PM announces 2.5 times hike in BISP flood relief aid touching Rs70b

F.P. Report
QAMBAR SHAHDAD KOT: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said the government had decided to increase the flood relief assistance under Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) from the existing Rs28 billion to Rs70 billion.
The 2.5 times increase in the volume of the assistance programme has been made in view of the gross damages of infrastructure and crops in the wake of flash floods. Speaking during his visit to the relief camp set up in Qambar Shahdad Kot, he said the country witnessed unprecedented loss due to floods. PM Sharif mentioned that the compensation amount of Rs25,000 was being given to each flood-affected family to help them recover their financial losses.
He expressed concern that the cotton crop in the flood-hit areas of Sindh, which was means of livelihood for locals, was entirely damaged by floods. He said joint efforts at the national level were need of the hour to mitigate the suffering of the flood-affected people. He said provision of shelter to the displaced persons was direly needed, adding that the government had placed the order for the purchase of seven million tents.
Medical camps, he said, had also been set up at the relief camps to avert the spread of diseases. The prime minister expressed gratitude to the friendly countries for extending assistance to Pakistan following the flood losses. He said the magnitude of the disaster was bigger than the capacity of the country to effectively cope. He urged the nation including intelligentsia and media to focus on the flood situation and set aside highlighting politics for the later times. PM Sharif interacted with the affected people at the relief camp and distributed among them cheques of compensation money.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif eulogized the efforts of all those officials and workers of National Highway Authority and a female assistant commissioner of Machh who are working hard to restore the communication infrastructure damaged during the recent floods in Balochistan.
The prime minister who visited Quetta on Sunday and later took an aerial view of the flood-hit areas in Balochistan tweeted today: “During my visit to Balochistan, I met Assistant Commissioner Machh Ayesha Zehri and the officials and workers of NHA who are working diligently for the restoration of highways, public works and infrastructure after the flood. You all are the heroes of the nation and the entire nation including me is proud of you.” During his visit to Balochistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz also announced a grant of Rs5 million relief for the labourers working to restore the highway and another Rs1m grant for those working on the restoration of a major pipeline supplying gas to Quetta and other areas.
He also announced Rs3m for labourers who have restored the Bibi Nani bridge. PM Shehbaz also appreciated Machh AC Ayesha Zehri for her finest efforts during the flood. He himself went to meet the brave daughter of Balochistan and elevated her spirits with a round of applause. Ayesha showed her best performance during the disastrous times of the flood in different areas of Machh.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also directed the authorities concerned to prepare a robust National Flood Control Plan after due diligence and consulting with international experts in the field. The Prime Minister also directed to constitute a committee to present a viable plan for the improvement of the drainage system in the country in order to minimise the damages inflicted by floods in the future.
He gave these directions while chairing the first meeting of the National Flood Response & Coordination Centre (NFRCC) at Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority (ERRA) Headquarters here. He said an efficient drainage system and disaster-resistant infrastructure were critical to protecting the country against natural disasters.
The Prime Minister asked the provincial chief secretaries to ensure effective implementation of the zoning laws and regulations on land use in the river bed to avoid any such catastrophe in the future. The Prime Minister emphasised, “A joint survey by the representatives of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs), Pakistan Army Engineering Corp and provincial revenue departments is being done to ascertain credible data on the scale of losses to life, property and infrastructure inflicted by the recent rains and floods in all parts of the country in order to expedite and further coordinate various relief efforts being made to address the historic calamity.”
Earlier the Prime Minister was briefed by National Flood Response & Coordination Centre (NFRCC) team. He was informed that NFRCC was implementing a three-pronged strategy of rescue, relief and rehabilitation to effectively minimise the damages caused by the historic rains and floods in the country, especially in Sindh and Balochistan. It is important to mention that the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC) was set up on the direction of the Prime Minister to coordinate the flood relief efforts of the federal and provincial departments in order to cope with the damages done by this historic climate change-induced natural calamity.