The World Bank has approved a USD 300 million loan to help the cash-strapped Pakistan address issues of climate change, health emergency and manage solid waste to reduce flooding chances in the country's financial capital Karachi, a media report said on Thursday. The Washington-based lender approved USD 200 million for the Sindh Resilience project and USD 100 million for the Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency project, The Express Tribune newspaper reported, citing an official statement issued by the bank's local office.
These investments will bolster Pakistan's efforts to build resilience to natural hazards such as floods and droughts in the Sindh province and will strengthen solid waste management in Karachi to tackle recurrent urban flooding and public health emergencies in the city, it added. The USD 200 million has been approved in additional financing for the Sindh Resilience project worth USD 100 million, bringing total cost of the scheme to USD 300 million. "Building resilience to natural disasters and health emergencies is an important and urgent agenda in Pakistan, that will help save lives and protect the economy," said World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine.
The debilitating impact of recent floods in Karachi, droughts and extreme rainfall in Sindh, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic, make it imperative that risk reduction investments strengthen multi-sectoral dialogue and coordination at the city, provincial and national levels to ensure protection of vulnerable communities and fight the spread of disease, he added. The additional financing of USD 200 million for the Sindh Resilience project will help the government better manage climate and disaster risks, including floods, droughts, and public health emergencies.
The USD 100 million Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project (SWEEP) will improve solid waste management services in Karachi - Pakistan's largest city with more than 16 million people - and upgrade the critical solid waste infrastructure to reduce urban flooding and public health risks. The project focuses on emergency waste removal to restore storm water drainage capacity before the next monsoon season, especially in the vulnerable communities around drainage and waste collection sites.
The project will improve living conditions for at least half a million residents of Karachi and increase protection for workers by introducing safety protocols that improve labour conditions. Pakistan received USD 500 million from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank each in June this year to prop up its struggling economy.
Pakistan's total public debt domestic and external was recorded at Rs36.3 trillion in the financial year 2019-20, up 154 pc (or Rs22 trillion) since FY13, when it was recorded at Rs 14.3 trillion, according to official data.