LAHORE: As Pakistan receives two relief goods-laden trains for flood affectees from Turkey, it is set to have much more Turkish humanitarian aid through eight more trains in the coming days.
The relief goods received through the first train at Zahedan (Iran) were loaded on two Pakistani trains after transshipment and finally reached Dalbandin via Taftan a couple of days before. They werelater dispatched to various flood-hit areas of Balochistan after segregation.
Goods received from Turkey through the second train on Sunday are likely to be dispatched for the most critical flood-hit areas of Sindh, south Punjab and KP.
A Pakistan Railways official said the first Turkish train the authorities received on Sept 16 was carrying 3,100 tents, 6,870 blankets, 2,864 food packages, clothes, flour, etc. These goods were dispatched by the authorities concerned through trucks from Dalbandin city in Chagai district to the areas of Uthal, Khuzdar, Uch, Dera Murad Jamali and Pishin.
“The first train moved from Ankara (Turkey) on Aug 30, followed by another the next day. A third train started its journey on Sept 6, followed by another the next day,” the official said. “The trains moved on Sept 6 and 7 are about to reach Zahedan where our trains/wagons are ready to bring these goods to Pakistan after transshipment.”
Talking about other trains, he said the fifth train carrying 811 tonnes of relief goods loaded in 39 wagons would depart from Turkey on Sept 20 (tomorrow), followed by sixth and seventh trains on Sept 22 (carrying 1,073 tonnes in 47 wagons), eighth on Sept 27 (450 tonnes in 27 wagons), ninth on Sept 29 (500 tonnes in 29 wagons) and the 10th train on Oct 4 (166 tonnes in seven wagons).
He said the relief goods reaching Pakistan in the remaining Turkish trains would also be distributed among flood victims of all provinces as per a plan prepared by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in association with the department concerned. “A ceremony is also scheduled to be held on Monday (today) in Quetta where the Turkish authorities would formally hand over goods to Pakistani authorities,” he said.
Pakistan’s broad gauge railway line exists till Zahedan and after that the standard gauge rail begins that is commonly used for rail transportation in Iran, Turkey and Europe. That is why the transshipment of the goods dispatched from Pakistan or Iran or Turkey always happens at the Zahedan railway station.
Since the transshipment process takes a day or two for each train, the relief goods reaching Dalbandin via Taftan cannot be transported through the rail network further (Dalbandin to Quetta) as the track here at various places has been washed away by floods.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2022