ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday announced setting up of the National Oversight Disaster Management Council (NODMC) to ensure transparency in distribution of aid to flood victims.
The Council will oversee the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase of the relief operation. It will comprise people of “impeccable character,” who will be nominated by the federal government and the provinces, the premier said.
Briefing the media, Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC), which was attended, among others, by the four chief ministers and the three services chiefs.
Kaira said the NODMC will formulate its own terms of reference and elect its own chairman. He added that all provinces have been asked to provide names of people of good reputation for nominations within two days. The proposed Council will be formed once names have been received from the provinces and the federal government.
The minister said that the NDMC meeting has also decided to start registration of the flood-stricken people. Those who want to go back to their homes immediately will be given Rs20,000 per family. He added that Rs40 billion will be spent for this purpose, half of which will be contributed by the provincial governments and the other half will by the federal government. Kaira said the registration of flood victims will be jointly done by the provincial social welfare departments, National Data Base Registration Authority (NADRA) and the UN agencies. He said that the registration process will also account for the damage done to homes, crops, farmlands, livestock and other losses suffered by the victims.
He added that in every village a four-member committee comprising local teachers, retired army officials, revenue and irrigation personnel will be set up to assess the damages caused by floods. These village assessment committees will be monitored by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
The information minister said that though the NODMC will conduct surveys to ascertain the losses incurred by the floods, the distribution of money among the provinces will only be based on the extent of damage suffered by that province. He said all provinces have been asked to cut their development budgets and freeze their non-salary expenditures at last year’s level to spare funds for the relief effort. The three-month relief and rescue operation has been extended to six months, he added.
Kaira also said that the ministries of health and agriculture in co-ordination with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will conduct campaigns and spray flood-ravaged areas to prevent disease from spreading. He added that all provinces have been asked to utilise services of fourth and final year students of medical colleges so that all flood victims could be provided basic health care.
The information minister assured that there is no dearth of wheat, sugar and pulses in the country. He added that provinces have been asked to take steps to prevent hoarding of these commodities. Kaira added that the four provinces have agreed to the General Sales Tax reforms, which will be imposed on October 1.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ