THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A United Nations (UN) team led by Francine Pickup will be in Kerala for a three-day visit from Feb 21 to take stock of the recovery measures in the state during the last six months post floods.

The UN team will hold discussions with the state officials to speed up the sector-wise plan for (RKI) to mobilise even overseas funds to rebuild the flood-ravaged state.

On Feb 21, the UN team will hold discussions with officials of state departments of Social Justice, Women and Child Development (W&CD) and the Police on progress made in implementing child safety projects such as ’Our Responsibility to Children (ORC), Student Police Cadets, Hope and Smart 40 in the state.

UNICEF Tamil Nadu and Kerala region chief Job Zachariah recalled the efforts of IPS officer P Vijayan in initiating the ORC project while serving as Kozhikode city police commissioner. Vijayan found that school dropouts were involved in chain snatching cases and felt it is our responsibility to address the deviant behaviour of the children and launched ORC. He had also launched student police cadets in 127 schools across the state. The UN team will also take stock of the status of other projects post floods including ‘Hope‘ to offer educational support to the dropouts in metric level and ‘Smart 40‘ to offer support to the vulnerable children mostly in remote areas and tribal hamlets to prevent them from falling prey to drugs.

It will be followed by a field visit on February 22 to the worst flood-affected district Pathanamthitta in the state where UNIDO had launched housing and livelihood support projects post floods. On February 23, a national student’s meet will be held in the Kerala assembly.

Meanwhile, project for psychosocial care of 1.5 lakh women and children in the 11 flood-affected districts in the state is expected to be complete by February 22. It was launched by UNICEF with W&CD department and National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS). Initially, it was introduced in six severely flood-affected districts, including Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Idukki and Wayanad. It was extended to five more districts Kannur, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Palakkad and Kottayam, project coordinator P Kavitha told TOI.

It was the same UN team that had earlier submitted the post-disaster need assessment (PDNA) report to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The UN resident commissioner is also the chief of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The UN team in its PDNA report had estimated the need for Rs 31,000 crore for the recovery process while the World Bank team estimated the damage in the state at Rs 27,000 crore.

Once the sector-wise recovery plan is chalked out by the state, it can be the tool for resource mobilisation from the domestic and international donors, the UN officials told TOI. Expert opinion on technical and design requirement for restructuring is being collated. With that, implementation process by the state will follow and it will be taken up by the RKI led by a three-member expert panel of officials in the state, including KM Abraham, K Venu and M Sivasankar.

Meanwhile, RKI officials told TOI that the completion of the sector-wise plan for the draft master plan of RKI is expected to take at least a week more.

The UN team had already assured the state that it would serve a conduit to channelise and obtain overseas funds bypassing the state borrowing limit. The state cannot borrow foreign funds beyond three per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and has approached the Centre to increase the borrowing limit to 4.5 per cent of the GDP.


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