Rescue-relief work in full swing against flood in Balochistan
GWADAR, Aug. 4 (Gwadar Pro)-The government of Balochistan has fast-tracked rescue and relief operations using all the resources available as the biggest province in Pakistan has been grappling with flash floods since the rainy season commenced this year, which continues to spell disasters for local people and infrastructure.
Around 10,000 small embankments and a number of dams have been damaged. Many bridges and roads linking Quetta to Ziarat, Chaman, and Sibi have also been broken due to torrential rains accompanied by the massive flood. The death toll has risen to 149 and it is feared that more losses of lives may occur.
Rain submerged dozens of villages, incurring damages to 13,985 houses in the province since June 14, out of which 10,429 were partially damaged and 3,556 were completely destroyed. Uncounted houses collapsed due to heavy rains in Zhob district, rendering many families homeless. Due to the collapse of bridges and the perishing of roads, the Awaran and Kohlo districts were cut from the rest of the province. As per government estimation, 0.2 million acres of agricultural land came under water.
In response to the natural havoc, the government is in full-scale action to accelerate rescue and relief operations in the affected area of Balochistan. Pakistan Army and Navy troops have also been helping the civil administration in the affected areas. Soldiers have been transporting the people trapped in the inundated villages to safe places through helicopters, while food and medical aid are being provided to the affected population.
During the relief mission, an army helicopter carrying six officers crashed. As a result, all officers onboard including Gen. Ali, commander of Quetta Corps, Brigadier Amjad Hanif, Brigadier Muhammad Khalid, Major Saeed Ahmed, Major Talha Manan and Naik Mudassar Fayyaz died.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif paid a visit to flood-hit areas and announced a relief package. He said that families of those who have lost their members to the flood would receive Rs1 million each; Rs50,000 were announced for people whose homes were destroyed, while owners of houses that suffered partial damage will be given Rs200,000.
The relief package includes, 1,000 tents, 1,000 mattresses, 1,000 hygiene kits, 1,000 blankets, 1,000 quilts, 1,000 tarpaulin sheets, 1,000 mosquito nets, and 20 number of de-watering pumps.
The government also announced fundraising to provide maximum help to locals. Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, provincial ministers and government spokespersons have announced to give half of their salaries to the fundraising programme initiated for the flood-affected families in Balochistan.
Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said that the federal government and Pakistan Railways are working with the Balochistan government to provide immediate relief to the flood-affected people. In a press conference, the minister said relief centers have been set up at Pakistan Railways from where people can send relief items to the affected people free of cost. The Minister for Railways announced that officers from 17 to 22 grades will donate one day's salary to the flood-affected people.
China has also come forward for humanitarian help. About 800-1,000 food packs were distributed among the families living in the camps in flood-affected areas in Balochistan. China also provided around 300 solar panels as the rain destroyed electricity lines in many areas, leaving people without electricity for days.
Saudi Arabia has also provided emergency aid for the flood-affected people in Balochistan. The aid was provided by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre Pakistan. A consignment consisting of 3,000 food packs including essential food items was dispatched through a convoy of 30 trucks.