ISLAMABAD: Rainfall 500 percent heavier than usual triggered the worst floods in the country, claiming over 1,200 lives, washing away swathes of vital crops and damaging or destroying more than million homes, this was stated by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal.
Addressing a joint news conference with NDMA Chairman Lt-General Akhtar Nawaz, ISPR Director General Maj-Gen Babar Iftikhar after attending the maiden meeting of National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) in Islamabad on Saturday, Ahsan Iqbal said about 33 million people were affected by the powerful floodwaters throughout the country. “Heavy monsoon rainfall since mid-June have led to more than a third of the country now being underwater,” he added.
Ahsan Iqbal assured that the government will leave no stone unturned in bringing normalcy back to the lives of the flood-affected people of the country. The minister also made a fervent appeal to the international community, countrymen and expatriate Pakistanis to help Pakistan in this hour of need.
Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan is facing a massive climatic disaster and human tragedy, which is an outcome of environmental degradation. He pointed out that Pakistan’s carbon emissions are less than one percent but it is the seventh most vulnerable country for climatic disaster.
Ahsan Iqbal said the scale of devastation warrants a major humanitarian response for 33 million people affected by the floods. He said the government or any institution cannot single-handedly overcome this tragedy. He said the entire nation will have to get united to steer the country out of this challenge.
The minister also briefed the media about the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure of roads, power and telecommunication.
Giving the latest updates, NDMA Chairman Akhtar Nawaz said the calamity has so far killed 1,265 people and injured more than 1200. He said rescue and relief operation is continuing in flood-ravaged areas.
The NDMA chairman said they have provided 420,000 tents and keeping in view the heavy demand of tents, an effort has been made to build the capacity of tent manufacturing. He said 57,400 four hundred food packages have been distributed amongst the flood victims.
Akhtar Nawaz said there has been a good international response to the UN flash appeal for the assistance of flood-affected people.
He said 29 relief goods flights have been received over the last four days. These included ten from Turkey, eleven from the UAE, four from China, two from Qatar and one each from Uzbekistan and France. He said these flights carried goods such as 2,728 tents, ninety-eight tons food packages, fifty boats and fifty-six tons medicines.
Briefing the media about the rescue and relief activities being carried by the armed forces, Director General ISPR Major-General Babar Iftikhar said they are engaged in the rescue and relief efforts for the last two months.
He said, during this period, they have rescued the people and also provided them with relief items. He said Pakistan Army has established 147 relief camps wherein relief has been provided to 50,000 flood victims.
He said 83,000 victims have been provided with free medical treatment in the 250 medical camps.
Earlier, the first NFRCC meeting was informed of the latest flood situation in the country and the response measures taken to rescue and provide relief to the affected people. The attendees were also informed of the rehabilitation plan for the affected areas, communication, and infrastructure.