Reputed international bodies, including UN, have termed the post-flood challenge of rescue and rehabilitation in Pakistan as much bigger than the situation that arose when tsunami struck in 2004. Hence, to combat the challenge, an appropriate response, both at national and international levels, was the need of the hour. Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), yet again responded to the situation rapidly by taking effective measures aiming to ease the sufferings of millions of flood affected families. This initiative was focused on the much needed emergency relief. More than six million flood affected persons are already registered by virtue of being part of the family of BISP's beneficiaries. Identifying them for providing immediate relief was a relatively easier task. In view of urgency in giving relief less time consuming mechanism was opted. It stipulated giving Rs 12,000 per family, as livelihood cash grant to these beleaguered people. This grant, termed as absolutely imperative to enable the victims to relocate themselves before any rehabilitation or recovery operation could start, is in addition to regular monthly income support and will be distributed in three monthly grant of Rs 4,000. Till September 14, a sum of Rs 4.46 billion had been dispatched for disbursement in more than one million families across Pakistan. Meanwhile, various international organisations, including the World Bank, have hinted at joining hands in relief efforts and BISP's other pro-poor initiatives, especially the promotion of early child and girls' education. BISP is also striving hard to improve the mechanism and effectiveness of its regular initiatives. Its fundamental programme Monthly Cash Support has already proven its role in combating poverty. It is the third largest allocation in the current budget and constitutes 0.3 percent of the GDP. It will cover up to 15 percent of the population in low income bracket in the entire country. For families earning Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per month, the Rs 1,000 payout will amount to a 16 to 20 percent increase in their current purchasing power. Besides, BISP has planned to bring about real change in the life of these downtrodden families. One of such initiative, Waseela-e-Haq, to break the vicious cycle of poverty through a long-term interest-free financial assistance of Rs300,000 to randomly selected families. It would create self-employment opportunities for women and their nominees, initiate the marginalised into entrepreneurship; thus, helping them to come out of poverty circle. The loan is based on personal trust instead of any collateral. Similarly, Waseela-e-Hunar, another BISP initiative, aims at empowering female beneficiary or her nominee to become economically independent through acquiring vocational skill and technical education. It offers recognised training format leading to certificate-based skill, as well as non-recognised training such as in-house or product-based training. On offer would be vocational trainings of four weeks, three to six months and one year and an advanced diploma programme of two or more years. BISP has planned to provide a complete economic rehabilitation mechanism to these families through vocational training, to be pursued by guidance, counselling, and training facilities through recognised and reputed institutions. Another landmark step to lessen the sufferings of the underprivileged segments of society is provision of heath facilities under Waseela-e-Sehat. It envisions improved and cheaper access to health services. According to various survey reports, more than 70 percent people in Pakistan seek health care privately and pay out of their pockets. This practice adds financial burden on the poor. To respond to this complex situation, BISP is all set to launch this initiative and initially poverty survey in 16 districts has been completed. Major thrust of the programme is to keep mother and child healthy by increasing access to health care and providing financial cushion to vulnerable families. Moreover, it aims at improving the quality of public health care system for Minimum Service Delivery Standards (MSDS). The package includes full hospitalisation, cover to pre-existing diseases and all age groups with a maximum benefit cap of Rs 25,000 per family, per year. For implementing this programme, Benazir Health Cards would be issued to the families enrolled with the BISP under monthly cash grant programme. These Initiatives of the BISP would be instrumental in instigating a sense of self-worth for the people. As a new forward-looking step, Poverty Survey to identify the deserving families for the BISP is being made to make the process further transparent. BISP has decided to conduct survey in the flood-hit areas on a priority basis, so that vulnerable families there could be provided with immediate relief. The writer is a freelance columnist.