SUKKUR, Sept 16: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf announced on Sunday a special package of Rs2 billion for rain-affected areas of Sindh and directed the finance ministry to immediately release the first instalment of Rs710 million to enable the local administration to launch rescue and relief work in the worst-affected districts.
(He also announced approval of similar grants for the flood-affected areas of Southern Punjab and Balochistan, according to APP.)
He made the announcement during a meeting at Shahbaz airbase in Jacobabad on devastation caused by heavy rains and remedial measures.
From the first instalment, he said, Rs200 million each would be given to Jacobabad and Kandhkot-Kashmore districts, Rs100 million to Shikarpur and Rs70 million each to Sukkur, Khairpur and Ghotki.
He directed district administration officials and elected representatives to rescue people marooned by accumulated rainwater, shift them to safe places and provide them food, medical aid and basic amenities.
He directed the authorities concerned to give tax exemption to farmers in the districts.The prime minister directed the home ministry to place two additional helicopters at the disposal of the local administration to drop ration packets for the stranded people, adds APP.
He directed the National Disaster Management Authority to rush 25,000 tents to the affected districts.
Earlier on his arrival, the prime minister was received at Sukkur airport by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad. He took an aerial view of the rain-ravaged areas from a helicopter, met some affected people and distributed relief goods.
The prime minister also visited Jacobabad where he chaired a meeting attended by Federal Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Minister for National Disaster Management Rana Farooq, Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, MNAs Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani and Aftab Shaban Mirani and Gul Mohammad Jakhrani, Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo, Minister for Disaster Management Mustafa Ali Sutra and senior civil and military officials.
The prime minister announced that in the second phase Rs2 billion would be given to the Sindh government for rehabilitation of the affected people.
He said: “We will have to depend on our own resources to meet the challenges posed by floods. There is no dearth of funds for providing succor to the affected.”
He said this was the third consecutive year that floods had hit Sindh causing massive devastation and loss of precious lives, besides damaging property and standing crops.
Briefing the meeting, Divisional Commissioner Seed Ahmed Magnejo said that floods this year were more severe than last year.
He said that the magnitude and gravity of the devastation could be determined from the fact that so far 73 people had lost their lives, 3,000 had been injured and 75 per cent of standing crops and 150,000 houses damaged.
“This is more than the losses suffered during the floods last year,” he added.
Nearly three million of the nine million in the six districts had been affected,” he said.