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Displaced people wait to receive food handouts in Sehwan. Image Credit: REUTERS

Karachi: The World Bank has appreciated the emergency cash assistance programme of the federal government which has helped 2.5 million destitute families in the flood-ravaged parts of the country.

The World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan and the South Asian region, Najy Benhassine, recently held talks with Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Shazia Marri.

The talks were part of several programmes that also includes the emergency cash disbursal scheme for poor families in the disaster-hit parts of the country under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

The minister said the government has distributed Rs63 billion under the BISP since the start of the flood emergency to the needy by giving Rs25,000 to each family.

She said the BISP also set apart Rs1 billion to fulfil special nutritional needs of 900,000 pregnant and lactating women and infants in the communities gravely affected by the calamity.

Marri said the government had made arrangements to make sure that the cash assistance reaches only to the needy families.

She told the senior WB official that criminal cases were being registered against elements who try to benefit from the cash assistance programme.

The minister said that digital security measures had also been taken by the BISP to protect the data of the beneficiaries.

The WB Country Director offered help to the Federal Minister to gather data on more deserving people to enrol them under the BISP. He said the World Bank would assist the government to widen the scope of the BISP to cover more calamity-hit families, especially to fulfil the special nutritional requirements of infants and women.