Friday September 29, 2023

Pakistan suffered $32bn flood losses, NA informed

Ahsan Iqbal informed the National Assembly that Pakistan had suffered $32 billion losses in the recent floods, according to initial estimates

October 18, 2022
Ahsan Iqbal. File photo
Ahsan Iqbal. File photo 

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Monday informed the National Assembly that Pakistan had suffered $32 billion losses in the recent floods, according to initial estimates.

He said that Pakistan, with the coordination of international development partners, was finalising the Post Disaster Need Assessment. “The assessment is being prepared jointly by Pakistan, the World Bank, UNDP, Asian Development and other development partners and it will be completed by October 24 and then an international donors conference would be organised next month,” he added.

Talking about results of by-elections, the minister maintained that the focus and priority of the government was relief activities for flood affected people. “We put aside politics and are devotedly taking part in relief and rescue activities,” he said.

Ahsan Iqbal feared that Imran Khan might have spent donations collected for flood affected people on the election campaign as he did with donations secured for his hospital. “The government will share the infrastructure development strategy with the world and partners before the international donors conference,” he maintained.

He recalled that the PMLN government had devised the National Flood Protection Programme in 2017, for which Rs40 billion was earmarked, whereas the provinces were to contribute half of the budget. He regretted that in the last four year not a single penny had been spent on the programme and it was put in cold storage. “Had the previous government advanced the flood protection programme, damages to properties, livestock and human lives could have been reduced significantly,” he added.

He said the government would review the National Flood Protection Programme to avert climate change disasters and lessen damages in future. He said the UN Secretary General had also clarified that assistance to Pakistan would not be charity or donation and it would be climate justice with the country. “The whole world appreciated Pakistan’s response to devastating floods which it did within its resources. Our international partners, well-off communities, overseas Pakistanis and NGOs also contributed to the government’s efforts which helped it effectively carry out rescue and relief activities,” he said, adding that the armed forces also contributed significantly to the rescue and relief work.

He pointed out that the Ministries of Railways, Communications and Power division and subordinates departments had worked tremendously for the restoration of rail and road networks and electricity, which was also appreciated by the international community. “On directives of the Prime Minister, Rs70 billion under the BISP were being disbursed among affected people out of which around 80pc funds have already been distributed,” he explained.

However, he told the House that Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments refused to accept the offer of the federal government of distribution of wheat seed among affected growers. “The government had earmarked Rs9 billion for the provision of wheat seed asking provinces to share half of the amount. Balochistan and Sindh provinces accepted our offer but Punjab and KP governments rejected it but we have no regret,” he said.

Meanwhile, the parliamentarians also expressed concern over reports of the presence of bodies on the rooftop of Nishtar Hospital and demanded the government probe the matter thoroughly. Speaking on the point of order, Kishwar Zahra of the MQM, Jamaluddin (JUI-F)) and Abdul Qadar Patel (PPP) unanimously demanded the DNA test of the bodies. Kishwar Zahra feared that some of the bodies could be of missing workers of her party.