islamabad            -          Prime Minister’s Focal Person on ‘Panahgahs’ NaseemurRehman Sunday said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had provided 1,000 face masks to six shelter homes of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to help its dwellers in the fight against COVID-19.

“With the number of returning daily wage earners increasing gradually, our prime focus is to ensure regular medical supplies for twin cities’ shelter homes,” NaseemurRehman told the media here during his routine visit to the panahgah, located at Sector G-9 of Islamabad.

He said the panahgah management had been striving to improve the basic services beyond bed and breakfast to include water, sanitation and hygiene for promoting healthy lives. “We are committed to do everything to support the low income families’ bread earners who are forced to work in field despite the cases of coronavirus rising with each passing day.”

The focal person said significant attention was being given to keep panahgahs clean. “Pandemic presents us with the greatest responsibility and our team is doing their best to rise up to the challenge,” NaseemurRehman remarked.

“Panagahs in Islamabad and Rawalpindi are leading the way in the observance of COVID-19 standard operating procedures, with provision of effective health care and essential services such as masks, soaps, sanitisers, hand-washing stations and strict adherence to social distancing.”

 He informed the media that 10 hand-washing booths had been installed at different panahgahs to help stem the spread of infection with clear cut instructions to the service providers and meal servers to act as role models by regularly washing their hands to promote the hand-hygiene among its residents.

“It is not easy to reinforce social distancing, especially at the overcrowded places, such as Panahgahs so we have accelerated awareness campaign on the ground by mobilising service providers and meal servers through a training programme to practice the key precautionary steps,” he noted.

Recent steps by the government to reopen the construction and selected business activities had given an impetus to the return of daily wage earners in the post Eid scenario, he noted.

 The sixpanagahs served over 20,000 needy and poor during the week with food and lodging to around 3,000 persons.

Talking to APP, Hamza Khan, a labourer from Mardan said: “The signboard  ofpanahgah has emerged as the beacon of hope for the poor migrant workers who in the past did not know where they will spend the night as they make it to the city in search of livelihood.”