ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has decided to spearhead the relief operation in the wake of massive floods, met international partners on Thursday who pledged to provide $500 million to Pakistan to mitigate the havoc wreaked by monstrous monsoon rains across the country.

The premier, who returned from Qatar following a two-day visit, called off his visit to London to meet his grandaughter undergoing treatment at a hospital in the UK capital. According to the Prime Minster Office (PMO), “The international organisations and financial institutions announced an immediate assistance of more than $500 million for the flood victims on the appeal of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.”

The representatives of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, international financial institutions, development partners, and donors alongside officials of China, the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and the World Health Organisation attended the meeting.

The prime minister briefed the international partners about the devastation caused by floods in the country, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan. He said the country faced an emergency situation because of the record floods and added that hundreds of people lost their lives.

Cabinet donates one-month salary to flood victims; PM calls off London trip, will visit Sukkur today to review rescue operations

The prime minister was quoted as saying that the devastation caused by floods was more serious than what happened in the 2010 floods. He said the government had released Rs5 billion for relief and the family of every deceased was being given the financial assistance of Rs1 million.

The prime minister said each flood victim family was immediately given Rs25,000 and an amount of Rs80 billion was allocated for this purpose.

The PM urged international organisations, financial institutions, and other countries to cooperate with the Pakistan government on an emergency basis and said the government had set up a Prime Minister Relief Fund 2022 to speed up the relief efforts.

The prime minister also lauded the army, government institutions, public service departments, doctors, nurses and volunteers for working with passion in a difficult situation. “...we want [the] help of the international partners. We need essential items and medical staff to overcome the difficult situation.”

He invited international partners to visit the flood-affected areas and said the government would make arrangements for the visit of the international partners.

$500m in immediate aid

Najy Benhassine, World Bank’s country director for Pakistan, informed the PM about the immediate assistance of $350 million from the World Bank.

The World Bank would provide the financial assistance by the end of the current week and it would also cooperate with Pakistan through a comprehensive plan for restoration of the infrastructure after an assessment of the losses.

The World Food Programme — an agency of the United Nations — also announced $110 million for the flood-affected people. The Asian Development Bank pledged to give $20 million in assistance while the UKAid would give 1.5 million pounds ($1.7m). The UKAid also announced another 38 million pounds ($44.9m) for the mid-term and long-term projects for the restoration of the flood victims.

Cabinet donates salary

Meanwhile, members of the federal cabinet decided to donate their one-month salary to flood relief and rehabilitation operations.

The prime minister will pay a visit to Sukkar on Friday) (today) meet flood victims there and will have an aerial view of flood-hit areas of southern Punjab and Sindh, Minister for Information and Broad­casting Marriyum Aurangzeb said.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2022

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