Flood devastation: colossal nation must join hands to support 3 million affectees

Flood devastation: colossal nation must join hands to support 3 million affectees

ISLAMABAD, Sep 20 (APP):Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and national coordinator National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC) on Tuesday have urged the nation to join hands with the government to support three million flood affectees as the devastation was colossal and unmanageable.

In a joint presser flanked by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Prof Ahsan Iqbal, Chairman NDMA Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz Satti and national coordinator NFRCC Major General Muhammad Zafar Iqbal briefed the nation on the ongoing flood response, relief and rehabilitation efforts in the impacted areas across the country.

Chairman NDMA Lt Gen Satti said the recent monsoon rainfall in the country in general and in Sindh and Balochistan in particular caused huge devastation that no country or government alone could handle.

The government through the UN appealed for global support where the UN Secretary General came to Pakistan and visited the flood hit areas and strongly appealed to the international community to support Pakistan’s flood victims.

The government through its embassies abroad and foreign embassies within the country and with the help of media briefed the international community on the gravity of the situation and its needs to address the crisis, he added.

Gen Satti told the media that the efforts resulted into flow of relief items and assistance and so far 114 relief flights had been received from 120 countries and 66 of them were received by NDMA and 13 more were scheduled in the next 10 days.

He informed that relief items arrived in 48 of the relief flights were directly dispatched by UNICEF, Red Crescent, USAID, and UNHCR.The NDMA Chair mentioned that out of the total flights 13 were received from Turkiye, 30 from UAE, five from China, four Oman, three Qatar and one flight each from other countries.

“All flights do not bring relief goods rather some of them bring delegations, and some logistics equipment for pre-deployment.” The relief items received so far were 16,938 tents, 3,000 tarpaulins, 37,000 blankets, 11,000 food packs, 182 tonnes dry food, 30 tonnes medicines, and 58 boats, he said, adding, “ Moreover, other than this two trains from Turkiye reached at Dalbandin and six more are on way carrying tents, blankets and ration bags.”

He further mentioned that from Tajikistan a relief convoy of 86 trucks reached Pakistan from Torkham Border carrying relief goods including tents, food, blankets, few cement, CGI sheets and household use charcoal. Moreover, medical teams comprising doctors and medicines from Turkiye, Palestine, and Qatar had reached the country providing medical relief in flood hit areas, he added.

Denmark had provided a water purification plant that was working in Sindh whereas France provided 75 small level dewatering pumps whereas a relief ship from Oman carrying relief goods reached Karachi on Monday, the NDMA chair told the media.

He informed that the federal government had shared proper guidelines to NDMA for disbursement of relief goods that comprised of total population of affected districts, number of affectess, their needs, data of already provided assistance, expenditure of logistics, and most importantly transparency in distribution that was sending the relief to the deserving.

“In this regard, Sindh province is the most affected and therefore 55-60% relief equipment has been provided to Sindh and further more to be sent in the same ratio. The next is Balochistan and 15-20% relief items are sent there and the remaining is being sent to KP, Punjab, GB.”

After custom clearance, he said the relief goods were handed over to Pakistan Army who distributed this equipment at district and tehsil levels in coordination with the district administration whereas a detailed record was maintained of these goods.

“It’s an important responsibility and NDMA is striving day and night to ensure clear distribution of relief goods in cooperation with concerned authorities.” Other than aid from friendly countries, he underlined that the NDMA is also providing tents, mosquito nets, ration packs, dewatering pumps, and pure drinking water after procurement to affected areas through Pakistan Army and PDMA representatives.

He noted that the federal and provincial government, departments and nation were collectively fighting this crisis with all out resources deployed but the affected population needed more assistance as the scale of the disaster was very high. “The most important requirements were of tents, food especially for children below 5 years, medicines, health services, vaccines, field hospitals, and importantly in the upcoming winter season blankets, quilts and warm clothes were seriously needed.

I thank all the countries that helped in this need of hour on behalf of federal government, NDMA, and nation that helped alleviate the problems of flood affectees.” He added that the affected needed more assistance as highlighted by the Minister and therefore he appealed all Pakistanis, philanthropists, overseas to donate for flood victims as their small donation could help save a precious life .

National Flood Response and Coordination Center (NFRCC) National Coordinator Major General Zafar Iqbal said the Centre was established on the directives of the Prime Minister on September 1, 2022 to formulate a joint government strategy to cope with the devastation of the floods. “The Center is doing one window operation for the rescue, relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims.

The federal and provincial departments, Pakistan Army, UN agencies and NGOs are working collectively. We are making efforts to reach out masses through better coordination.” He said that the government and partners had not reached all affected but the Centre and partners were engaged on daily basis to achieve the goal in coordination with deputy commissioners, assistance commissioners and provincial government representatives.

The national coordinator said the NFRCC achieved few tasks and the remaining required more time and effort, adding, “The main thing in this regard is the rehabilitation of the affected rail routes, roads, and construction of bridges.” In Balochistan, he underlined that all connectivity routes were restored where a month earlier all national highway communication routes were choked.

“ML-1 which is the main railway line of Pakistan has been submerged under floodwater with 8-10 inches water at two locations but despite that the trains are running on these routes whereas passenger traffic will be restored very soon.”

The food supplies across the country were being ensured in general and in flood hit areas in particular, he said, adding, “Pakistan has surplus wheat stocks as last year on this day there were 6.1 million tonnes of wheat and today there are 7.1 million tonnes stocks available and one million more is coming.” He ruled out any shortage of wheat and said there was no chance of it.

The wheat stock losses in PASCO and Sindh and Balcohistan governments’ silos were also checked in flood hit areas that were reported very nominal and no major damages reported like 3% losses at few places and less than 3% in many places were noted. “We are sure that there will be no problem in ensuring wheat and flour supplies to the masses.

The government will take action against hoarders and those involved in cartelization of wheat causing price hike as we have surplus of agricultural commodities in the country.” He highlighted that the Centre was seriously working to ensure sowing of wheat in Sindh in October as dewatering was underway at various sites and it was expected that the larger area of Sindh would be available for wheat sowing.

“We will procure seed for this area and will urge the international community to provide seed for wheat sowing; however, there is a little shortage of seed at the moment that will be fulfilled after sowing.”

Moreover, he said the Centre would try to provide sunflower seeds in the areas having accumulated flood water for sowing to the masses so that this crop could be cultivated and benefit Pakistan. “Health is focused in the flood hit areas to control malaria and other diseases.

As the Minister requested if we get 2 million packs for infant and mother then it will provide great help in these areas. The details for that pack and requirements will be shared on twitter soon.” He further mentioned that the relief packs could be delivered at the Army Collection Centers and the logistics would be ensured by the Army.

“If someone wants to take more packs to the affected areas themselves then the Army will also provide help in this regard.” In farflung areas, he said the Centre was trying to ensure food and water supplies and for clean drinking, it was providing purification plants and had also placed orders for more.