and selling with some margins). Negligibly small amount of cash was used on anti-social activities like re-marriages, payments to revenue and police officials, child labour and selling draught animals etc

Care strongly believes that cash transfers can be an effective mean to livelihood recovery, expansion and diversification. Same hold true in South Punjab, where 73 percent cash grant recipients termed cash as vital source that impacted their livelihoods. Cash resulted not only in expanding livelihood assets but also triggering the increased consumption, production and processing. It promoted freeness and contributed to increasing the resilience of affected communities.

Income generation formed part of the cash transfers, as in many cases, the use of the cash from grants or CFW was used to generate income, for example setting up of handicrafts business by rural women of district Muzaffagrh. As such, cash grants helped beneficiaries re-establish small scale business or to invest in livelihood assets, for example buying of agriculture inputs by recipients of conditional cash grants in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. Cash induced income generation projects in Punjab also allowed people to diversify their income through small scale, self-employment business schemes, for example setting up of village based shops by the recipients of conditional cash grants in Punjab province under DFID funded CBHA project. The support in many instances stretched beyond merely providing cash, to supporting recipients in enhancing their management, supervisory and implementation skills, for example the team leaders of CFW teams had the opportunity to develop their management, communication and supervisory skills, while most of business grant beneficiaries received trainings aimed at ameliorating their management skills.
Many agencies, academics and donors recognize that cash as an emergency intervention is appropriate when foods (or other goods) are available and markets are functioning and accessible. In addition to these two criteria, a third criterion is that cash can be delivered safely and effectively . In order to deliver cash safely and security CARE partnered with Tameer Micro Finance Bank. The partner bank has been transferring cash to beneficiaries within their villages through mobile service vans and the beneficiaries along with other stakeholders have termed this bank model as one that facilitates access to cash for affected populations in a dignified and honorable way. Such interventions, apart from serving purpose of the projects; have also strengthened the micro-finance sector alongside developing a new strategic partnership between the Development and Private sectors.

Our experiences at CIP suggest that many other fears associated with cash transfers were also dispelled, for example; some people argue that women may not have control over the cash, or that cash distribution on a large scale would cause inflation. These kinds of fears have generally not been borne out by practice at CIP. During PDMs 78 percent decrease in sufferings of women and children as a consequence of cash transfer was reported.

A rapid analysis of response options would also suggest that cash was best option in the 2010 and 2011 emergency responses. Normally the response options are:

How would CIP like to respond with Cash in any future emergencies?

CIP embarked upon some interesting research studies as part of the cash programming after 2010 flood emergency. Significant among these researches were:
1- ’˜Women in Emergency”
2- Case Study of Tameer Micro Finance Bank Partnership in Cash Transfer to the Flood 2010 Beneficiaries in Pakistan.
3- Case study on Targeting during 2010 emergency response.
4- Research study on the issue of indebtedness in Pakistan.

Encouraged by our own capacities, informed by above mentioned researches and guided by the lessons that we have learnt and experiences that we have assimilated, CIP would like to expand her cash portfolio thus including more needs based programming like Cash for protection, Cash for Safety under the prevailing instruments of conditional or unconditional cash grants. Extremely vulnerable groups needing immediate support would continue to be preferably benefitted by unconditional modality.

Appropriateness of responses and choices among modalities would however be guided by the broader body of knowledge around cash transfer programming. Since CIP has been mostly dealing with conditional and unconditional cash transfers and Cash for work modalities, we would prefer playing around these modalities, though we are experimenting Food vouchers at reasonable scale under PEFSA-III.