ISLAMABAD – Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday announced to launch ‘Adopt a District’ programme with the cooperation of provincial governments to lend a helping hand to the districts worst affected by the catastrophic flooding.
Briefing media persons in Islamabad along with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt Gen Akhtar Nawaz and others, Ahsan said the government was doing all it could to make those affected by floods stand on their feet again. He said under this programme, the administrative, human and health sector resources of major districts, especially in Punjab which have not been damaged by the floods will be left at the disposal of those affected by the calamity. He said it is time to express complete compassion and solidarity with the people of flood-affected districts and this will be a great service to this country. He said the government was trying to restore routine life in flood-affected areas.
The minister disclosed that around 100,000 of the livestock had perished in the flood-hit provinces of Sindh, Balochistan and southern Punjab so far. “Due to the deaths of cattle in such large numbers and the destruction of crops, the country is facing food insecurity,” he said, and added, “About one-third of the country is under water and 30 million people have been affected by the natural disaster.” Ahsan Iqbal said the government is working to establish mobile clinics and maternity hospitals in the affected areas keeping in view the health needs of the women there.
Ahsan said that two million mother and child nutrition packs will also be raised with the support of university students. He said the vice chancellor of each university will task every student to prepare this nutrition pack individually or with the support of the community to help those women and children whose lives are at stake in the flood-hit areas. He said the government is working to establish mobile clinics and maternity hospitals in the affected areas keeping in view the health needs of women there. The Minister also appealed to the religious scholars to encourage the people in their Friday sermons to extend a helping hand to the flood victims.
In his remarks, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority Lt Gen Akhtar Nawaz said Pakistan has so far received one hundred and fourteen relief flights from 20 countries. He mentioned that Turkiye is also sending relief trains to Pakistan. He said the relief goods sent by different countries include tents, tarpaulin, blankets, food packs, medicines and boats.
The NDMA chairman said that despite the fact that many items had been delivered to the flood-affected people, still there was an acute shortage of tents in these areas. “We badly need warm clothes, blankets and quilts for the people sitting out in the open in view of the approaching winter season,” he said. He said that Sindh is the most affected province, hence, 55-60 percent relief goods have been sent to the province followed by 15-20 percent to Balochistan. Relief goods have also been provided to Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan, he added. He said that a complete record of relief goods is being maintained to ensure transparency.
Coordinator National Flood Response and Coordination Center Major General Muhammad Zafar Iqbal said connectivity with Balochistan has been restored while trains are also plying on ML-1. He said provision of food to the flood affected areas is being ensured. He said the country has sufficient stocks of wheat and the government will take action against those involved in hoarding. He further said that draining the water out of agricultural land in Sindh is continuing, expressing the confidence that most of the land there will be available for the cultivation of wheat crop. He said sunflower will be grown in the land where water will be standing.