Relief efforts continue as rainfalls devastate across country
Pakistan army and Frontier Corps (FC) troops supported the civilian administration on Thursday in its rescue efforts in Sindh, Balochistan, and Punjab as monsoon rains continued to wreak havoc in the whole country.
The ruthless rainy weather has hit the country as well as destroyed infrastructure in rural areas and cities. Earlier this month, Minister of Climate Change Sherry Rehman said that the 30-year average for rainfall in Sindh and Balochistan was exceeded.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Thursday that climate change is an ‘undeniable reality’ of our time and has serious implications for developing countries like Pakistan.
“Our ongoing floods and torrential rains need to be viewed from that angle,” he said, vowing that the government would align its development goals with climate change requirements.
The prime minister also formed a committee to evaluate the damage caused by monsoon rains and floods in various parts of the country.
Presiding over a meeting in Islamabad, prime minister Shehbaz directed federal ministers to travel to the affected areas within four days and submit recommendations for short-, medium- and long-range plans by 4 August, according to a report by Radio Pakistan.
The prime minister also announced to increase in the financial compensation for the wounded from Rs 50,000 to 200,000. Furthermore, he said that compensation for partially damaged homes should be increased from Rs25,000 to Rs250,000 and from Rs50,000 to Rs500,000 for completely damaged homes, the report added.
The prime minister said that the federal government would cooperate fully with provincial governments to deal with the impacts of the natural disaster.
In addition, PTI chief Imran Khan said he had asked the Punjab government, which is led by the PTI and PML-Q, to provide assistance to people affected by flooding in the southern part of the province and Mianwali district.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), 111 people in Balochistan have been killed in the rains since June 1.
In addition, over 6,000 homes were damaged, of which 3,000 were completely destroyed, the authority said in a statement released today.
Speaking at a press conference today, Baluchistan’s Chief Secretary, Abdul Aziz Uqaili, said this year’s monsoon rains have exceeded the average for the past 30 years, leaving the province in a “disastrous” situation.
He said that thousands of people were injured, while approximately 50,000 were affected. “About 200,000 acres of land have been affected as well.”
Uaqili added that rescue efforts were being carried out in all affected areas.
In a statement released earlier today, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that two army aviation helicopters had been transported to the Othal and Lasbela areas from Karachi.
ISPR stated that the helicopters had made similar attempts in the past 48 hours, but could not fly due to “bad weather”.
“Helicopters will now move stranded people to safer places and also transport the necessary emergency supplies,” the statement said.
“General officer commanding at Gwadar toured Othal area to inspect rescue and relief efforts. Today, the Senior Local Commander of Khuzdar will visit the areas affected by the Khuzdar floods and its surroundings,’ he added.
ISPR added that in addition to the de-watering efforts in Karachi, army troops were occupied in the relief efforts in the Jamshoro and Gharo areas.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that the rain-affected areas of the province were disaster areas.
At the meeting chaired by the premier, the CM said the province had received unprecedented rainfall this year. He said the three monsoon spells killed 93 people and damaged 2,807 homes and 388 kilometers of roads.
He said at the meeting that Sindh had received “369 percent more rain than usual registered” during the monsoon season, according to a handout published by the Office of the Chief Minister.
ISPR also reported that the troops were assisting the civilian administration in relief efforts in Dera Ghazi Khan due to “flash floods/ mountain torrents”.
Two medical camps were established by the military to provide medical care to the people affected by the floods.
Six villagers lost their lives when violent currents from a hill torrent dug a protective dyke at Dera Ghazi Khan late on Tuesday night.
According to villagers living near the protection dyke, they were caught off guard as the administration did not issue a warning about the torrents coming from Soori Lund hill. Flood waters also impacted the wheat stocks.