ISLAMABAD  - Prime Minister Justice (retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso has assigned Earthquake Relief and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) to undertake reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in the recent earthquake affected areas for post-disaster recovery in consultation with the Balochistan government.

The PM issued these directives to relevant authorities while presiding over a high-level meeting to review the progress on development projects, assessment of recent earthquake and recruitment in the federal government against the qouta of Balochistan here at the PM's House on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by Dr. Musadiq Malik, Federal Minister for Water and Power, Chairman WAPDA, Raghib Abbas Shah, Acting Chairman ERRA, Maj General M. Azeem Asif, Chairman NDMA, Maj General M. Saeed Ali, senior officials of the Balochistan government, representatives of the planning division and senior officials of the Prime Minister's Secretariat.

During the meeting the Prime Minister was informed that in line with the policy of providing gas in the areas where it is explored, the federal government is planning four schemes for provision of gas connections to the locals in the area of Jafferabad, Jhal Magsi and Naseerabad.

The Chairman WAPDA briefed the meeting about the progress made so far in the construction of Kacchi canal. He informed that funds were now available and work was being carried out in full swing because of enhanced working hours.

He further said that the focus was on the strengthening of structures in the canal so that it could withstand hill torrents, which had caused havocs during recent floods.

He also informed the meeting that Ministry of Water and Power is planning to construct a grid station affected by floods at Sobatpoor. This, he said will help in improving the electricity distribution in the province. The Wapda Chairman told the PM that people of Jafferabad, Jhal Magsi and Naseerabad areas are being given priority in provision of electricity connections.

The Prime Minister was informed that total population of Sub Division Mashkhel is estimated 50,000. The earthquake affected area range between 20-25 kms. 85-90% mud structures were weakened by unusual pre earthquake. The structural damages (all type) can range from 2000-5000.

Deputy Chairman ERRA Maj. Gen M. Azeem Asif informed the PM that Mashkhel is a remote area bordering Iran which was recently struck by an earthquake leading to 13 deaths and damage to property. The Army immediately started rescue and relief operation and the first rescue team reached Mashkhel within three hours.

Since the earthquake struck during daytime the loss was minimal as it was 7.8 in magnitude and deep and people had gone out for work. 

Reporting on the damage caused in the area, the Deputy Chairman informed the meeting that 85% of the houses, 90% of commercial property and 70% of public property has been damaged in Mashkhel.

Recounting the challenges faced by the rescue teams, the Deputy Chairman said that dust storms, inaccessibility because of lack of road links and coverage of large area by Hamun-e-Mashkhel Lake posed difficulties in the rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the area.

The Prime Minister was informed that a high level delegation comprising representatives of ERRA, NDMA and senior officials of the Balochistan government visited Mashkhel to assess damage and chalk out a plan to begin rehabilitation in the area.

The Prime Minister directed that tents should be provided to the people of Mashkhel for temporary shelter.

The Prime Minister also approved the proposal to provide cash grant to the 2500/3000 affected families to construct their property on their own. These buildings would be constructed as per specification provided by ERRA and their own monitored by them.

The Prime Minister was also informed that the Establishment Division was working on a plan to fill the vacancies in the federal Government against quota of Balochistan.