Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf promised relief to flood victims in Dera Ghazi Khan on Saturday, while acknowledging that the government was responsible for them.
“Flood victims belong to our nation and not a political party. They are the responsibility of the federation and will remain our responsibility and are still independent to belong and join any political party of Pakistan,” he said.
Earlier, the premier visited the flood-hit areas of DG Khan, including Rojhan, Jampur and Rajanpur, also monitored the devastation by helicopter. DCO Ghazi Amaanullah of Rajanpur district briefed the prime minister on the scale of devastation across the district.
Some 180,000 people have been displaced in Rajanpur alone. Up to 9,000 houses have been razed, 220 villages have been inundated and 700,000 acres of farm land devastated. In addition, 300 animals have been swept away and a 50-kilometre stretch of road submerged.
Addressing flood victims in Rojhan, the prime minister said that the relief process has been divided in two stages. He promisd immediate financial aid as well as food, shelter medicines and other relief, along with long-term relief such as houses and financial packages.
He announced aid of Rs400,000 for the families of the 15 people that died in the recent floods. He also announced Rs100 million in aid for the rehabilitation for the Lal Garh area and separately for the Rojhan area in Rajanpur district.
The premier ordered the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to find a permanent solution to hill torrents in the tribal areas of Punjab and all over DG Khan.
The flood victims of the Basti Saiflaani are staying in an established flood camp before the premier’s visit, began to move out as soon as he departed with their tents and relief goods in tow. Speaking to The Express Tribune, one flood victim said, “We do not trust the district administration and the government. All of it can be a drama and these flood relief goods distributed among us can be snatched back.”
During his address, the prime minister also added that President Asif Ali Zardari had proven himself to be the head of the Pakistan. “The federation and government are stronger today due to his leadership and services for the people of Pakistan and the future of Pakistan will prove this dictum,” he added.
The premier said that President Zardari will also visit the victims them and will not ignore in their time of difficulty. He said that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will soon distribute 50,000 camps among the flood victims in DG Khan and all medicines will be provided completely free of cost.
NHA projects meeting
Before his visit to the flood affected areas, the premier chaired a meeting to review the progress of mega projects of the National Highway Authority (NHA).
He urged the NHA to keep the communication projects in Balochistan a priority so that the province, which is already inundated with law and order issues, could be integrated with the rest of the country through accelerated economic activity.
The prime minister said that the government gives highest priority to the development of road infrastructure, essential for the economic prosperity of Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2012.