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About OCHA Pakistan

OCHA’s involvement in Pakistan began in 1987, when an office was set up in Peshawar to support the organization’s Afghanistan operations. This office was moved to Afghanistan in 2003. In 2005, an office was officially established in Pakistan to respond to the devastating earthquake in the north. OCHA’s presence was scaled back in the ensuing years, but the organization re-established an office in 2009 to assist over 3 million people displaced by insecurity in the north-west.

When the monsoon floods struck in July 2010, OCHA established cluster-based coordination structures due to the scale of the emergency. OCHA established field coordination offices and extended its reach into the worst-affected districts. Devastating flooding reoccurred in August 2011 and in September 2012.

OCHA’s Country Office is in Islamabad, and field offices are located in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP); Lahore, Punjab; and Karachi, Sindh.

Current Focus

OCHA brings together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies in Pakistan, and to establish a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort.

OCHA continues to deliver its core functions, such as operational coordination, humanitarian financing, advocacy and information management, in response to humanitarian needs in Balochistan and Sindh, where flooding occurred in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and in KP and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which have experienced a complex emergency since 2008.

Coordination Structure

The coordination structure in Pakistan consists of the HC, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), the inter-cluster coordination mechanism at national and provincial levels, and district coordination cells, in affected areas. The HC leads the HCT, which comprises UN humanitarian agencies and international NGO (INGO) and national NGOs representatives, with IFRC and ICRC as observers.

The cluster approach was introduced in Pakistan during the 2005 earthquake and is now used to facilitate emergency response. Clusters facilitate humanitarian response from the district to the national level, and aim to ensure predictable humanitarian response. OCHA supports inter-cluster coordination. OCHA chairs or co-chairs relevant inter-cluster coordination meetings (ICCMs) which take place regularly, and as determined by the scale of the humanitarian response.

At the provincial level, the inter-cluster coordination forum mechanisms (ICCM) are in Peshawar, KP, composed of provincial heads of agencies and provincial cluster coordinators, and chaired by OCHA; and the ICCMs in Hyderabad, Sindh, and Quetta, Balochistan, co-chaired by OCHA and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.

OCHA provides comprehensive support to the humanitarian community in activities related to coordinating emergency preparedness planning, humanitarian response, disaster risk reductionand resilience. OCHA also ensures coordination with national and international NGOs through their umbrella groups. These include the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum, which is an alliance of 57 INGOs, and the National Humanitarian Network, which is a consortium of more than 180 national NGOs.

Through knowledge sharing and training, OCHA also helps strengthen the capacity of national and international stakeholders to respond to emergencies. Given the likely recurrence of natural disasters and crises in Pakistan, OCHA contiues to work closely with the government and humanitarian partners to ensure an effective response to future crises.