ISLAMABAD: The government will announce a relief package for earthquake affectees after comprehensive assessment reports are compiled by the concerned authorities, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said during a high-level meeting on Tuesday.

During the meeting, the premier was briefed by National Disaster Management Chairman Major General Asghar and Director General Military Operations Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza on rescue and relief efforts made after a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Pak-Afghan region on Monday.

The NDMA Chairman said relief efforts were initiated as soon as the quake hit, with the Pakistan Army taking an active part in the operation. He said the NDMA has deputed six search-and-rescue teams so far.

Major General Asghar said that telecommunications networks and the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) establishments remained unaffected by the disaster.

The Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) is also providing pre and post imagery of earthquake-affected areas to the concerned authorities to facilitate rescue operations.

The premier was told that the National Highway Authority had cleared all vital roads and is effectively working to lift post-quake rubble from the remaining roads.

During the meeting, Nawaz said state resources will be fully utilised for the assistance of provincial governments in rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.

He added that the federal government would provide all possible assistance and support to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Nawaz lauded the speedy response and relief efforts made by the Pakistan Army, National Highways Authority, NDMA and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities in the aftermath of the disaster.

After the meeting, the Prime Minister left Islamabad to visit to quake-affected areas in KP along with the NDMA Chairman, Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed and Governor KP Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had convened the emergency meeting upon his return to Pakistan.

The meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, Secretary Climate Change Arif Ahmed Khan and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, among others.

At least 228 people have been confirmed dead in the aftermath of the earthquake which hit northern Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday afternoon. The NDMA says at least 1,620 are injured across Pakistan.

The toll is expected to rise as search teams reach remote areas that have been cut off due to landslides and destruction caused by the earthquake.

Soon after the quake, the COAS directed army personnel to reach out where required to help affected people without waiting for orders.

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