NDMA chairman briefs media about earthquake damage, rescue efforts

Published September 24, 2019
National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday. — APP
National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday. — APP

National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal held a press conference on Tuesday evening to brief the media regarding the damages suffered and rescue operations underway in the wake of a 5.8-magnitude earthquake which hit the northern parts of the country.

"Right now, I can confirm the death of 10 people. Some reports have placed the figure at 17 and some at 15, but I can only confirm 10," said Lt Gen Afzal.

"Approximately 100 are injured. Some reports say 300 are injured. Some of the injured only suffered minor injuries, so if I were to count those with serious injuries, the figure is around 100," he added.

"In Mirpur, besides the city, a small qasba Jatla, and two small villages Manda and Afzalpur were among the areas hit the worst," he said, adding, "Even in these areas, the most damage was to the infrastructure there."

Besides this, some far-flung villages in Bhimber have reported injuries to people as well as small structural damages.

Speaking of infrastructural damage, Lt Gen Afzal said that the main road going from Mangla to Jatla, which runs alongside a river, has suffered major damage.

He said that three major bridges had also been damaged, along with people's residences.

"In Mirpur, besides the city, a small qasba Jatla, and two small villages Manda and Afzalpur were among the areas hit the worst," he said, adding, "Even in these areas, the most damage was to the infrastructure there."

He said that besides this, some far-flung villages in Bhimber have reported injuries to people as well as small structural damages.

"There will be a proper damage assessment over the next 2-4 days," he added.

He confirmed that the Mangla Dam was not adversely affected by the earthquake.

He said that turbine operations were shut down and are currently still suspended because a lot of silt had accumulated in the water. The dam is being drained to flush the silt after which normal operations will resume.

"The water is being released in a highly regulated manner because if more than 50,000 cusecs are released in Jhelum and PD Khan, flooding can occur. So a volume of less than 50,000 cusecs is being released," he assured the media.

Rescue efforts

According to Lt Gen Afzal, NDMA officers as well as Pakistan's armed forces including ground troops which have engineer corps and their equipment, have been dispatched to the affected areas and have either reached or are about to reach.

"At this moment, the district administration teams, State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) teams and our teams are already present in the disaster-struck areas," he said.

"I will go to those areas myself tomorrow and will take a detailed tour of the area and will brief you further then."

He said that NDMA vehicles are being loaded with 200 tents, 800 blankets, 200 kitchen sets and 100 medical kits which will reach there tonight.

"I was a bit worried about rains anticipated in the northern parts of the country over the next two days. My main concern was that if rains do occur, no one should be without a roof over their head."

"For that, we will make sure these tents and blankets not only reach tonight but are distributed further tomorrow so that in the event of rains, no one is without shelter."

He said that PDMA Punjab had also contributed to the relief efforts by volunteering 20 ambulances, medical teams, and six rescue vehicles along with a team of 100 rescue officials.

"Pakistan Army's search and rescue team is already on its way. Forces from the Jhelum and Mangla cantonments have begun to arrive," he added.

Lt Gen Afzal said that rescue and search teams from Islamabad are making preparations and will be dispatched tonight. He further said that one rescue and search team has also been dispatched from Lahore by PDMA Punjab and will reach tonight.

"In the first two days, our efforts will be geared towards carrying out rescue operations," he said.

The NDMA chairman said that over the next few days after that, besides relief efforts, a plan will be chalked out for rehabilitation, recovery and restoration of normalcy in the affected areas.

Opinion

Law & processions
16 Oct 2021

Law & processions

It is up to the police to impose reasonable conditions on a procession.
Is the party over?
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Is the party over?

Many in PTI are concerned how they can hang on till the next elections.
The last fortress
Updated 16 Oct 2021

The last fortress

The state wants to use the social media rules to trample on the right to freedom of speech.
Reopening under Covid
15 Oct 2021

Reopening under Covid

It will be a challenge to deal with all students returning to classrooms and maintaining SOPs.

Editorial

Diminishing freedom
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Diminishing freedom

DESPITE the serious reservations of digital rights activists and tech companies, the federal government has...
16 Oct 2021

Dirty politics

IN her outburst against Prime Minister Imran Khan this week, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz may not have taken names but...
16 Oct 2021

Decreasing emissions

THE announcement by SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam that carbon emissions in the country came down by 9pc...
No need for NAB
Updated 15 Oct 2021

No need for NAB

THE National Accountability Bureau has sent instructions to its regional bureaus to stop processing cases that fall...
Forced conversions
Updated 15 Oct 2021

Forced conversions

THE majoritarian view has once again prevailed in the matter of bringing about legislation against forced conversion...
15 Oct 2021

Transgender rights

MEMBERS of the transgender community in the country are often at the receiving end of both their families’ and...