SEHWAN/ DERA ISMAIL KHAN    -    Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while describing the devastation caused by deadly floods in the country said Wednes­day that parts of Pakistan seems ‘like a sea’.

The prime minister stat­ed this af­ter visiting some of the flood-hit ar­eas in Sindh province. The death toll from unprece­dented floods swelled to 1,343 as 18 more deaths were reported by authori­ties on Wednesday.

“You wouldn’t believe the scale of destruction there,” the PM told re­porters after a visit to the southern province of Sindh. “It is water every­where as far as you could see. It is just like a sea.”

Receding waters threat­en a new chal­lenge in the form of wa­ter-born infec­tious diseases, Shehbaz Shar­if said. “We will need tril­lions of rupees to cope with this calamity.”

Also, Prime Minister She­hbaz Shar­if on Wednes­day said unprecedented floods in the country had caused heavy losses to lives and infrastructure and em­phasised putting in place a sus­tainable system to cope with the challenges of climate change.

The prime minister said tril­lions were required to carry out relief and rehabilitation activities in the flood-hit ar­eas, however vowed the entire process would be carried out in a transparent manner.

Addressing the locals and flood-affected people after re­viewing the restoration work at Sago Bridge, the prime minister said the country was grappling with an unprecedented flood situation that resulted in loss of lives, infrastructure and crops.

The prime minister said with the assistance provided by a philanthropist, the first 100 prefabricated houses having two rooms and a toilet would be built in Dera Ismail Khan to accommodate widows and or­phans in first phase. He said the houses would be built in two weeks and he would personal­ly visit the site to assess if the project could be replicated by the government in other parts of the country.

He recalled that during his previous visit to Tank and D I Khan after floods, the people were in the phase of rehabili­tation till the floods hit them twice. He lauded the politicians, local administration and armed forces for acting in unison while contributing their efforts for the rescue and rehabilitation of the affected people across the coun­try. The prime minister said it was the time to rise above pol­itics and demonstrate the spir­it of service and welfare for the people. He said the coalition gov­ernment raised the relief money under Benazir Income Support Programme from Rs28 billion to Rs70 billion for flood-affected people. He said every affected household would be provided Rs25,000 in a transparent way to help them mitigate their suf­ferings. Besides, one million ru­pees would be given as compen­sation money to the relatives of the deceased.

The prime minister outlined the damages to crops and live­stock by floods which earlier used to be the means of liveli­hood for the locals. He said the government had ordered the purchase of 0.2 million tents with an aim to provide shelter to the homeless.

PM Sharif lauded the efforts of Communication Minister Mau­lana Asad ur Rehman and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Ba­jwa for putting their efforts in pacing up the relief and rehabil­itation activities in flood-hit ar­eas. He also acknowledged the donations sent by the friendly countries to help Pakistan over­come the challenges in the wake of floods. In Swat, he regretted that violation of building hotels and resorts in the riverstream resulted in damages.

Earlier, the prime minister was briefed about the damag­es incurred to people and infra­structure due to heavy floods. The Deputy Commissioner D I Khan in his briefing said the heavy rains from August 17 to 27 wreaked havoc in Dera Is­mail Khan district with 70 per­cent of the population affect­ed by the floods. He said the hill torrents from west to east swept away a large area before falling into the Indus River and mentioned the challenges in­cluding permanent rehabilita­tion of people after their tem­porary shelter. The National Highway Authority (NHA) offi­cial apprised the prime minis­ter that the 600-kilometre long N-55 D I Khan-Razmak highway was restored in two days while the N-35 Korakoram Highway up to Kuchal Nullah towards Ko­histan was restored by Frontier Works Organisation.

The prime minister also visit­ed the Sago Bridge, which had been swept away due to flash floods. He was informed that the Sago Bridge in the first tor­rential wave was restored with­in two days, however the work was in progress after the second hit by floods.

‘SAGU BRIDGE’

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif here Tuesday in­spected pace of work on Sagu Bridge and appreciated the rel­evant authorities for the pace work on the project. The Prime Minister visited its different sections and reviewed pace of work there. Maulana Fazalur Rehman, Central Ameer of Ja­mait Ulema Islam, Federal Min­ister for Information and Broad­casting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Federal Minister for Communi­cation Maulana Asad Mahmood and Prime Minister Adviser Engr Amir Muqam also accom­panied the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister was told that work on the project was in full swing and the bridge would be opened for traffic soon. The Prime Minister highly appre­ciated Pakistan Army’s role in completion of communication and roads infrastructure proj­ects in the flood hit areas. The Prime Minister also waved to floods victims accommodated in tents there. The bridge was washed away by the recent flash floods in D I Khan.