LAHORE: Pakistan Railways (PR) on Sunday said its field operations teams have sent tonnes of relief goods in collaboration with several philanthropic organisations to the flood-hit areas of Balochistan and other provinces.
According to PR CEO Farrukh Taimur Ghilzai, teams in Rawalpindi division have dispatched 1,000 dry ration packs, medicine worth Rs2 million and other items, while PR’s medical teams have also reached Qila Abdullah and Qila Saifullah and started providing medical aid to people.
“From PR’s Lahore division, we have sent five tonnes of dry ration including flour, lintels and cooking oil and biscuits, etc, to Balochistan,” he said, adding that Multan division medical teams were already serving people in Dera Ghazi Khan’s Shadan Lund area and Rajanpur’s Rojhan area.
Additionally, PR’s Sukkur division has sent food packets for 500 families, 500 crates of mineral water, 10 packs of fresh juices, 10 crates of milk packs and medicine worth Rs300,000, according to Mr Taimur.
Pakistan requests UN, international community for humanitarian assistance
Karachi division has also sent two tonnes of dry ration and miscellaneous eatable items, besides mineral water bottles and juices to flood-hit areas.
Global community’s help sought
In a separate development, the federal government has officially requested the UN and international community for humanitarian assistance in view of the devastation caused by recent floods and heavy rainfall across Pakistan.
According to the European Commission’s Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (Echo), the Foreign Office has officially asked the international community for assistance.
According to initial estimates seven million people across Pakistan have been affected by floods with almost half of them from Balochistan, Echo said in a statement released on Sunday.
Out of 35 Balochistan districts that were hit by flash floods and torrential rains, 24 have been declared calamity-hit, while nine were severely affected. These districts were: Lasbela, Jhal Magsi, Qila Saifullah, Pishin, Noshki, Kachhi, Khuzdar, Kalat and Chaman.
According to Echo’s estimates, the total population in the affected districts was 3.1 million, of which 50 per cent was estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance.
Balochistan Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) was already undertaking a rapid multi-sectoral assessment with technical support from the UN and other humanitarian partners, said Echo.
The authority has also set up five camps with an accommodation capacity of 300 to 500 families per camp while several government institutions and humanitarian partners were also responding to the needs of flood victims. However, persisting severe weather conditions were stretching the capacity of already limited resources available to the stakeholders.
Over the past few months, above average monsoon rains have significantly affected Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, resulting in urban flooding flash floods.
Quoting Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Echo said that overall rainfall increased by 180pc from the expected level of 63mm, with Balochistan receiving the highest rainfall (163mm or 450 pc deviation) during July. “The crisis comes amidst a serious economic crisis in the country as well as an upward trend of a new wave of Covid-19,” it added.
Amin Ahmed in Islamabad also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2022