President Asif Ali Zardari has urged NGOs and philanthropists to cooperate with the government and supplement its efforts to overcome the losses caused by the floods.
“The world has never seen such a catastrophe and to overcome this challenge, all segments of society must cooperate,” Zardari said during a meeting with representatives of NGOs held at the president house on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by representatives of over 70 NGOs from across the country.
He appreciated the NGOs for volunteering to help in rescue, relief and rehabilitation of flood survivors but cautioned that the process would take a long time as the devastation had affected as many as two million people in Pakistan. “[But] the people are our strength and we will fight this long battle with courage and resilience until the complete rehabilitation of those affected by the floods,” he said.
The president said that the government, with support of all segments of society, will not only ensure assistance to the flood-affected people but will also devise a comprehensive strategy to prevent such devastation in the future. “Political leaders, district authorities and NGOs need to work in coordination in the flood-hit areas so that aid and assistance reaches the needy people. If political parties fail, if the NGOs fail and, God forbid, if the people fail, then the space will be filled by extremists and militants. We cannot afford it. Failure is not an option and we must rise to the occasion,” he reiterated.
President Zardari had come under fire for going ahead with his visit to Europe, while floods wreaked havoc in the country. He has defended his position by saying that he had collected donations during his trip and eventually cut short another trip to Russia.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2010
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