QADIRPUR - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed all the provincial governments and federal authorities for relief and rehabilitation of the flood affectees and asked them to be better prepared to meet new flood threats as more rains have been forecast.
He was talking to media at Qadirabad on Saturday after distributing relief items among flood-affected people and taking aerial view of the areas affected by flood in Ghotki. Earlier on his arrival at the Sukkur Airport, the prime minister was received by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah.
The PM was briefed about the flood situation while the authorities concerned also complained about lack of funds to improve the canal system and reinforcement of the embankments. The PM on the occasion said that besides Sindh, the recent rains have affected northern areas, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and some areas of the Balochistan province.
He said that more rains have been forecast for September therefore the federal and provincial governments should jointly work to meet the challenge. “In case water level increases due to predicted rains, we should be prepared to tackle the situation. Besides the Sindh government, I direct Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other provincial govts to make preparations. The federal government will see as to how it can assist the provinces in this regard,” said the PM said. When asked about the menace of terrorism, the prime minister said the government and security institutions were jointly working out a comprehensive policy on the issue. He stressed that it was a must that all stakeholders join hands to solve this problem as he pledged that his government would frame the security policy through a national consensus.
Regarding the Gadani Power Park Project, the PM said it would generate 6,600 megawatts of electricity through 10 plants. Some key decisions have been taken at the steering committee meeting held earlier in the day at Hub to ensure completion of the project on fast-track basis, he added.
To a question about the economic corridor linking Gwadar with China, the prime minister said that a Chinese team would visit Pakistan in a couple of days to discuss the project. The project is in preliminary stage as its alignment is being worked out, he added. He said that he wanted to launch the project as soon as possible because it was vital for the country’s progress and prosperity.
Prime Minister Nawaz during his media talk said that several families had been shifted to safer places after their villages were inundated. He expressed grief over the loss of nine lives and cattle in Sukkur area and sympathised with the aggrieved families. He however said that the losses were far lesser than those inflicted by the 2010 floods. He directed the authorities concerned to ensure provision of tents, ration and medicine to the affected families.
The floodwater has submerged more than 400 villages of Ghotki, Kashmor, Kandhkot, Pannu Akil, Sukkur, Khairpur, Shikarpur, Larkana and Nowsheroferoz districts. At Sukkur barrage the level of water in River Indus is increasing rapidly. Around 510,000 cusecs water was presently passing through the barrage.
The flow of water however has dropped to 374,000 cusecs at Guddu Barrage after a high flood. The irrigation department is busy in repairing the embankments eroded by the floodwater. The embankments affected by the flood include Old Tori Bund, KK Bund, Qadir Pur Loop Bund, Nusrat Loop Bund, Begari Bund, Aqil Agani Bund, Ali Wahan Bund and Qureshi Bund.
River Chenab is in high flood at Punjnad Headworks. The river is in high flood at Jalalpur area of Multan district and Sheher Sultan and Ali Pur areas of Muzaffargarh district. Flood has hit over 275 villages of Multan and Muzaffargarh districts where emergency was declared. High flood in river Sutlej has inundated 41 villages of Burewala and Mailsi tehsils in Vehari district. Flash flood in river Ravi has hit the Kabirwala and Abdul Hakim areas of Khanewal district where several villages were inundated.
Sindh Disaster Management Authority DG Syed Salman Shah said on Saturday that people stranded in riverine areas were being shifted by boats to safer places. He said special camps have been established for the affected people.
Meanwhile, provincial minister for Revenue‚ Relief and Rehabilitation, Makhdoom Jameeluz Zaman has appealed to the people to voluntarily remove encroachments on protective bunds. He made the appeal at a briefing on flood situation during his visit to SM Bund in Matiari. The minister said these encroachments were posing a danger to thousands of lives. He directed local administration to register FIRs against the encroachers.