PM directs immediate evacuation of tourists on an emergent basis


KALAM: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday directed the relevant authorities to immediately evacuate tourists from the area who were left stranded there after the link roads were damaged by recent flash floods.

Upon the direction of the prime minister, a helicopter arrived there to airlift the tourists on an emergency basis. The prime minister directed for expediting the operation of shifting of the people to safe areas.

The prime minister arrived here to review the losses and rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts.

The prime minister also directed the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) to restore the damaged roads on an emergency basis.

On the occasion, the prime minister also met a number of people and tourists and inquired about their issues. He assured that the federal government would take all possible steps to assist them in this hour of need.

The prime minister said that he would be supervising all these measures.

Talking to people, the prime minister appreciated the residents for their assistance to the affected fellows. He said the government would not leave the affected people alone in these hard times.

The prime minister expressed his anguish as to why construction in the course of river was allowed.

He said it was not a suitable time for political criticism and assured that they would sit with the provinces who were like four brothers to devise a future course of action after a joint survey was completed over the estimated losses.

The prime minister said that after the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award of 2010, the income resources were distributed and a large chunk was given to provinces, while among the distributed award, the remaining amount was being spent by the federal government to pay salaries of its employees, the interest for the foreign debts, and meet other necessary expenditures.

Under the NFC award, the provinces had got resources, he said, adding that still the federal government would provide all possible support.

He said an amount of Rs28 billion was allocated by the federal government which was distributed among the flood affectees.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday announced Rs10 billion grant for the flood-affected populace of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as flood relief assistance.

Addressing a gathering of flood-affected people here, the prime minister said that the amount would be spent for the relief and rehabilitation of the flood-hit people of the province.

The federal government, National Disaster Management Authority and the provincial administration, through close coordination, would ensure transparency and immediate disbursement in the affected areas, he added.

The prime minister said earlier, the federal government had already announced Rs15 billion for Sindh province and Rs10 billion for Balochistan province respectively.

The prime minister opined that it was a collective responsibility of all the governments to work for the provision of relief to the flood-hit public and ensure that the allocated grants should be spent in a transparent manner and upon the deserving people.

“I will continue visiting the affected areas till the last affected person is rehabilitated,” he added.

The prime minister said that the latest reports were showing further damages caused by widespread flash floods across the country, adding about 5000kms roads were damaged.

He also appreciated the relevant authorities, provincial governments, NDMA, PDMA and armed forces for their rescue and relief activities.

All authorities concerned had been doing whatever was possible, in a coordinated manner, to alleviate the sufferings of the flood-affected people, he added.

The prime minister thanked the Army Chief and the Air Chief for the provision of air helicopters and assistance in the ongoing operations.

He assured that by tomorrow, all the trapped tourists would be evacuated from these areas.

In Sindh, KPK, Balochistan and Punjab provinces, colossal damages were reported, he said, adding, over a thousand lives were lost, and standing crops were completely destroyed. About 700,000 animals wer swept away while millions had been living under the open skies. Large-scale damage was caused to the houses and other connectivity infrastructure.

Earlier, the relevant authorities, apprised the prime minister of the losses and rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday directed the authorities concerned to rehabilitate the flood-hit roads and communications infrastructure by Friday and asked the Power Division to submit a report on work for power supply restoration since August 25.

The prime minister, who chaired an urgent meeting to review work on the rehabilitation of flood-damaged power and roads infrastructure, asked the Power Division to explain the reason behind delay, if any, in the restoration of power supply system.

He instructed for the revival of road connectivity between Kalam and Swat by next week and repairment of Balochistan’s power transmission network within next 48 hours.

The prime minister asked the Power Division to assign field duties to its joint secretaries and deputy secretaries as no officer should be sitting in the office till complete restoration of power supply network.

The prime minister summoned the urgent meeting soon after his arrival from the flood-hit areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to review the work by the Frontier Works Organization and other departments for rehabilitation of infrastructure and other damages.

Federal minister Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Khurram Dastgir Khan, FWO director general, National Highway Authority chairman and senior officers of the relevant ministries attended the meeting.

The meeting was briefed about the flood-caused losses to road infrastructure and ongoing rehabilitation work in Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and South Punjab.

Moreover, a detailed briefing was also given on the work for restoration of power supply transmission network. The prime minister instructed to accelerate the rehabilitation work of infrastructure and power transmission to ensure its early completion.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday assured the flood affectees that the federal coalition government would not rest till the rehabilitation of the last affected person.

Addressing a gathering of the affectees here, the prime minister said in this hour of trial, the federal coalition government, expressed its solidarity with the flood victims and assured them that they would stand with them in this hour of trial.

The federal government, National Disaster Management Authority, Provincial Disaster Management Authority and other relevant departments were there to serve the affectees and alleviate their sufferings, he added.

The prime minister said the government was providing Rs25,000 amount to each affected family, besides a compensation amount of Rs1 million for the deceased.

He further assured that the federal government would provide the required stuff including tents, food and other non-food items to the affected people.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz on Wednesday thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for condolences over the human and material losses caused by floods in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister, in a twitter post, expressed his confidence that with their characteristic resilience the people of Pakistan will In Sha Allah overcome the adverse effects of this natural calamity and rebuild their lives and communities. — APP