MULTAN: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has instructed the army to take over the relief and rescue operations in districts around Multan so that survivors’ needs could be met on an urgent basis.
According to an official press release, this was necessary keeping in mind the climatic conditions and the factor of accessibility. The prime minister has also called for the establishment of relief goods centre at Multan airport where goods were being brought in by C-13O cargo planes.
According to the handout, relief goods could not be properly distributed because of bad roads and security reasons.
The army will now ensure transportation of relief goods in calamity-hit areas of southern Punjab by helicopters and boats. If needed that the army would shift survivors to nearby relief camps or arrange airlift and drop the relief goods to affected population in areas around Multan, said the press release.
Earlier, PML-Q Senator Muhammad Ali Durrani on Sunday urged the government to streamline flood relief operations and called for involving army soldiers, saying only the army possessed capability, training and the will to conduct such large-scale operations.
Addressing volunteers of the Mutahidda Mohaz Bahawalpur, a body which he heads for the restoration of Bahawalpur province, Senator Durrani, who just returned from a visit of the flood-hit areas, said: “Trust deficit in political elites has led to the situation where most of the civil assistance has reached to the victims. This is why the people and the business community are putting all their funds in the accounts launched by the media organisations. However, if the assistance operation is made transparent and clean, the people would trust the government as well.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2010.