Government workers and politicians on Sunday rushed to the villages near Head Marala to begin rescue and relief operations and to commiserate with people who lost loved ones and their homes in Saturday’s violent storm.
Rescue sources told The Express Tribune that the death toll from the wind and dust storm that lashed five suburban villages near Head Marala, on the banks of the Chenab, had reached at least five, as one person died of their injuries on Sunday.
The Punjab government handed out compensation checks of Rs500,000 each to the families of those killed in the windstorm. Some 50 people were injured in the storm and they were given compensation checks of Rs50,000 each.
Federal Information Minister Dr Firdaus Ashiq Awan, who was elected to the National Assembly from this area, visited the injured in Allama Iqbal Hospital and announced the federal government would give the families of the dead Rs500,000 each and the injured Rs100,000 each.
Government teams set up 200 tents for families that have lost their homes and a 40-bed medical camp and mobile dispensary to treat the injured. The Punjab government also set up five teams to estimate the overall losses caused to property, crops, the electricity supply system and other infrastructure in the villages and these teams began their work on Sunday.
Punjab Minister of Zakat Malik Nadeem Kamran, Minister for Jails Malik Muhammad Iqbal, Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority Director Khalid Sherdil and the Sialkot district coordination officer visited the affected area and monitored the relief work. They also attended the funerals of the people killed in the catastrophe and sympathised with the bereaved families.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2011.
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