Ahsan Iqbal directs NDMA, provinces to expedite relief assessment survey

ISLAMABAD, Aug 12 (APP): Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal has directed National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and all the provinces including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) to expedite the relief assessment survey for flood-affected area in the country particularly in Balochistan.

The Minister issued these directions while chairing a Flood Relief Committee’ meeting to review progress over flood relief activities, said a press release issued here on Friday.
The Committee was formed by the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif after recent floods in the country and Professor Ahsan Iqbal is the head of the committee.

The meeting was attended by the Prime Minister’s Adviser for Kashmir Affairs and GB Qamar Zaman Kaira, Secretary Planning Commission, Secretary Communication, Chairman, NDMA, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Secretary Housing and Works and Provincial heads of Disaster Management Authorities.

It is noted that the federal government had already declared an emergency situation in the flood-affected areas. The provincial governments had also been directed to declare them as calamity-hit areas.

Last week, Professor Ahsan Iqbal wrote letters to the Chief Ministers of Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Prime Minister AJK and GB asked them to devise a plan for the joint flood relief efforts.

During the meeting, the representatives from all the provinces including AJK and GB have informed the meeting that soon after the flood, immediate measures have been taken and for medium and long-term planning further progress is underway in collaboration with NDMA.

The Minister directed the concerned stakeholders to expedite the relief activities while ensuring the completion of joint relief assessment surveys in flood-hit areas so the rehabilitation process could be started.

During the meeting, it was also decided to engage Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) for the disbursement of cash to the needy people of the flood. In this regard, BISP will collaborate with the provinces so immediate cash could be disbursed.
The most deserving people should be given a top priority, said the Minister, while directing the authorities to complete the damage assessment survey, which is the second phase of the flood relief activities.

Chairman NDMA apprised that the authority is already engaged with the provinces and other stakeholders adding that all the data pertaining to the flood-affected areas will be shared with the provincial governments for the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the flood-affected people.