October 3, 2022

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said unprecedented floods in the country had caused heavy losses to lives and infrastructure and emphasized putting in place a sustainable system to cope with the challenges of climate change.

The prime minister said trillions were required to carry out relief and rehabilitation activities in the flood-hit areas, while vowing to carry out the entire process as transparently as possible.

Addressing the locals and flood-affected people after reviewing the restoration work at Saggu Bridge, the prime minister said the country was grappling with an unprecedented flood situation that resulted in the loss of lives, infrastructure and crops.

Read: Death toll from floods reaches 1,343 as 18 more die

He furthered that with the assistance provided by a philanthropist, the first 100 prefabricated houses having two rooms and a toilet would be built in Dera Ismail Khan to accommodate widows and orphans in the first phase.

The premier added that the houses would be built in two weeks and he would personally visit the site to assess if the project could be replicated by the government in other parts of the country.

He recalled that during his previous visit to Tank and DI Khan after the floods, the people were in the phase of rehabilitation till the floods hit them twice.

He lauded the politicians, local administration, and armed forces for acting in unison while contributing their efforts to the rescue and rehabilitation of the affected people across the country.

The prime minister said it was the time to rise above politics and demonstrate the spirit of service and welfare for the people.

He said the coalition government has also increased the amount of relief money under the Benazir Income Support Programme from Rs 28billion to Rs 70billion for flood-affected people.

Read: Rescue operation underway around Manchhar lake

Shehbaz further said that every affected household would be provided Rs25,000 in a transparent way to help them mitigate their sufferings. Besides, Rs1 million would be given as compensation money to the relatives of the deceased.

The prime minister outlined the damages to crops and livestock by floods which earlier used to be the means of livelihood for the locals.

He said the government had ordered the purchase of 0.2 million tents with an aim to provide shelter to the homeless.

PM Shehbaz further lauded the efforts of Communication Minister Maulana Asad ur Rehman and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for putting their efforts into pacing up the relief and rehabilitation activities in flood-hit areas.

He also acknowledged the donations sent by the friendly countries to help Pakistan overcome the challenges in the wake of the floods.

Earlier, the prime minister was briefed about the damages incurred to people and infrastructure due to heavy floods.

The Deputy Commissioner DI Khan in his briefing said the heavy rains from August 17 to 27 wreaked havoc in the Dera Ismail Khan district with 70 per cent of the population affected by the floods.

Read: Killing of livestock in floods likely to trigger meat, milk shortage

He said the hill torrents from west to east swept away a large area before falling into the Indus River, adding that the challenges included permanent rehabilitation of people after their temporary shelter.

The National Highway Authority (NHA) official apprised the prime minister that the 600-kilometre long N-55 DI Khan-Razmak was restored in two days, while the N-35 Karakoram Highway up to Kuchal Nullah towards Kohistan was restored by Frontier Works Organization.

The prime minister also visited the Saggu Bridge which had been swept away due to flash floods. He was informed that the bridge in the first torrential wave was restored within two days, however, the work was in progress since the second wave hit.

The prime minister also met the workers deployed on the restoration of Saggu Bridge and appreciated their hard work.

UAE charities join hands for Pakistan

Meanwhile, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), nine local humanitarian organizations have joined hands to launch a joint initiative to provide assistance to the flood victims in Pakistan.

Titled, ‘We Stand Together’, the initiative was launched by the Emirates Red Crescent Authority, Dubai Cares and Sharjah Charity Association.

Thousands of emergency relief kits will be dispatched under the initiative for the flood-hit regions in Pakistan.

The relief kits will include food supplies, comprising grains and pulses and other non-perishable items. Other than that, hygiene kits will also be delivered for women and children.

Citizens, expatriates, families and children have all been encouraged to sign up for the community volunteering event that will take place simultaneously across three locations in the UAE on Sunday.

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