Balochistan forests fire: PM Shehbaz Sharif directs NDMA to equip itself with latest dousing techniques

APP & our correspondent
May 22, 2022

Shehbaz directed the authorities concerned to take immediate steps for compensation to the affected families

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PM Shehbaz chairing an emergency meeting regarding forest fires in Balochistan in Lahore on May 21, 2022. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: Expressing grief over the loss of lives and rich forest resources in the aftermath of fire eruption at pine forests Balochistan, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday directed the National Disaster Management Authority to equip with modern firefighting techniques and gadgets to suppress fire incidents efficiently in future.

Chairing a meeting attended by federal ministers Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Maulana Abdul Wasay, Marriyum Aurangzeb, NDMA chairman, Corps Commander Quetta, chief secretaries of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the prime minister sought a future mechanism to overcome such incidents and tasked the National Disaster Management Authority chairman to submit a plan in the next two weeks after consultation with other relevant authorities.

He cited the examples of the USA and Australia for their adoption of the latest fire suppression tactics, including spraying of wildfire retardants through helicopters. He also directed the authorities concerned to take immediate steps for compensation to the affected families. Besides, he also assured the federal government’s full support to the provincial government in providing financial assistance to the affected families. He also directed to deploy monitoring teams in the affected area and keep close coordination with other related authorities. However, he expressed satisfaction that all the stakeholders, including the army, were making commendable efforts.

In addition, the PM also directed the relevant authorities to take precautionary steps to protect the forests in Gilgit Baltistan. During the meeting, Balochistan CM Abdul Quddus Bizenjo informed about the assistance given to the heirs of the dead and injured.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated the Pakistan Army and Frontier Constabulary Balochistan are providing maximum assistance in relief as well as firefighting efforts. Headquarters 12 Corps is coordinating closely with the PDMA. The fire continues to spread amid hot weather and dry winds at the altitude of 10,000 feet, away from population centers as the nearest village is located at the distance of 8-10 kilometers from the location of the fire, stated the ISPR. It further stated that 10 families had been shifted to medical relief camp established in Manikhawa by FC Balochistan. A FC Wing and two army helicopters along with local administration and Levies have been employed in firefighting and relief efforts. "One helicopter is being used to drop water and fire extinguishing chemicals on the fire. As many as 400 fire extinguishing balls, 200 fire suits, blankets, tents, mats and fire extinguishing equipment have been provided by NDMA through FC Balochistan,” stated the ISPR, adding the army has also transported relief equipment from Lahore to Zhob.

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