ISLAMABAD                  -                Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, on Monday launched pilot phase of ‘Pakistan COVID-19 Urban Slums Response Programme’ (PCUSRP) to protect urban slum residents from  harmful coronavirus.

“The pilot initiative aims to prevent spread of COVID-19 in urban slums as well as empowering local communities to mitigate its economic impact,” he said in his keynote address to the launching ceremony held here at the Ministry of Climate Change.

The pilot phase of the initiative is being implemented in Dhok Hassu and Dhok Mangtal slum areas of the bustling city of Rawalpindi.

The adviser highlighted that the living conditions in the slums are unhealthy and unhygienic while 40 per cent people living in these areas spent their live in one room and another 40 percent in two rooms while one toilet facility is being used by 7-10 persons.

He also lauded UN-Habitat and other development partners for providing all-out support regarding the initiative. He appreciated them for timely intervention in the slum areas.

He added that besides prevention measures, the proposed interventions would also create income generating opportunities. 

Amin Aslam also suggested that  in addition to the stitching of masks and gloves by the women in the community, if they also stitch cloth bags, the Ministry could buy back from them  to create more employment opportunities.

 Meanwhile, he emphasized that  based on the interventions and the finding, a comprehensive project would be developed by the Ministry of Climate Change in collaboration with partners.

He informed that the Ministry would raise funding through National Disaster Risk Management Fund of the Government  and other donor agencies for expanding the programme country wide.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Executive Director UN-Habitat had launched the COVID -19 Response Plan and campaign on 23 April, in 64 countries to contain the continuing spread of the COVID-19 crisis that threatens the most vulnerable communities, particularly living in slums and informal settlements including refugees, internally displaced people and migrants.

Today Pakistan joined the other lead countries by launching Pakistan COVID19 Urban Slum Response Programme targeting the world’s most vulnerable communities.

He explained  that the programme included innovative tools, creation of virtual Community Coordination Platform IT Platform, introduction of intensive disinfectant sprays in the hotspots, streets and markets, frequent checking of body temperature through laser guns, installation of hand washing stations, distribution of sanitizers, masks and gloves, introduction of WASH facilities and arrangements for environmentally safe collection and disposal of solid liquid and hazardous wastes.

The project will also create employment opportunities by engaging the local community to  produce masks and gloves and other related activities. UN Habitat will seek cooperation from the interested federal and provincial governments, UN Agencies and donors to join hands in implementing the PCUSRP at the country level.