PM vows utilizing all-out resources to rescue, relocate the flood affected

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NOWSHERA: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday directed the authorities concerned to utilize all-out resources for immediate rescue and relocation of the flood-hit population.

The prime minister, who arrived here to review the rescue and relief activities in the flood-ravaged areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was briefed about the flood situation in Kabul River.

Chief Secretary Khyber Pakthunkhwa Dr Shehzad Bangash, Deputy Commissioner Nowshera, NDMA and PDMA’s authorities briefed the prime minister about the ongoing rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations in Nowshera district following the devastative floods of the August 27 that wreaked havoc to people’s lives and properties besides infrastructure, standing crops, gardens and livestock.

During the briefing at Mardan Bridge, the authorities concerned apprised him of the ongoing rescue and relief operation as well as other facilities being provided to the displaced people at the relief camps.

It was told that medical camps had also been established to provide required medical support to the flood victims staying at camps as well as at their own houses.

He was informed that 70 relief and 11 medical camps were established for flood victims at tehsils Jhangira, Pabbi and Nowshera and assistance was being provided to the affectees. The prime minister was informed that the stoppage of Tarbela Dam’s water had helped passing of the flow of floods in River Kabul without causing further losses.

At the relief camp, he interacted with the people staying at the shelter camps and showed affection to the children.

He assured them that the government would provide them with all possible facilities at the camps and resolved not to leave them alone. He said the federal government, in collaboration with the Pakistan Army, was striving to provide maximum relief to the affected people.

He said that the federal government was providing Rs25 cash assistance each among the flood-hit families across the country to enable them to meet their immediate needs. Moreover, Rs 1 million each would also be given to the families who had lost their dear ones.

The prime minister was accompanied by federal ministers Marriyum Aurangzeb and Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Adviser to PM Engineer Amir Muqam, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz KP Spokesman and Member Provincial Assembly, Ikhtiar Wali Khan and other party leaders.

Later, the prime minister left for Charsadda where he would interact with the flood victims and distribute cheques of cash assistance among the flood victims.

Later, he is also scheduled to visit the site of Mohmand Dam where he would be briefed about the progress on project’s execution.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday assured that the coalition government would not sit idle until all of the flood-stricken people were rehabilitated, and urged the philanthropists to rise for supporting the distressed countrymen.

The prime minister, talking to the newsmen during his visit to the relief camp established for the flood victims, said the Allah Almighty had blessed the affluent people with great resources which needed to be spent for relief and rehabilitation of the flood-ravaged people.

He urged the philanthropists to arrange food, medicine, clothes or cash for the flood victims as a great service to the humanity as millions of Pakistanis were look towards them.

The prime minister said the flash floods had killed around 242 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and left hundreds of the people injured besides destroying hundreds of thousands of houses.

He also mentioned the crumbled building in Swat, Kalam and Dir areas located at the river banks due to the torrential rains.

He said all including the federal, provincial and regional governments, the Pakistan Army, the National Disaster Management Authority and provincial disaster management authorities had been collectively putting in their efforts for rescue, relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims.

The prime minister said that the federal government had allocated Rs 28 billion to disburse Rs25,000 each among the flood affected families across the country, through the Benazir Income Support Program. He assured that the federal government would also provide more funds if required.

Moreover, he said the federal government was also providing Rs 1 million each for the families of those who lost their lives in the flash floods.

Prime Minister Sharif said the torrential rains and flash floods had affected 33 million people across the country. The troops of the Pakistan Army had rescued around 200,000 people and the rehabilitation of the road infrastructure was also underway by the NDMA and PDMAs.

“This is not the time to do politicking. This is time to support the distressed people for rehabilitation of their houses,” he added.

Referring to his interaction with the leadership of Turkey, Iran and UAE, the prime minister said the aid from the friendly countries had started pouring in, besides the assurance from the UK, World Bank, World Food Program and other international organizations.

He said he would visit flood-hit Kohistan, Swat and Dir areas and also hinted at declaring those as calamity-hit areas considering the magnitude of the destruction.

Earlier, the prime minister also visited the relief camp and interacted with the flood-affected people and assured them of the government’s all-out support for their relief and rehabilitation. He also distributed cheques for cash relief assistance among the flood victim families.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Monday stressed that there was need to immediately shift country’s power generation capacity to solar and wind power production systems as the costly power generation was continuously depleting the national exchequer.

During a briefing at the Mohmand Dam site, the prime minister said Pakistan had been facing a very acute problem of expensive power generation due to import of expensive fuels, and then subsidizing it for the consumers.

He said it was three-tier losses to the national exchequer, as the country had been importing costly fuels for the power generation and then reducing the cost of the power for the consumers.

The prime minister referring to the timely completion of the hydel power projects, opined that these hydel power projects and tapping of other natural resources like solar and wind ‘are our future and we need to immediately shift to that direction, otherwise the economy will continue bleeding annually’.

The prime minister also expressed his serious concerns over the damages caused to dykes and the construction site of the dam in the recent floods, and said that would delay its completion time and could hamper country’s progress.

He said the construction of dam was carried out by the Chinese and Pakistani people, and it would generate 800 MWs of inexpensive power besides, helping in water reservation and providing protection against flash flooding.

The prime minister also appreciated China as a best friend of Pakistan, and said they had complete confidence in its support.

About the recent floods, he reiterated that with collective efforts and support of the people, they would overcome the losses.

It was important to understand that the government had to provide affordable hydel power to the consumers and industries, and if the production was costly due to expensive fuels import, it would continue to cause colossal losses, he added.

The prime minister cautioned that the national exchequer and resources would not be sufficed to meet such expensive production of power.

For the production of power with the help of solar and wind power systems, the natural resources should be tapped, like construction of dams which would be helpful in the storage of water.

Underlining the need for timely completion of dams, he said country’s progress prosperity and economic development hinged upon their full and timely functioning.

The prime minister directed the relevant authorities to investigate the matter of impacts caused by recent flood by hiring an independent third party.

He said there was need to look into the factors as to why dams were breached with floods and what steps would be taken to avoid such damages in future along with devising a future roadmap.

The prime minister expressing his concerns said that such thing had happened in the Neelum-Jhelum power project and now occurred here due to floods.

He said in the Neelum-Jhelum project, they had decided to hire independent consultants to thoroughly investigate the issue in a transparent manner. — APP