LAHORE - The business community expressed sympathy with the victims of earthquake in Pakistan as well as in other countries of South Asia, assuring its proactive support for provision of relief goods and their early rehabilitation.

As the country has been facing disasters in the shape of floods, earthquake, torrential rains and draught, the traders should come forward and heal the wounds of earthquake victims through public-private partnership in the hours of need. The trade bodies can establish disaster response team, consisting of volunteers for emergencies like this most recent earthquake. The trade bodies of the all South Asian countries can teamed up with their respective government agencies, training volunteers from all markets, trade centres at towns and district levels for immediate response to emergency like situation, as the present earthquake proved that disaster cannot be limited to one country or single nation, suggested Saarc CCI vice president Iftikhar Malik.

The chairman of Mumtaz Bakhtawar Memorial Hospital, which is sponsored by Guard Group, urged the business community to establish an emergency fund for its humanitarian workers, who could respond and help victims of earthquake and assess the damages on emergency basis. He said that the volunteers of this community-level disaster response team will provide clean water, food and shelter to those displaced by the earthquake.

All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran president Khalid Pervaiz observed that the emergency response teams should be specialized in providing life-saving food, water, shelter and health care. The traders-sponsored should first get experience of helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed.

PIAF Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that coming out of the immediate disaster, affectees will also need support getting back on their feet: rebuilding homes and schools, returning to work and processing the trauma.

He said the businessmen were grieved over the loss of precious lives and would extend all out assistance.