Floods: With 8.7m people affected, PM promises to do all he can

Nawaz Sharif visits Mirpurkhas, says his visit is not for political reasons.


Express September 21, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


As the number of people affected by the floods in Sindh and Balochistan reached 8.7 million, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said the government is committed to mobilising all available resources for relief work.

In a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the prime minister focused on the floods that have devastated 23 districts in Sindh and five in Balochistan. “There can be no room for negligence in addressing the problems faced by the flood-affected population,” he said.

Gilani said he would monitor the relief work daily.  Cabinet members have also decided to donate a month’s salary to the PM’s Relief Fund. However, the prime minister’s relief fund for last year still has Rs5 billion, which has not been utilised due to bureaucratic red tape.

Addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said the magnitude of the disaster is vast and the government is trying its best to cope with the challenge. “We should not depend on the world and move towards self reliance,” said Awan. “We need to engage civil society, sportsmen and the entire country for fundraising,” she added.

Sluggish funding is a major obstacle in relief efforts. Earlier this week, the United Nations launched an international appeal for a total of $357 million to cater to the emergency needs for the next three months.

Unfortunately however, no significant pledges have been made by the international community.

According to figures released by the Foreign Office, China has pledged $4.7 million for flood relief of which only $50,000 has been disbursed. Japan has pledged $450,000 in relief assistance and Iran has promised to send two planes with relief goods. Japan and Iran have yet to disburse funds or goods.

Nawaz Sharif visits Mirpurkhas

PML-N president Nawaz Sharif called for focused efforts to help those affected by the floods in Sindh.

He was talking to journalists during his visit to a relief camp in Satellite Town and Ring Road on Wednesday.

Sharif said he was not there for political reasons, but to serve the affected people for whom he would come “again and again”.

The Punjab law minister, who was accompanying Sharif, said: “We are with our Sindhi brothers.”

(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP)

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd,  2011.



COMMENTS (3)

Tanveer Iqbal | 9 years ago | Reply

Unfortunately, the drive to generate a public response to help lessen the miseries of the flood affectees with financial aid and relief goods is not up to the required mark this year. The electronic media is not creating awareness about the hardships of the flood victims in the enthusiastic way it did last year. Is it not double standard of the Media? The sluggish response might be that flood has hit Sindh and area of Balochistan not Punjab. There might a massive and affective campaign God forbid if all that happened to Punjab. One can also observe that almost all the T.V channels are focusing on Dengue and less coverage has been given to flood victims. Death by Dengue is sad indeed but at the same time we should forget the flood victims as they are badly suffering from this natural disaster. Our hapless brethren in Sindh are stranded in floodwater and they need our help. Citizens from the developed areas and big cities must come out of their comfort zones and initiate campaigns in their circles to gather relief goods including food, clean water, clothes, tents and medicines. They must not forget the fact that we are all interconnected. The villagers who have become victims of the floods grow vegetables, grains and all the raw material necessary to help sustain our lifestyles. Rains and floodwater have destroyed hundreds of acres of standing crops and orchards. If we delay our efforts in ensuring their relief and rehabilitation process, we will have to pay the price for our lack of interest. The price of food and other products will further increase. Even higher inflation will bring down the whole nation’s quality of life. We must help our unfortunate fellow citizens in their hour of need. We must awaken our relatives and friends and start collecting relief goods for the flood affectees. Media should also play and effective role like previous year.

Adeel759 | 9 years ago | Reply Yes to Dua, no to Dawa.
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