ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday directed the concerned departments of the federal and provincial governments to expedite relief and rehabilitation activities for the rain-affected people of Sindh and Balochistan, especially the dewatering of the inundated areas by utilizing all available resources in view of fast approaching winter season.
The President also asked for urgently providing wheat and sunflower seeds and fertilizers to the farmers in flood affected areas in all provinces.
This he said during an interactive session with the concerned government officials and the local representatives of the rain-affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan through video-conferencing facility at a specially set up monitoring cell here at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Those who were present at the Aiwan-e-Sadr during this video-conferencing included Federal Minister for Science & Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister for National Regulations & Services, Mir M. Sadiq Umrani, Provincial Minister Balochistan, Secretary Water & Power Nargis Sethi, Chairman NDMA Dr. Zafar Iqbal Qadir, Chairman NADRA M. Tariq Malik, Managing Director Utility Store Corporation Maj Gen (r) Malik Muhammad Farooq and other concerned senior officials of concerned departments. Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh Provincial Ministers Haji Muzaffar Ali Shujra and Sh. Muhammad Afzal were present in CM House Karachi.
Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar, while briefing the media, said that Chairman NDMA Dr. Zafar Iqbal Qadir briefed the participants about overall situation focusing on the damages caused by the heavy downpour in various parts of the country especially in various districts of Sindh and Balochistan and the status of relief and rehabilitation measures taken thus far.
Chairman NDMA said that the heavy downpour affected more than twelve thousand villages in Sindh affecting around 245000 acres of crops besides heavy losses in cattle heads. In Balochistan he said the rains affected more than 750 villages affecting 402,535 acres of crops and destroying over seven thousand cattle heads.
Providing detailed account of relief measures taken so far for the affected people, Chairman NDMA informed that 14000 tents in Sindh and 20000 tents were distributed in Balochistan to the affected families besides other parts of the country.
The Chairman said that the situation arising in Sindh due to the heavy rains was further aggravated by the run-off from Balochistan. He said that irrigation system of Desert Pat Feeder along Sindh Balochistan border was over-topped and breached at several places. Similarly Begari Sindh Feeder was also affected. To cope with the situation, Khirthar Branch was strengthened to serve as defence line and to divert water towards Hairdin Drain, he informed the meeting.
Chairman said that at present 69 de-watering pumps were operative to de-water rain water through various canals whereas eleven pumps were in standby in Sukkur. He said that further arrangements would be made in view of the emergent situation. The meeting was informed that in Ghotki district, 30 pumps of District Government are also installed by the irrigation department.
The meeting was informed that out of 800,000 acres inundated area, more than 600,000 acres has been dewatered.
The meeting was informed that 161,245 ration packs have been distributed in Sindh, 17500 in Punjab and 42250 in Balochistan.
The President also interacted with the Government officials and representatives of the affected areas in Sindh through video-conferencing inquiring from them the latest situation and the issues being encountered.
The Districts toured today included Jacobabad, Larkana, Shikarpur, Shahdadkot and Kashmore.
The President directed all the concerned to expedite relief efforts and to submit regular progress reports to the Presidency. The President directed that similar video conferencing facility be set up in the affected areas in Balochistan and linked with the Presidency for hands on briefing.