Aid for affected families

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SENSING that the country would not be able to deal effectively, on its own, with the situation arising out of devastating floods and incessant rains, the Government on Tuesday decided to launch an international appeal seeking funds for relief and rehabilitation of flood-hit people and restoration of damaged infrastructure.

In addition, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has been visiting different flood affected regions including those in Balochistan, has also appealed to the nation to extend help to the flood-stricken people as the government required hundreds of billions to rehabilitate the flood victims.

The appeal is understandable in view of the growing number of human casualties, large-scale displacements, elimination of entire settlements, huge damage to crops and infrastructure, destruction of family belongings and killing of thousands of cattle-heads.

The country has received unprecedented rains this year, breaking the 30-year average rainfall record, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan where flash floods have killed hundreds of people.

The full extent of the damage caused by rains and floods is not yet fully known as most of the areas are virtually inaccessible due to accumulation of flood water; damage to roads, highways and telecommunication networks and continuing rains and floods.

The sketchy picture that emerges from the data so far collected showed that the floods had claimed 830 lives, left at least 1,348 injured and rendered thousands of people across the country homeless.

The damage to farm-to-market roads, highways, bridges and electricity and gas networks remains largely unreported as the initial focus of the government is on provision of much-needed rescue and relief operations.

According to reports, hundreds of schools, medical institutions and mosques/seminaries have also been affected by rains and floods.

Apart from large-scale destruction caused in South Punjab, the Sindh Government on Tuesday declared 23 districts of the province calamity-hit due to the extent of the damage caused by extraordinary monsoon rains and floods.

Based on initial estimates, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in a video message, stated that Rs.80 billion would be required to provide relief and compensation to the affected people and billions more would be needed to carry out reconstruction and rehabilitation work in the affected areas.

The Government is, no doubt, doing what it could in its limited resources as it is distributing Rs37.2 billion as cash relief among the flood-stricken people while Rs5 billion have immediately been released to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to accelerate the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts. Rs.25,000 cash assistance was being paid to the flood victims in addition to the compensation of Rs.

one million for the families of the deceased, and additional support for the people injured and damages to the houses.

It is, however, understood that the Government alone cannot come up to the expectations of the affected people and it lacks resources to undertake rehabilitation and reconstruction activities at the required speed.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of every patriotic Pakistani to come forward and contribute generous donations in cash and kind to help mitigate sufferings of the affected people.

We also hope that the international community would also respond to the appeal of the Government of Pakistan for financial assistance and relief goods.

It is encouraging that based on the reports of their diplomats in Pakistan, some friendly countries and multilateral institutions have already announced to provide assistance for the purpose.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in the forefront of the efforts directed at providing relief to the affected people as its ever-vigilant Ambassador Nawaf bin Said Al-Maliki on Tuesday dispatched 100 emergency relief trucks carrying 950 tons of essential food items to affected areas.

The relief goods sponsored by King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) would be distributed in seventeen districts of all the four provinces.

Similarly, the European Union has agreed to provide Rs76 million for crucial humanitarian assistance which will focus on addressing the urgent needs of those most affected in some of the hardest-hit districts of Jhal Magsi and Lasbela.

It has been observed that the Federal Government is displaying keen interest to help resolve problems of the affected people but a matching response from the provinces is needed.

Political parties are wasting their time, energies and resources on petty issues whereas they should be visible in the affected areas.

 

 

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