The UAE PAP Story
In 2010, plagued by ceaseless monsoon rainfall, Pakistan encountered its worst recorded flooding in recent history. In the Khyber Pukhtoon Khwa, the river Swat flooded its banks, and within days, engulfed huge areas of the local countryside. The unrelenting water swept away everything in its path causing death and destruction of an unheard scale in the popular tourist destination. Situated almost entirely amongst a chain of mountains and dissected entirely by the mighty river, the Swat valley is home to some of the roughest terrain imaginable, making relief and rehabilitation efforts a laborious undertaking for the Pakistani government as well as for local and international relief organizations.
Severely affected by the flood, the people of Swat lost bridges, schools and hospitals, and got their crops destroyed and their livestock washed away. This complete extermination of infrastructure has resulted in a widespread outbreak of disease as access to clean water and medical care is no longer available. Similarly, the loss of a great number of schools has cast a dark shadow over the education future of thousands of students, as the bridges, vital connecting points between communities and sources of access to commerce and mobility have been wiped out. Forced into living and studying in tents, confined to communities struggling for survival and cut off from the rest of the world, the people of Swat have lost not only their lives, homes and belongings; they have also lost hope. Unable to cope with the sheer scale of the disaster, Pakistan issued an international call for aid and assistance. Fittingly, the first country to answer that call was the United Arab Emirates. The government of the UAE felt that it was not a matter of responsibility but a call of duty to provide any support that the people of Pakistan required in their darkest hour. A duty born out of years of trust, friendship and solidarity between the two countries; this would be one more act of brotherhood between two nations that have always shared each others’ pain and joy over the years.
On the 12th of January, 2011, the UAE Pakistan Assistance Program was launched in order to help and provide assistance to Pakistan and mitigate the impact of floods by redeveloping infrastructure, as per the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE PAP has worked along a comprehensive redevelopment plan that takes into account the harsh geography and the rough weather conditions of the region while focusing on four main areas of social redevelopment: health, education, water and infrastructure. The Program has taken some vital steps to ease the pain and suffering that the people of Swat have become accustomed to as it provided for the construction and rehabilitation of two bridges, 52 schools and 7 hospitals, as well as the implementation of 64 water supply schemes.
In unified collaboration, the Pakistan Army and the UAE PAP have handed over all 64 water schemes, 21 schools and a bridge in one year of operations. Projected to service 5000 cars daily, the bridges have ensured access to transport and commerce to communities in desperate need of economic and social uplift while the water supply schemes have provided around 1200 families with the most precious gift of all: clean drinking water. Most importantly, 21 schools are already operational and providing countless children with access to education and the chance that they deserve for a better future, not only for themselves but for the people and valley of Swat.
The UAE Pakistan Assistance Program signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Pakistan on the 10th of December, 2010 in Islamabad. After an immediate survey of the affected areas, work started at a rapid pace, keeping within schedule on all fronts. The Sheikh Khalifa Charity Foundation has provided funds for all infrastructure projects.