AS the flood situation is not improving especially in Sindh, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has once again urged all segments of the society to forge unity to provide relief to the flood affected people and undertake the gigantic task of rehabilitation and rebuilding in a satisfactory manner.
Chairing a meeting of the Federal Cabinet on Wednesday, he directed members of the cabinet and all stakeholders to make all-out efforts and move to the flood-hit areas to provide relief to the affected people.
He pointed out that people know very well as to who was coming to the relief of affected people and which elements were doing politics at this critical time, adding people are silent but one day they will hold those accountable who are doing politics and appreciate those who are serving them.
The remarks of the Prime Minister are apt as some politicians are focusing more on political rhetoric than concentrating on activities to mitigate sufferings of the people in all the four provinces.
The focus on political activities is diverting attention away from the daunting task of relief and rehabilitation, which becomes difficult due to continued rains in some parts of the country and standing water.
The problems of the flood affected people and areas can be gauged by the fact that despite best efforts being made both by the Federal and Sindh Government, 10 to 12 feet deep water is still standing in Mehr town of Sindh’s Dadu district and authorities say it would take weeks for water to recede.
In a bid to prevent the outbreak of vector-borne diseases, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday directed the concerned authorities to expedite the dewatering of the flood-affected areas.
During a visit to Suhbatpur district of Balochistan, he cautioned that infectious diseases are rapidly spreading in flood affected areas and controlling the outbreak is crucial.
There are already reports of an outbreak of dengue in many areas and hospitals are now flooded with dengue patients.
The situation cannot improve until and unless provinces play their part well in checking the spread of different diseases and provide best possible medical treatment to the affected people on a war footing.
The Prime Minister deserves credit for his steadfast approach of visiting flood affected areas in different parts of the country to assess the ground situation himself, meet the affected people to have firsthand knowledge of their plight and requirements for relief and rehabilitation and is making necessary announcements on the basis of his assessment of the situation.
Addressing affected people during his visit to Balochistan, the PM announced a two-month waiver of water utility charges for the consumers residing in flood-affected areas all over the country.
The government would not charge the consumers in the flood-hit areas for the bills of August and September.
The waiver on water utility charges was aimed at facilitating the people heavily burdened by the challenges in the wake of flood.
The decision regarding continuation of the government’s facility in September to waive off Fuel Adjustment Charges for electricity consumers across the country on usage up to 300 units is also laudable but it would be most appropriate if FAC is waived off and not deferred as is being reported.
As crops have also been affected in the flood affected areas, the Government is also seized with the issue and the Prime Minister announced that a mechanism would be evolved to revive the crops of wheat and cotton.
No details are available but such a plan has the potential to address the woes of farmers who are worried about their prime source of livelihood with consequences for the overall economy and food security of the country.
The directions given by the Prime Minister to his cabinet colleagues and senior officials to visit the affected areas and contribute effectively in relief and rehabilitation operations would hopefully help strengthen the overall relief operations.
We hope provincial governments would emulate the good examples being set by the Prime Minister rising above political differences.
It is encouraging that the international community is displaying solidarity with Pakistan but it depends on the ability of our ministries and institutions concerned to gather necessary data, prepare studies and reports of sectoral losses and make arrangements for dissemination of the data and reports worldwide to raise greater awareness about the need to help victims of the climate change both on short and long term basis.