BILAL HABIB & BAQAUL MOHSIN

RAHIM YAR KHAN/BAHAWALPUR - A huge flood can come in the Indus if flow of water increased, said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday during a flood briefing at Chachran Sharif, around 70 kilometres from Rahim Yar Khan.

Sharif said that luckily there has been no large loss of lives during this year’s floods and expressed sorrow over some deaths in some areas of the country. He said that flood in Chitral was not caused by rains rather it occurred due to melting of glaciers.

The administration officials under the lead of the DCO took the PM in an ‘arranged’ relief camp where the prime minister addressed those present. MNAs Shaikh Fayyazuddin, Mr Arshad Laghari and Ms Maiza Hameed along with Punjab chief secretary and Rahimyar Khan Commissioner were also present on the occasion.

On the other hand, police badly manhandled scores of flood affected persons who wanted to meet the prime minister to tell him about their miseries. Earlier, the visit of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to Chachran Sharif scheduled for Thursday was cancelled and the flood affected people gathered there for relief went back in disappointment after staging a protest.

Rahim Yar Khan DCO Captain (r) Zafar Iqbal in the briefing told the PM that 66 Mozas (villages) and 56,000 people living there have been affected in the flood while around 41,400 acres of crops have been destroyed. He added that 34,715 locals have been rescued and shifted to safe locations, and 53,809 cattle have been vaccinated.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his address said that said he understands that it was not easy to live under the open sky and when the people leave their houses during flood they face great difficulties. However, he said, when government provides relief and aid to the affected people, it helps them forget their pain.

He told the affectees that he reached to visit them as soon as knew about the flooding in the area to make sure that effective measures were in place. He added that Punjab chief minister would also visit them soon and make sure that proper relief and rehabilitation efforts continue.

The prime minister instructed Punjab chief secretary to arrange more boats for flood affected people and said that existing arrangements were made before the flood came. He assured the people that even helicopters would be arranged to rescue the flood-hit people if needed.

He said he has a very good team to face the challenge of floods however irrigation department also had made good arrangements in this regard. He encouraged the rescue teams working in flooded areas and advised them to work with more determination for this noble cause. The PM on the occasion also announced Rs40 million sewerage scheme for Chachran Sharif.

He expressed satisfaction over the measure taken by the local administration for rescuing the flood victims and relief work done in the affected areas and directed for taking further precautionary measures in case river water surges again or there are more rains in the area.

The prime minister also visited the medical camps established at the flood relief camps where he observed the medical facilities being provided to the flood victims and directed authorities to also provide daily use items to the flood victims. The prime minister was informed that 21 flood relief camps have been set up in the district to cater to the needs of 56,000 affected people.

He was also briefed about the vulnerable sites in the district and informed that measures have been taken to control erosion of embankments by reinforcing the existing structures. The prime minister appreciated the timely steps taken by local authorities, due to which there has been no casualty in the flood affected district so far. He instructed that all resources should be mobilised to provide relief to the people and no slackness on the part of any official in this regard will be tolerated.