Emergency declared in flood-hit areas amid fresh forecast

n PM says all provinces will have to work together n Shehbaz Sharif directs release of Rs5 billion to NDMA n Orders authorities to take measures in advance ahead of ‘new rains spell in flood-hit areas’.

ISLAMABAD/ROJHAN/ DERA GHAZI KHAN    –   The federal government on the direction of Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Friday declared emergency in the country’s rain and flood hit areas.

The prime minister also directed the ministry of finance to immediately release Rs5 billion to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

According to a press release issued by the PM Media Wing, the prime minister was presiding over a meeting held here to review the flood situation, which was attended by federal ministers, advisors, members of parliament, chief secretaries of all provinces including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, Chairman NDMA and Director General Met Office.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister was briefed in detail about the ongoing rescue and relief operations in the country. Describing the rescue, relief and rehabilitation of the flood-hit people as a national obligation, he said, “We have to help masses beyond our political interests.”

The prime minister said that during his visit to the flood affected areas he talked about unity and national cohesion so that this big challenge could be tackled collectively.

The prime minister also constituted a high-level committee to ensure effective rescue and relief activities through coordination between NDMA and the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs).

The committee will comprise Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Communication Maulana Asad Mahmood, Minister for Housing and Works Maulana Abdul Wasay, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Advisor to PM on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira, Chairman NDMA and Secretary Communication.

He said that the committee should hold its meeting today (Friday) and give suggestions for better coordination between federal and provincial institutions. The prime minister said that in view of the climate change, there was a need to formulate medium-term and long-term policies.

He called upon the provincial governments to send authentic information and reports to the federal government so as to assess the damages caused by rains and flood at the earliest.

The prime minister said that in order to avoid rain and flood related losses in future, there was a need of converting all the development projects in line with the climate change priorities.

The committees comprising federal ministers, who visited the flood affected areas, briefed the meeting about the problems regarding rescue and relief.

In his televised remarks at the meeting, the prime minister said that his visits to the flood-hit areas were meant to identify the gaps and address the lack of coordination, if there was any, to tackle the challenge through collective efforts.

He said no doubt the flash floods had badly hit the Balochistan province where logistics the rehabilitation efforts was a challenge owing to widely scattered population.

He said the joint survey was inevitable to make the government assess the damages and pay compensation for the damaged structures and other losses.

He said after disbursement of the funds under National Finance Commission to the provinces, the federal government was left with meagre resources to pay debts and meet other expenditures. However, the resources would have to be generated to cope with the challenge, he added.

Reiterating his call for collective efforts, the prime minister asked the NDMA and PDMA as well as the communications ministry to carry out the repair and rehabilitation works of emergency nature without indulging into the matter debate of jurisdiction as the expenses could later be adjusted mutually between the respective provinces or authorities.

“It is not about you and me. It is about us. All provinces will have to work collectively. It is an urgent matter. This is national and noble cause. We will have to set aside our political ambitions. We will be doing politics but at later stage,” he commented.

He said the people would be praying for their political leaders if they paid due attention to their relief and rehabilitation otherwise the situation would deteriorate if they (politicians) indulged in criticising each other

Also, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Friday that the government would actively carry out relief work in the flood-hit areas till the rehabilitation of all victims.

Addressing a public gathering in Rojhan, he said the federal government was committed to facilitate the flood-hit people in collaboration with the provincial government. The prime minister said the government under its prime vision to serve the masses would extend all possible assistance to the people who suffered losses due to the recent floods.

He directed the departments concerned to be vigilant in the wake of upcoming rain-spells to avoid further loss of human life, property and livestock. He instructed early disbursement of compensation money among the flood-hit people, saying the federal government had increased the cash assistance for the injured people from Rs 25,000 to Rs 250,000.

He also announced the compensation of Rs 0.5 million each for both mud and concrete houses damaged completely and Rs 0.2 million each for partially hit ones.

PM Shehbaz said, “The affected people are looking towards the government for mitigation of their sufferings and stress, and any negligence in the supply of food, medicines, and accommodation to them will not be tolerated.”

He emphasised on extending a uniform level of facilitation to the flood victims across the country and ordered to ensure proper cleaning, sanitation, and fumigation in the affected areas for averting spread of diseases and provision of clean drinking water to control gastric diseases.

He stressed on the need for a joint survey by federal and provincial governments to assess the damages in the wake of floods. The prime minister said the federal government was committed to provide relief to the people affected by floods and ensuring their early rehabilitation.

He said both the federal and provincial governments were working round the clock to provide relief to the affected population. The prime minister earlier had an aerial view of the area to see the devastation caused by the heavy rains.

On this occasion, the PM was given a briefing by the authorities concerned regarding the ongoing relief and rehabilitation work in the area, including the supply of food, drinking water and basic health facilities to the displaced people staying at temporary shelters.

The prime minister was informed about the provision of mobile hospitals and allied facilities to the affected local population. It was told that an initial survey had been submitted with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.

Federal Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, Special Adviser Ataullah Tarar, Member of the National Assembly Sardar Riaz Mehmood Khan Mazari, Aslam Bhootani and National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Lt Gen Akhtar Nawaz accompanied the prime minister.

‘New rains spell’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday urged upon the departments concerned to take measures in advance to cater to new rain spells in the flood-affected areas.

During his visit to the flood-hit areas of south Punjab including Dera Ghazi Khan, Rojhan and Rajanpur, he called the need for joint survey by federal and provincial governments to assess the damages in the wake of floods.

The prime minister said the federal government was committed to provide relief to the people affected by floods and ensure their early rehabilitation. He emphasised on ensuring that the compensation be disbursed among the victims.

‘Disbursement of compensation money’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday stressed early disbursement of compensation money among the floods-affected people.

During his visit to the flood-hit Rojhan in south Punjab, he said every possible relief and rehabilitation facilities would be provided to the flood victims. He emphasized the need for a joint survey by federal and provincial governments to assess the damages in the wake of floods.

PM Sharif said the federal government was committed to providing relief to the people affected by floods and ensuring their early rehabilitation. The prime minister earlier had an aerial view of the area to see the devastation caused by the heavy rains. He, on the occasion, was given a briefing by the authorities concerned regarding the ongoing relief and rehabilitation work in the area including the supply of food, drinking water and basic health facilities to the displaced people staying at temporary shelters.

The prime minister was informed about provision of mobile hospitals and allied facilities to affected locals. Also, the initial survey has been submitted with Provincial Disaster Management Authority.

Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) in an advisory issued on Friday revealed that the monsoon currents continuously penetrating in the country likely to become stronger from August 10 and would bring more rains in the country in the coming days.

The PMD has advised the authorities to remain alert of the chances of increased water level in the catchment areas of rivers, flash flooding and landslides in the vulnerable places.

Rain-wind/thundershower with isolated heavy falls is expected in Kashmir, Islamabad, northeast Punjab, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eastern Balochistan and southeastern Sindh from August 6 to 9 with occasional gaps.

Rain-wind/thundershower with scattered heavy falls are expected in Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and parts of Balochistan from August 10-13 with occasional gaps.

Heavy rains may generate urban flooding in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Faisalabad, Lahore and Gujranwala on August 8 and from August 10-12.

Flash flooding is expected in local nullahs of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Shakargarh, Sialkot, Narowal, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Dir, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Bannu and Kashmir on August 08 and from August 10-12.

Heavy rains may generate urban flooding in Karachi, Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas from August 11-13.

Flash flooding is expected in Qilla Saifullah, Loralai, Barkhan, Kohlu, Mosa Khel, Sherani, Sibbi, Bolan, Kalat, Khuzdar, Lasbella, Awaran, Turbat, Panjgur, Pasni, Jiwani, Ormara, Gwadar and hill torrents of Dera Ghazi Khan during the forecast period.

Catchment areas of Ravi, Jhelum and Chenab may receive heavy downpour causing water level to rise significantly during the forecast period.

Rainfall may trigger landslides in Kashmir, hilly areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Galiyat, Murree, Chillas, Diamir, Gilgit, Hunza, Astore, Ghizer and Skardu during the forecast period.

Travelers and tourists are advised to remain more cautious during the forecast period. All concerned authorities are advised to remain alert and to take necessary precautionary measure during the forecast period.

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