PM directs payment to heirs of flood victims

F.P. Report
QUETTA: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here on Monday directed for timely payment to the heirs of persons who died in the floods in Balochistan. He was chairing a meeting after visiting the areas affected by the floods in Killa Saifullah and Chaman.
The PM also ordered that in view of the complaints of the affectees, negligence in providing assistance to the people in Killa Saifullah should not be repeated. He further said that the medicines and food items should be handed over to the affectees on priority basis.
Shehbaz Sharif also directed that all the record of provision of assistance to the affectees should be kept intact. Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo thanked the prime minister for visiting the flood hit areas.
He assured that the provincial government would keep informed the Prime Minister Office about the relief and rehabilitation work, and implementation of directions of the prime minister would be ensured. Federal ministers Marriyum Aurangzeb, Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti and Sardar Israr Tareen, and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman were present in the meeting.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also ordered strict action against the provincial administration over negligence in ensuring the availability of food and drinking water at the tent city set up to accommodate the flood-affected people.
The prime minister issued the directive during his visit to the tent city in the Khusnob area of Qila Saifullah district, saying that negligence over relief and rescue operations would not be tolerated. Talking to journalists, PM Sharif expressed regret over the plight of displaced persons who faced unavailability of edible items at relief camps and were left with no other option but to travel back to their homes to get food.
He said loopholes had been identified regarding the lack of a record-keeping system at the medical relief system at camps and stressed addressing the issue at the earliest. He expressed grief over the death of eight children at the relief camps and extended condolences to their families over their loss.
The prime minister also directed the authorities concerned to ensure the disbursement of compensation money to the flood-affected people of Balochistan within 24 hours. He mentioned that torrential rains led to heavy loss of lives and infrastructure in Balochistan, for which the federal government was determined to extend every possible assistance to the provincial government.
He asked the National Disaster and Management Authority (NDMA) and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to pace up relief and rescue operations to best facilitate the victims and conduct a joint survey of damaged houses and crops. Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo said though the provincial government had ensured the availability of food rations for one month for the tent city, however, said, an inquiry would be conducted to find out the case of unavailability of food and water at the relief camps.
He said the District Commissioner of any flood-affected area, where negligence was reported, would be suspended immediately. Federal Minister for Housing Maulana Abdul Wasay said the government would make every effort to rehabilitate the displaced people due to floods.
Chief Secretary Balochistan Abdul Aziz Aqeeli and Chairman NDMA Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz briefed the prime minister about the damage incurred by torrential rains in Balochistan. It was informed that four camps with medical facilities had been set up for flood-affected people and a tube well system in the area was functioning with solar energy to meet the water needs. It was highlighted that in 30 years, Balochistan witnessed an average of 500 percent more rains after the pre-monsoon spell commenced on June 13. The briefing told that so far, 136 deaths had been reported with 70 injured. As many as 1,100 persons received minor injuries and were given first-aid. Around 200,000 acres of agricultural land were inundated while 20,500 people were shifted to safe places. Also, the connectivity of Motorway M-8 and the Quetta-Karachi national highway was restored.
Later at the Quetta Airport before his departure for home, the prime minister vowed collective efforts to ease the sufferings of the flood victims of Balochistan.
He directed the authorities concerned to expand the network of medical camps across the flood-hit areas and ensure the availability of vaccines and medicine for the livestock.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived in the provincial capital of Balochistan on a day-long visit to oversee relief operations in the flood-affected areas. Federal Ministers Sardar Israr Tareen, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Maulana Abdul Wasay, Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti, Minister of State Muhammad Hashim Notezai, Member of National Assembly Salahuddin Ayubi, and Chairman NDMA accompanied the prime minister.
Meanwhile, Addressing a cheques distribution ceremony, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif reiterated that the federal government in collaboration with the provincial government had been making all-out efforts to provide succour to the flood-hit population of Balochistan. The prime minister said that he reached to the people of the province at a time when they were facing a natural calamity that caused indescribable damage in different parts.
He said Balochistan was an important and huge province and its different areas like Chaman, Qilla Saifullah, Lasbela, Jhal Magsi, Noshki and Quetta had been inundated by flash floods, adding about 142 lives were lost, while hundred others were injured and a large number of houses were partially or completely destroyed.
Besides, bridges and road infrastructures were dismantled due to monsoon deluge. The prime minister said that he had visited different parts of the province where all departments of the federal and provincial governments and Pakistan army had been working closely for rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.
The law enforcement agencies were also working day and night to help the affected population, he said. “In this time of natural calamity, the provincial and federal governments and all their departments are serving you with the provision of medicines, food and tents. Medical camps have been set up, besides ensuring the provision of clean drinking water and treatment for the domestic animals” he added.
The federal ministers and Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and other relevant authorities were present on the occasion.
The prime minister said that he could not say that everything was right despite all these efforts as there were loopholes which were being removed and cited an incident of negligence in Qilla Saifullah where food and water were not provided in tents. He said the chief minister took immediate action and suspended the responsible staff. It should be a warning to others that no leniency would be tolerated in this regard, he added.
The prime minister said that lethargic officials would be taken to task and expressed the hope that relevant officials would take the responsibility with full devotion. He said that he had directed the NDMA chairman to distribute all the cheques among the affected families without any delay while maintaining transparency.
The financial amount was no substitute for the human losses, the prime minister observed and said, but the life had to move on and it was the responsibility of the government to cater to the needs of affected people. The prime minister assured that the compensation support would be provided within the next few days and estimates were being made over the damages caused to crops and residences for the sake of transparency so that the deserving could get the due amount.
He further informed that the NDMA and PDMA in collaboration with the provincial government would make such estimates and said that he would request the chief of army staff to lend support in these efforts through relevant authorities. The chief minister and other notables also highlighted the issues being faced by the local population and the efforts for the rescue and relief.