MIRPUR (AJK)-The authorities engaged in rescue and relief operations in the earthquake devastated Mirpur and adjoining areas on Friday claimed to have completed 99.9 percent of rescue and over 90 percent of relief operations in the catastrophe-hit areas.

Briefing media about the progress made so far in the ongoing hectic relief and rehabilitation activities, head of the five-member AJK Parliamentary Committee on Relief and Rehabilitation and AJK minister for Disaster Management and Civil Defense Ahmed Raza Qadri, said that out of a total of 66,000 damaged residential and commercial buildings, 11,000 buildings have so far been visited vis-à-vis assessed losses incurred. These included 3,491 partially and 933 full damaged buildings.

Commissioner Mirpur Division and Relief Commissioner Ch Muhammad Tayyeb, Chairman Assessment of Damaged property and DC Bhimbher Sardar Khalid Mahmood Khan, Director General AJK Press Information Department Raja Azhar Iqbal, PID Divisional Head Javed Malik, Mirpur DC M Tahir, Director Works MDHA Ch Amjad Iqbal, Deputy Director AJK State Disaster Management Authority Muazzam Zafar and other officials of the divisional and district administrations were also present on the occasion.

Our AJK Correspondent Altaf Hamid Rao reported from Mirpur that the AJK government constituted the parliamentary relief and rehabilitation committee, comprising the ministers including Ahmed Raza Qadri, Waqar Ahmed Noor, Sardar Farooq Sikander, Raja Muhammad Sideeque and Ch Rukhsar Ahmed - aimed at assessing the loss and compiling an integrated report on the losses and look after the reconstruction and rehabilitation process in the quake-hit zone. Former AJK minister and ex-MLA from Mirpur city Ch Muhammad Saeed was also present on the occasion.

Mr Qadri asserted that the AJK government distributed at least 1,100 tents by October 03 in the quake-hit areas for those rendered shelter-less in the deadly earthquake. Besides the relief goods disbursed among the affected people including 10,000 bags full of dry food among at least 2,000 affected families.

At least 22 relief teams in nine quake-hit zones headed by Assistant Commissioners have so far left to assess the loss of the buildings visiting door to door in the quake-hit areas. The teams, comprising engineers, would determine the status of the buildings for further use or no-use of the buildings.

To a question, Qadri said that financial relief of Rs0.5 million each by the governments of Pakistan and AJK has so far been disbursed to the heirs of those martyred in the earthquake.

He disclosed that financial compensation for losses to property is being determined by the AJK government under the National Calamity Act for the disbursement of due financial relief to the affected people.

To a question, the head of the parliamentary relief and rehabilitation committee said that National Disaster and Management Authority is being approached to determine the latest procedure for removing the structures of the badly damaged buildings in the quake-hit areas. These proposed procedures included controlled blasting and removal of debris through heavy machinery including cranes and excavators.