LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that immediate assistance for the rehabilitation of flood victims, reconstruction of community infrastructure and controlling outbreak of wild diseases in the flood-affected areas after receding of the floodwater is the top priority of the government.
He was talking to a UN delegation led by Assistant Secretary General of UN Ajay Chhibber in Islamabad on Monday, says a handout.
The delegation included UN Resident Coordinator Onder Yucer, Toshihiro Tanaka, Jean-Luck Stalon and Rabia Khattak. MNA Malik Pervaiz and MPA Hafiz Mian Nauman were also present on the occasion.
He said that international community should cooperate with Pakistan to cope with the damage caused by the worst ever flood in the history of the country and assist Pakistan keeping in view the volume of losses.
Shahbaz said that recent floods have caused unprecedented damage from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan provinces and more than 80 lakh persons have been displaced only in Punjab while crops over lakhs of acres and properties and installations worth billions of rupees have also been destroyed. He said that the social and economic priorities of the government have been changed due to flood. He said that the government is providing seed and fertilisers to the farmers for helping them cultivate Rabi crop. He said that there is also a need for immediate help and assistance for normalising life in the flood-hit areas after the receding of the floodwater.
The chief minister said that rehabilitation of the flood affectees is such a gigantic task as the country cannot meet this challenge alone. He said that Kot Addu, Jampur, Mithan Kot, Daira Deen Panah and some others tehsils in the flood-hit districts have completely destroyed. He said that the UN, WHO and other international organisations should play an active role for the rehabilitation of the flood affectees as well as checking outbreak of diseases in the calamity-hit areas. He lauded the assistance and the efforts made by UN for the rehabilitation of flood victims.
The leader of the delegation, Ajay Chhibber, while giving briefing to the chief minister, informed that the UN is evolving a interim plan between the receding of water and initiating the programme of rehabilitation of the flood victims on permanent basis. He said that restoration work was also started under the supervision of UN in Indonesia and Sri Lanka in the wake of Tsunami with the cooperation of provincial governments. He said that the UN will extend all out cooperation for the restoration of agriculture and community infrastructure in the flood affected areas. The delegation also presented the brief of the programme evolved by UN for this purpose. He said that in response to the appeal of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, financial assistance of $460 million was promised by different countries to Pakistan, out of which, 70 per cent funds have been received. He said that at a meeting to be held under the chairmanship of UN secretary general on September 19, mid-term and long-term programme for the rehabilitation of flood-affectees will be considered and an appeal will be made to the international community for providing more assistance.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raesani called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Monday. Both the chief ministers exchanged views regarding a comprehensive survey for relief and rehabilitation of flood victims and distribution of resources.
The newly-appointed Ambassador of China to Pakistan Liu Jian called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Monday and donated a cheque for Rs6.2 million to the chief minister for the relief and assistance of the flood-affected people.
Thanking the Chinese ambassador, the chief minister said that China is a great friend of Pakistan and has stood by it in every hour of need. He said that Pakistan has faced the worst ever flood of its history which has affected more than 20 million people. He said that crops over lakhs of acres have destroyed and hundreds of bridges, thousand kilometre long roads and valuable properties and installations have damaged completely or partially. He said that provincial administration, police, rescue and other national building departments have worked round-the-clock to cope with the situation caused by the flood. He said that there is a need for international agencies, construction companies of different countries and private sector for cooperation in the rehabilitation work of the affected people and government has offered them cooperation for this purpose.
The Chief Minister thanked the Chinese ambassador for the help and assistance provided by China for the flood victims and said that China is among those countries which have taken an active part in relief and rehabilitation work in Pakistan. He asked Chinese ambassador that his country should set up field hospitals in the flood affected areas of Punjab. The chief minister also sympathised with the Chinese ambassador over the losses of human lives and properties due to floods in China.
The Chinese envoy said that China has sent medical teams for providing medical facilities to the flood affectees of Sukkur and Thatha and set up field hospitals. He said that China has also sent helicopters, relief items and medical teams for immediate succor to the calamity-stricken people and his country will offer further help and cooperation for immediate as well as permanent rehabilitation of flood victims.