HYDERABAD: “We will spare no expense in taking care of the affected people,” declared Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah as he concluded his two-day road visit to the rain-hit districts of Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas on Monday.
Shah announced another grant of Rs20 million for disaster-hit Tando Muhammad Khan to add to a previous grant of Rs30 million last month. He also asked the Provincial Disaster Management Authority to provide 10,000 more tents to the district administration.
“Providing shelter, food and health facilities to the rain victims, followed by rehabilitation of agriculture are the government’s priorities,” Shah said at a media briefing in Tando Muhammad Khan after chairing a meeting of party workers there.
Earlier in the day he visited the worst affected areas of Digri, Jhudo and Naukot in Mirpurkhas and Tando Bhago and Shaheed Fazil Rahu in Badin. The chief minister said that the officers on duty will be held responsible for any negligence. “The people who have lost their shops should fill out a form and they will be paid by the housing building or the Sindh Bank,” assured the CM after a briefing by the provincial irrigation minister, Saifullah Dharejo, in Hyderabad.
The CM also paid a surprise visit to the rain-hit areas of Naukot and inspected the dangerously swollen salt-water nullah of Naukot. He asked the authorities to keep a close eye on situation to make sure the drain does not develop a break and flood.
Though he assured the people of the provincial and federal governments’ full support he said that they would not be able to do it alone and urged philanthropists and other people to help. Their houses have collapsed or have been greatly damaged, crops have been destroyed, and diseases have set in. Many people have no shelter. He said that the provincial government had made adequate arrangements to combat the situation but more help is needed to mitigate the suffering.
He said the federal and provincial governments are dispatching emergency assistance to the affected areas including food and tents. He said the government would not the rain-stricken people alone at this trying time and extend all out help to them.
“They day the people get their Watan cards, they will be paid Rs10,000 from the bank.” The federal government will pay them another Rs10,000 within a week, he said placing the number of affected people at 0.25 million people, and 50,000 families.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2011.